Temecula’s city manager is throwing in the towel.
Shawn Nelson, 51, announced his plan to retire from the City of Temecula at the end of this year.
His last day will be Dec. 31, he announced Wednesday.
Nelson started his career in the city’s government in October of 1990 as a member of the parks and recreation staff.
At the time, the city had one park. Today, it has 39, according to the city.
He was not work at the city continuously, though. He took a job as a deputy city manager for the City of Corona in May, 1998, but by that December, he returned to Temecula as an acting City Manager.
He became the permanent city manager in July, 1999.
Today, he is the highest-paid employee of the city, making $336,288 annually, according to the state controller’s Local Government Compensation report.
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Nelson’s job included leading the organization that runs every aspect of city government.
Much of the success of the city was Nelson’s doing, said Mayor Ron Roberts in an emailed statement.
“Shawn Nelson is the finest city manager I have ever worked with,” he said. “His fiscal conservative nature and aggressive approach to dealing with community issues has positioned the city to be successful for the next decade and beyond.”
Some of Nelson’s proudest moments include renegotiating the city’s Redevelopment Agency’s “Pass-Through” agreement with the county, which will save taxpayers $63 million by 2020.
He also played a key role in adopting the Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fee, which generated more than $500 million to date for transportation improvements.
Major projects approved under Nelson’s guidance – such as the Promenade Mall and Professional Hospital Supply’s expansion – brought thousand of jobs and millions in revenue to the city.
“The thing I am most proud of is that I gave the City of Temecula 100 percent of my best efforts every day for more than 20 years,” he said in an emailed statement. “I am truly honored and grateful to have the opportunity to finish my career in the place that I love, Temecula.”
After retiring, he plans to spend more time with his wife, Stephanie, his family and his grandchildren.
He also plans to dedicate more time to work on Jacob’s House, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families who lost loved ones in medical crises at a local hospital.
This project is named after his only son, Jacob, who died in October, 2006, at the age of 24 in an alcohol-related solo vehicle crash.
The “Jacob A. Nelson Championship Field” at Patricia H. Birdsall Sports Park is named after him.
Nelson says his son is with him wherever he goes.
The city will be fine without him, he said in an email. “I truly believe that with our strong, experienced city council and our outstanding city leadership team, Temecula’s best days are ahead of us.”