Marc Mondell succeeds Rob Hunt as new Tulare city manager
TULARE – As Rob Hunt ended his tenure as Tulare city manager, the city ended their hunt for a replacement after finding Marc Mondell.
Mondell steps in as Tulare bids farewell to a familiar face in Rob Hunt, who spent every minute of his 29-year career in public service with the city of Tulare.
Mondell comes to Tulare from Rocklin, Calif., where he previously served in roles as the director of economic and community development and assistant city manager. He holds master’s degrees in both architecture and urban and regional planning from the University of Florida and brings 25 years of development experience in both the public and private sector to a city ripe for growth.
“There’s a lot of desire and interest in the community, I think its growing in its reputation for quality. It’s always been known, and frankly, internationally known, for its agricultural foundations and its dairy industry, but I think now you see people are looking at Tulare for its quality schools and the quality of life in the community,” Mondell said. “You see a lot of new homes being built and there’s a lot of interest in trying to find ways of balancing agriculture, that is sort of the heritage of the community and still a very big part of the local economy, with bringing in other opportunities for letting the community become fiscally sustainable. I think my skill set aligns very nicely with what Tulare needs as we head into the future.”
Mondell comes to Tulare at a time where a once-in-a-lifetime $18 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds are flowing to the city. He said he understands some of the major challenges the city faces in homelessness, unfunded pension liability—the gap between how much money the city thinks they’ll have for doling out retirement pensions and what they’ll need—and regional groundwater supply.
“How do we manage [homelessness] so that it’s not a blight on the community, but doing so in a way that’s humane and fair? There’s not a single answer to how we solve some of the challenges that are created by homelessness, but it’s one that is going to take some thought and careful planning,” Mondell said. “I think like many cities, Tulare has some challenges on its unfunded pension liability. I don’t think it’s out of control, I think it’s one that the city has been mindful of and working on. I think over the next few years, we’ll see some increase in what those payments are going to have to be to CalPERS.”
Getting things done requires coordination between the city manager and the city council. And Mondell seems to be off to a good start.
“[The council members] all have their own viewpoints, and they have the things that they’re most interested in, but they’re civil and they’re kind and respectful of each other and they seem to sincerely want to work together,” Mondell said. “I think in the past, there’s been some challenges at the city from an administrative perspective and a city council perspective, but I don’t think that’s the case anymore. They’re looking forward to a new day and a new future, they all want to row in the same direction…when there’s no alignment between the community and city city council and management and staff, it’s very difficult to get things done, but I see that alignment in this community.”
It’s serious business being city manager, but Mondell hopes Tulare will be a good fit for his family as well. He considers himself a city boy who loves the development side of the shop and the built environment, but said his wife is a through and through country girl with three horses and four dogs.
“We had to find a place that worked for both of us professionally and personally,” Mondell said. “The more we looked at things and visited Tulare a few times, we were like, ‘Man, this is a pretty cool place if we both can like this’.”