Jason Stillwell.
Santa Maria City Manager Jason Stillwell has announced his resignation. (Noozhawk file photo)

The city manager for Santa Barbara County’s biggest city will retire in September. 

Jason Stilwell turned in his resignation to the Santa Maria City Council on Wednesday with plans for his last day to be Sept. 22, according to a written statement sent after 8:30 p.m.

“It has been an honor working with you toward the successes we have achieved,” Stilwell said in a message to city employees. “I am proud of the city team and what we have accomplished. It is a long list that has served the community, City Council and our colleagues well and has enabled us to secure and maintain the support of the Santa Maria community.

“It is with sincere gratitude that I resigned today from my position as city manager for the City of Santa Maria.”

The city statement characterized his departure as a resignation and retirement.

He has filled the top job since the City Council hired him on Oct. 3, 2017.

Mayor Alice Patino thanked Stilwell for his service and accomplishments under his leadership.

“He and the staff kept the city on a steady course through the pandemic, economic uncertainty and staffing challenges while maintaining quality services in the most efficient, cost-effective and courteous manner possible,” Patino said.

With six years leading Santa Maria, Stilwell reigns as the second longest-tenured city manager currently working for Santa Barbara County’s eight cities. Only Carpinteria’s Dave Durflinger has a longer tenure with 24 years on the job.

Stilwell began working for Santa Maria in 2015 as deputy city manager.

He previously worked as assistant county executive officer for Santa Barbara County, among other positions in his career since 1991. 

He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Cal Poly, a master’s degree in public administration from San Jose State University and a doctorate in public affairs from the University of Colorado.

The City Council is scheduled to meet in a closed session on Aug. 15 to begin the process to select the next city manager.