Longest serving CA City Manager Howard Chambers retires

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After 41 years as the top staff member in Lakewood city government, city manager Howard L. Chambers is retiring on July 31. Chambers, 72, was appointed Lakewood’s chief executive in June 1976. He is the longest serving city manager with any single city in California.

“I grew up in Lakewood, I’ve had a great career here, and I continue to love this community,” Chambers said. “But at this point in my life I’m ready to relax and uncouple a bit from the stresses and strains of work life. I had a two-week vacation recently that really drove home that point for me.”

“I’ve been blessed,” he added, “with how well Lakewood’s city councils have governed our community with stability for many years. They act in the best interests of the community and stay focused on what’s most important locally. I’m confident that my successor will be equally blessed. I’ll do everything in my power to assist in the recruitment and mentoring of a new city manager. My goal is a seamless transition. We start from a foundation of being a well-run city in good financial shape, and I don’t anticipate a problem.”

“Howard’s impact on Lakewood over four decades has been enormous,” Mayor Diane DuBois said. “He’s one of Lakewood’s original ‘kids’ who grew up here at the time of our city’s founding in the 1950’s. It’s been comforting to lots of people, including me,” said DuBois, “to have his experienced hand here all these years as a bridge from our city’s past to our present, helping our city continue to be a great place to call home.

“But after 41 years at the top, and a total of almost 50 years of full-time work, he definitely deserves some relaxing retirement years,” said DuBois.

“Fortunately, one of Howard’s best attributes has been putting together a strong team of city staff, including top managers and supervisors. So even though Howard will be leaving us, he’s leaving behind a team he trained and inspired with a strong ethic of fiscal responsibility and customer service. Those and other positive traits will remain and benefit Lakewood residents for many years to come.”

The city council has been interviewing candidates and is close to selecting a successor to Chambers.

Background on Howard L. Chambers

Chambers was born in Lakewood, went to Lakewood schools, and worked in his youth at the local YMCA and in the City of Lakewood’s recreation program.

He held the position of Executive Assistant to the Lakewood City Manager between 1972 and 1976. Between 1969 and 1972, he was the Assistant City Manager of Rosemead.

Among many awards during his career, Chambers was honored earlier this year by the League of California Cities with their Award of Distinction for outstanding career service, leadership, ethics, expertise and innovation as a city manager.

Chambers’ commitment to Lakewood includes more than 40 years of volunteer service through the Rotary Club of Lakewood, the Weingart-Lakewood Family YMCA, St. Timothy School, the American Heart Association, Su Casa – Ending Domestic Violence, and the Lakewood Youth Hall of Fame.

For more commentary on Howard Chambers’ contributions to Lakewood, see the Lakewood Today column by Mayor Diane DuBois on page 2 in the Lakewood Community Newspaper.