Dave Witt retires from city after 31 years of service
By Amanda Rogers
Long-time city of La Mesa employee, City Manager Dave Witt has announced his retirement to be effective Aug. 5.
Witt has served in several positions with La Mesa, starting as the Assistant Planning Director in 1985. Many of his years with La Mesa were involved with planning and redevelopment activities. Prior to his last position as City Manager, Mr. Witt served several years as the Assistant City Manager and Community Development Director.
“On behalf of the entire city, we thank and congratulate Dave Witt for his years of service,” said Mayor Mark Arapostathis in a statement. “Mr. Witt has always represented the city of La Mesa with integrity and character. Through his leadership and vision, numerous projects were completed that improved and modernized our streets and neighborhoods, while still maintaining the charm that has come to define La Mesa. Dave Witt will be succeeded but never replaced.”
Some of the successful projects Witt recalls as significant contributions to the city’s development in this capacity were the public/private partnerships that helped with the transformation of the Fletcher Parkway Corridor. Witt was also instrumental in implementing several major park projects and revitalization of the city’s Civic Center facilities. One of the more recent projects that he was glad to see completed as a longtime goal was the first phase of the Downtown Village Streetscape Improvements.
“[I have] enjoyed the professional responsibility given to me by the City Council in taking the lead on numerous challenging projects that have helped the community develop and grow in a lasting and positive way,” Witt said, noting that he is leaving the organization with a very professional and committed staff, as well as a solid fiscal foundation. La Mesa’s infrastructure is well maintained and systems are well established to support many different options for a bright future for the city.
Witt noted that while there will always be high demands placed on the city by a community that expects and deserves the best in a town which is loved by many, he feels that the organization is well positioned to continue to deliver top level public services and meet the community’s expectations in the years ahead.
“I truly appreciate all the opportunities La Mesa has given to me to grow professionally as an urban planner and city manager,” he said. “To develop the plans that reflect community goals and then to find the resources needed to see the projects getting built as imagined has been tremendously rewarding.”
Replacing Witt as City Manager is Assistant City Manager Yvonne Garrett.
“The City Council is very pleased with their choice to name Yvonne Garrett as La Mesa’s City Manager,” Arapostathis said. “Mrs. Garrett is the most qualified person in the region. As Assistant City Manager and Director of Community Services she acquired a unique skill set that will be beneficial in her service to our city. We all congratulate Yvonne Garrett.”
Garrett has been the Assistant City Manager/Director of Community Services for the city of La Mesa since 2010. In addition, she has been the director of the La Mesa Park and Recreation Foundation, a private nonprofit organization that raises funds for park improvements and facilitates recreational education and cultural programs in La Mesa. Prior to working for the city of La Mesa, she was the Executive Director of the Alpine Community Center for 13 years.
As Assistant City Manager, Garrett, handled special projects for the city including developing a Health and Wellness Element for the General Plan, and completion of the Parks Master Plan. She provided staff support to the city’s centennial celebration in 2012. Garrett also oversaw the La Mesa Community Center complex, including the Adult Enrichment Center, municipal pool, and recreational classes.
In her tenure with La Mesa, Garrett completed several major capital projects including the award-winning PARKS Project, the La Mesa Teen Center and has been instrumental in promoting walkability in the city of La Mesa. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and English from Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, and a Masters of Public Administration degree from Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa.
“I would like to thank the City Council for their confidence in me and I am excited to continue working for a wonderful community. La Mesa is truly everyone’s image of their own hometown,” she said.
—Amanda Rogers is Secretary to the City Manager of La Mesa.