The pandemic may have taken a toll on people’s mental health and even general health during this last year, but the city of Santa Clarita vowed to provide recreational opportunities to fill the gap, and this month the League of California Cities awarded Santa Clarita Assistant City Manager Frank Oviedo for his role in so many of the projects that made a difference.
Each year since 1978, the League of California Cities, whose goal is to protect local control and enhance the quality of life for all Californians, has given the John H. Nail Memorial Award to outstanding municipal assistants to promote the advancement of California communities. Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin, who presented the 2021 honor to Oviedo earlier this month at a city manager conference in Monterey, said Oviedo is the embodiment of what the prestigious award recognizes.
“Throughout his tenure with the city of Santa Clarita, he has encouraged innovation, led landmark projects and been a dedicated and effective mentor to city staff,” Striplin said. “He takes pride in professionally developing staff members to prepare them for future leadership roles in our organization.”
During the pandemic, Oviedo, according to city officials, focused on creating new recreational opportunities for the public to provide safe, active opportunities, he oversaw the creation of the Trek Bike Park of Santa Clarita, and he led the negotiations to purchase, renovate and rebrand the former Ice Station, now known as The Cube.
Of Oviedo’s many recent city projects, he said he’s most proud of the work he did on The Cube ice arena.
“Having taken that project from its inception,” Oviedo said, “from the actual acquisition of the building, all the way to seeing the programs open, is probably the project that I’ll not only remember — in this given you’re given the recognition — but also throughout my career.”
John Gillison, president of the League of California Cities City Managers Department, said Oviedo showed a passion for the residents of Santa Clarita.
“Frank is a true public servant,” Gillison added, “with more than 23 years’ experience in local government, and his leadership within the city has contributed to enriching public amenities, landmark recreational projects, and the development of the next generation of city employees. Frank has truly set the city of Santa Clarita on a path for long-term success.”
Oviedo has served as the assistant city manager in Santa Clarita since 2013. He was previously a management analyst for the city from 1997 to 2002, after which he provided his services as the deputy city manager for the city of Elk Grove in the Sacramento area. During his time there, Oviedo was instrumental in converting the Sacramento County sheriff’s contract into the city’s first municipal police department.
In 2009, Oviedo became Wildomar’s first city manager, where he developed a comprehensive economic development plan to stabilize city finances during the great recession that year. Oviedo says he takes pleasure in helping the people he serves feel proud of where they live — and being awarded for doing that kind of work is the icing on the cake.
“Anybody that works in public administration,” Oviedo said, “doesn’t do this work for the recognition, but I will say that it’s nice to be recognized statewide by your peers.”
For more information about the John H. Nail Memorial Award and how the League of California Cities works to better the state’s political landscape, go to calcities.org.