Diane Strickfaden, a 15-year veteran of California city governments, has been hired as the Assistant to the City Manager— a new position that combines two previously unfilled positions: Director of Human Resources and Director of Community Resources.
Both positions have been vacated since 2009, and the duties look like a natural fit for Strickfaden due to her experience in human resources and enthusiasm for sports.
“My daughter plays soccer and I’m her coach,” said Strickfaden, who coaches year-round for the American Youth Soccer Organization and mother of two active children. “I couldn’t think of a better situation to have the recreation aspect along with the human resources aspect.”
She most recently worked as the Senior Human Resource Analyst for the City of Lynwood and has also worked for Lawndale, Azusa, Norwalk and South El Monte. Strickfaden understands the belt-tightening that municipalities have undergone over the last several years. In Hermosa Beach, city staff has been reduced by 30 percent since 2008.
She holds a Master of Public Administration degree from California State University, Long Beach, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is also a California-certified Labor Relations Master and an expert in public sector labor negotiations.
“We feel privileged to be able to hire someone with Diane’s skills and familiarity with the South Bay,” said Hermosa Beach City Manager Tom Bakaly in a press release. “… Diane’s experience and her personal interest in recreation and human resources will bring a new vitality to both departments and help lead the city into the future.”
Also important to Strickfaden is the proximity of the job to her own home in South Torrance. She grew up in Palos Verdes and knows the area well from her childhood.
“I get to participate in a community I consider my own,” said Strickfaden. “I’m finally getting to do my work in a community that I hang out in. I love it here… I go jogging on the Green Belt on the weekends, and you turn around and there’s the beach. There’s nothing not to love about Hermosa.”
Since the jobs she is taking over have been vacated for the past three years, and in recent years nobody has acted as assistant to the city manager, she said she feels that bringing additional leadership to the city will be helpful. The previous jobs, which paid around $108,000 and $119,000 each, were recently combined by the city council, Strickfaden said.
Although she will have more responsibility, the assistant to the city manager position pays less than either of the past positions— $103,500, plus benefits.
“Just bringing some additional leadership into the departments that haven’t had it for three or four years is exciting. I think staff is excited to have an extra person here to help guide things along,” said Strickfaden. “…It’s going to be a big job, but staff has done a really good job within the past few years of holding down the fort and keeping things moving.”
She is also excited about setting goals and helping to better define Hermosa’s “environment,” which she describes as quirky, funky and bohemian.
“This is a great community, I’m really happy to be here,” said Strickfaden while looking out her window overlooking Pier Avenue. “I love serving this group of people because they’re my neighbors, that part’s pretty neat.” ER