© 2024 KVPR | Valley Public Radio - White Ash Broadcasting, Inc. :: 89.3 Fresno / 89.1 Bakersfield
89.3 Fresno | 89.1 Bakersfield
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Merced council chooses Scott McBride as new city manager

Scott McBride shares information about local building activity and opportunities for investment at a forum hosted by the City of Merced.
City of Merced
Scott McBride shares information about local building activity and opportunities for investment at a forum hosted by the City of Merced.

MERCED (CVJC) – The Merced City Council on Monday appointed the city’s building and housing leader, Scott McBride, as the next city manager, setting its sights on the city’s future growth toward the UC Merced campus.

McBride, who will start his new role in November, will manage the day-to-day operations of City Hall, including 530 employees who serve Merced’s nearly 90,000 residents.

He succeeds Stephanie Dietz, who announced in February that she would leave the role after three years.

“Scott has spent the past several years learning the city from the inside out,” Mayor Matthew Serratto said in a news release. “He has the passion and knowledge to continue our important work in one of California’s fastest-growing cities.

“Like his predecessor, Ms. Dietz, Scott will serve as a critical link between the city and our residents, and I know he will continue to strengthen our partnerships, services, and programs,” Serratto said.

McBride came to work for Merced in 2017 as the director of development services, overseeing the city’s planning, building and housing departments. City officials said McBride helped secure more than $72 million in funding for affordable housing projects and advanced policies that encourage affordable and infill development.

The City Council unanimously approved McBride’s three-year contract, which sets his pay at a total of $240,000 annually, an increase of about $100,000 from his initial salary with the city. Under the contract, McBride will be an at-will employee, meaning the City Council can choose to terminate him at any time, with or without cause.

There was no discussion from the council before Monday’s vote.

“I am honored the City Council selected me to serve as the City Manager, and I will strive to give my best to the community where I grew up,” McBride said in a city news release.

“I believe in the profound impact well-developed programs and services can have on a community,” he said. “Our team will continue to build on the very productive work underway as we strive to create a transparent, responsive government that serves our city’s residents, businesses, and stakeholders.”

Before starting his Merced job, McBride worked for the City of Atwater in a similar role. He also worked a stint as interim city manager there, but ultimately he decided not to pursue the role permanently. According to his LinkedIn profile, McBride has worked for local government for nearly three decades.

An Atwater High graduate, he has a master’s of public administration with distinction from California State University, Stanislaus. His bachelor’s in environmental studies comes from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

“I'm very excited about transformative changes that will result from the City of Merced's annexation of the University of California Merced campus, significant investment in affordable housing, continued focus on Downtown Merced, building equity and opportunity, and planning for the future including new opportunities from the location of rail and stations within the community,” McBride wrote on LinkedIn.

Merced has seen a building boom during McBride’s time as development director. Since 2020, the city reported adding about 700 new single-family homes each year, as well as 400 multi-family housing units. Also during his tenure, the city partnered with nine builders who they estimated would build 1,000 affordable housing units by 2024.

City leaders have set their sights for Merced’s future growth northward in an effort to connect UC Merced to the city. Currently, sprawling acres of agricultural land separate the campus from the city’s commercial and residential areas.

Dietz became city manager in 2020 after previously working as assistant city manager. The first woman to serve as Merced’s city manager, Dietz has not publicly announced where she plans to work next.

“Scott has a heart for this community,” Dietz said in the news release. “His experience, combined with his forward-thinking approach to affordable housing, infill, commercial, and retail development initiatives, will continue to foster a climate that will be beneficial as Merced grows.”

The city hired the firm Bob Murray & Associates to conduct a national search for the position.

This story was published in partnership with the Central Valley Journalism Collaborative, a nonprofit and nonpartisan community newsroom. To get regular coverage from the CVJC, sign up for CVJC’s free Substack list here and follow CVJC on Facebook.

Brianna Vaccari is an accountability and watchdog reporter for the Central Valley Journalism Collaborative, a nonprofit newsroom launched in 2021 by the James B. McClatchy Foundation.