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Kilger winding down service as city manager
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City Manager Brad Kilger attended his last Ceres City Council meeting Monday evening in the wake of his announcement that he's leaving his post to become city manager of Benecia.

Kilger said he leaves Ceres, proud of many accomplishments during some recent hard financial times for cities.

"I've been here four and a half years and I'm not saying it because all city managers say it but I think we have one of the best staffs in the Valley if not state," noted Kilger. "We've accomplished a lot of good things. We've built the community center and a fourth fire station. In spite of the recession, I feel like we've accomplished a lot of things."

The Benecia City Council ratified its contract with Kilger on Nov. 2. Kilger will start in Benicia - a city of approximately 28,000 - on Dec. 13 at a salary of $187,500, which is $37,500 more than the salary earned in Ceres. He was selected by Benicia from a candidate pool of 73 applicants after an extensive recruitment process.

Kilger's last day on the job in Ceres will be on Dec. 3. The city will be managed by Ceres Police Chief Art deWerk until Kilger's replacement has been selected.

"I will definitely miss the people of Ceres," commented Kilger. "Through the leadership of the City Council and the dedication and hard work of the staff we have been able to accomplish a lot for the citizen of Ceres, even though we were in the midst of the most significant economic downturn since the great depression. I will most of all miss the city staff. They have continually given their all for the community."

Kilger, 56, said the move to the Bay Area city will be an opportunity to move up professionally.

"I wasn't actively looking," said Kilger. "It definitely was an opportunity for me professionally."

The increased compensation package was "part of the reason," he said.

"I would say the compensation is significant in addition to the retirement. It was a difficult choice because I really enjoy Ceres."

Kilger said the new job allows him to pursue his passion, which is economic development.

"Benecia is an area that is heavy on economic development and tourism and revitalization. Professionally there is definite opportunities there."

Kilger has a wife of 32 years, Linda, have two grown children.

Kilger was hired by Ceres in February 2006 at a cost of $150,000 per year. His contract was amended twice, once in 2007 and again in 2008, making his salary $165,000. The 20 percent cuts to Kilger's compensation package resulted in a $40,000 savings to taxpayers and included a decrease in salary, deferred compensation, vacation and leave.

Prior to coming to Ceres Kilger was the community and economic development director for the city of Modesto.