The Santa Ana City Council officially said goodbye to retiring City Manager Dave Ream and in doing so heaped praise on the longest serving city manager in Orange County.
Ream, who led the city for 25 years, retired in March but agreed to stay on as a paid consultant through May 31. His retirement is part of a major turnover in top leadership at City Hall, including the departure of former City Attorney Joe Fletcher in December and former Deputy City Manager Cindy Nelson in February.
“You’ve done a wonderful, wonderful job, Dave. You have much to be proud of,” said Mayor Miguel Pulido. “You told me the other day that it’s been a good ride, and I agree with you. I share those thoughts.”
Other council members shared memories with Ream and lauded some of his accomplishments.
Councilwoman Michele Martinez singled out Bristol Street in her comments regarding Ream. The street has undergone a widening project recently. “When I pass Bristol, that’s what I think about,” Martinez said. “I don’t think about just Bristol. That was truly your vision.”
Councilman Carlos Bustamante praised Ream’s leadership skills, saying he learned a lot from Ream. He said that Ream treated people in a way that made them want to work for him.
“I’ve tried to emulate you and the way you lead and the way you treat people,” Bustamante said.
After receiving an official commendation from the city, Ream recalled that he worked with more than 80 elected officials throughout his career.
“It’s a fascinating business, it’s a fascinating profession, I couldn’t have asked for more,” Ream said.
Santa Ana has a bright future, he said. “I’m going out with the best possible hopes and aspirations for this city.”
Ream has been with the city since 1978 and was appointed city manager in 1986. He also served as deputy city manager, director of community development and budget officer, according to the city’s website.
— ADAM ELMAHREK