After more than 32 years of service with the city of Santa Barbara, Assistant City Administrator Joan Kent announced Friday that she will end her career with the city on Dec. 10 to have more time for personal interests.
Kent works directly for City Administrator Jim Armstrong and serves as the city administrator in his absence.
Department heads who report directly to Kent include the fire chief, library director, administrative services director and parks and recreation director.
“In my position, I’ve had an opportunity to work with many wonderful employees in the city organization,” Kent said. “After 32 years, one of my favorite parts of the job and something I’ll miss is mentoring the next generation of managers.”
Kent began her career with the city in 1977 as a personnel technician in human resources. During the next eight years, she served in various positions in human resources and was promoted to human resources manager in 1985.
In 1994, she was appointed administrative services director, responsible for human resources, the city clerk, information systems and city television operations. As director, she also served as the city’s chief negotiator for labor contracts with the city’s employee bargaining units, including police, fire and general employees.
Kent was appointed assistant city administrator in 2000 by former City Administrator Sandra Tripp-Jones. She has worked closely with executive management and the mayor and council on major city projects and programs, including the Teen Center, solid waste and interdepartmental initiatives.
Kent also has worked on many collaborative efforts with other government agencies. She is particularly proud of negotiating the current agreement with the Santa Barbara County fire chiefs, the county Public Health Department and local ambulance provider AMR, which directs more than $850,000 in annual funding to local fire agencies for their first responder services.
“Joan is one of the most dedicated and hardworking employees I have worked with during my entire career,” Armstrong said. “Her strong work ethic and impeccable sense of integrity have made her an ideal role model for the employees of the city, especially the aspiring women managers. She has been involved in virtually every major initiative in our city over the past several years. She will certainly be missed.”
An avid skier, Kent and her husband, John Bridgwater, are planning more time for skiing, travel and outdoor activities.
— Nina Johnson is an assistant to the Santa Barbara city administrator.