COSTA MESA — The city's No. 2 administrator was named city manager on Friday.
Tom Hatch, 44, will take over for City Manager Allan Roeder, who announced that he will retire in March after 25 years as city manager and 35 years at City Hall.
Hatch has been working as assistant city manager for four and a half years. He previously worked for the cities of El Monte and West Covina.
"It's a lifelong dream, and it's a job that I prepared for 23 years for," Hatch said Friday. "I've been a student of local government, and I've been just a person who believes in public service and cares deeply about his community. I'm honored, I'm excited, and I'm ready."
His pay and benefits for the new position have not been finalized.
Hatch will become only the seventh city manager since Costa Mesa's 1953 incorporation.
Roeder said he will help as much — or as little — as needed.
"As I told the City Council when I gave them my notice, my wife and I will remain members of this community," Roeder said. "We're not going anywhere, and I most certainly will be available to assist Tom with anything I can. That will also include assisting in keeping my nose out of things. That will strictly be as Tom desires."
Hatch will start taking on bigger roles with the city as the transactional process begins, Roeder said.
"If you look at Tom's experience, not simply in Costa Mesa and throughout his career, if you look at that, he would be a top candidate whether it was in Costa Mesa or any other city our size that was looking to appoint a city manager," Roeder said. "He's really that of a high quality and qualified individual."
There's hardly a shortage of challenges Hatch will face once taking over the job in March. On the top of the list is the city's ailing budget and how to locate new revenue sources. Hatch said it's something he's been thinking about and working on for awhile and has developed ideas on how to go about balancing the budget.
"I have the ideas ready to roll," he said. "I need to present those and move forward with those in a way that is a collaborative approach with the City Council, the organization and the community."
Hatch will also be faced with the challenges of reducing the number of homeless who congregate in city parks, a project he's been working on in his assistant managerial capacity.
"Tom Hatch has demonstrated great enthusiasm for improving Costa Mesa and brings substantial experience to the position," Councilman Eric Bever said in a news release.
Hatch, who received his graduate and undergraduate degrees from Cal State Fullerton, moved to Costa Mesa shortly after starting his job here. His wife, Vanessa, serves as the PTA president at Costa Mesa High School, where his daughters, Allie, 17, and Courtney, 15, go to school.
"I believe that Tom will continue the great leadership we have had at the top of the organization," said outgoing Councilwoman Katrina Foley. "His dedication to our community is obvious, and I look forward to partnering with him in my new role as a board member of the Newport-Mesa Unified School District."