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HomeNewsBusinessIn Santa Cruz, Rosemary Menard’s ‘Getting to Yes’ Strategy

In Santa Cruz, Rosemary Menard’s ‘Getting to Yes’ Strategy

Utility job, as we all know, has several facets. Just as every water utility need a specialised team of operators, lab technicians, and field workers, it also helps to have a leader like Rosemary Menard who specialises in a different side of the company – interacting with the local government and community to ensure project success.

Menard spearheaded the development of Long-Range Financial Plans for capital reinvestment in both 2016 and 2021, addressing several of the agenda topics listed above. Each plan featured five-year water rate rise plans, and Menard received unanimous support from the city council. In addition, the government has established new fines to offset required water consumption curtailments in Santa Cruz as a result of the drought.

It’s a talent that may be even more important in drought-stricken California, where Menard has worked as the City of Santa Cruz’s water director since 2014. In this role, she has assisted the Santa Cruz Water Department in navigating multiple droughts and wildfires, as well as the repair and replacement of ageing infrastructure, a pending treatment plant upgrade, metre replacements, and a plan to supplement the city’s water supply and prepare for the coming winter.

They are only a few examples of Menard’s “getting to yes” strategy, which she teaches when mentioning the public policy requirements that can frequently stymie vital utility projects and programmes.

Menard has more than 40 years of expertise in the water infrastructure business, with more than 30 of those years spent as a water utility executive in three states.

“I’ve always concentrated on how to build the process so that you don’t receive the wrong response,” she explains.

She does not come from an engineering or legal background. Menard’s expertise is in public policy and interacting with city council, local government, and the community in order to drive project and rate approvals with public support. Menard was even chosen interim city manager in Santa Cruz in 2021 while the city council searched for a permanent manager, and she was able to step in and give good leadership.

Menard is this year’s Water Finance & Management Award winner for her long career in water and leadership on a multitude of fronts.

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  • In Santa Cruz, Rosemary Menard’s ‘Getting to Yes’ Strategy
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