Editorial: Kudos to City Manager Nelson Fialho

Longtime city leader recognized for 25 years in public service

Pleasanton's mayor and City Council recognized City Manager Nelson Fialho on Jan. 16 for his award from the International City/County Management Association for his 25 years of management service. Pictured (from left) are Councilman Jerry Pentin, Mayor Jerry Thorne, Fialho, and council members Karla Brown, Kathy Narum and Arne Olson. (Photo by city of Pleasanton)

Nelson Fialho, Pleasanton's city manager since 2004 -- and, at the time, was California's youngest municipal executive -- was honored last week by the City Council, and for good reason: He was just recognized by the International City/County Management Association for having served in local government for 25 years.

His accomplishments since being hired at the age of 26 by the city's then-City Manager Deborah Acosta McKeehan range from successfully steering Pleasanton through a recession to managing the completion of the $16.2 million, 16-acre, multipurpose Bernal Community Park.

He began his professional career much as McKeehan did, first interning with a local city to gain municipal administrative experience. Fialho started 27 years ago as a Hayward intern, first in the city manager's office and then rotating through all the major departments of that city for nearly two years, including public works, planning and finance -- the departments he now governs in Pleasanton.

"His energy and passion for public service was infectious," McKeehan recalls. "On top of all that, he was a likable guy others enjoyed working with to complete a task."

Quickly promoted to deputy city manager, Fialho worked with McKeehan and the City Council on implementing the merger of the Livermore and Pleasanton fire departments, acquiring and upgrading the city library from Alameda County, designing financial improvements to the city's capital

improvement plan and heading up the city's labor relations team.

Fialho attributes his work ethic to his parents, who immigrated from the Azores. His mother was a seamstress, his father a military officer from Portugal. They lived the American dream, eventually owning a small dry-cleaning business and becoming naturalized citizens in 1984.

Born in Oakland, Fialho was raised in San Leandro. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science-economics and a master's in public administration with an emphasis in public finance from California State University East Bay. He then embarked on a career in local government, working in Hayward, San Dimas and Campbell prior to Pleasanton.

Here, he has served four mayors and 14 council members. He's made fiscal responsibility and sustainability a guiding principle and, most notably, saw the city through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Outside of City Hall, Fialho is often seen at Patelco Sports Complex, where he coaches youth lacrosse. His three sons are avid lacrosse players.

"While those of us who are elected to serve will come and go, it's the Nelsons of the world -- these true public servants -- who sustain us through hard and extraordinary work, who show up day in and day out in selfless service to the community they love and who make a real difference," Mayor Jerry Thorne said.

Added McKeehan: "He has taken Pleasanton onto the next version of the best it can be. I have no doubt Nelson will have a career in city management as long as he wants it to be. He is a true professional."

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12 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 25, 2018 at 4:54 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

I agree with this editorial.
Nelson Fialho is all of everything stated and much more.

7 people like this
Posted by Becky Dennis
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Jan 26, 2018 at 11:17 am

Congratulations, Nelson! And well deserved. Local government is the cradle of good citizenship. Thanks for rockin’ it!

7 people like this
Posted by Ptownmom
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Jan 26, 2018 at 1:02 pm

Nelson is fantastic - well deserved recognition!

11 people like this
Posted by Tom & Ken
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 26, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Nelson is a super friendly down to earth kind of guy, not a sour apple like our present Mayor. If you happen to meet up with Nelson out and about he greets you with a huge big smile and makes you feel comfortable talking with him. He truly is an asset to our community here in Pleasanton. He should run for Mayor....we need friendly leaders.

5 people like this
Posted by Ptown employee
a resident of Gatewood
on Jan 26, 2018 at 3:06 pm

As a City of Pleasanton employee and resident, I appreciate Nelson's friendly demeanor, commitment to the community and dedicated leadership. Congratulations and keep up the good work!

4 people like this
Posted by Bob Butler
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 26, 2018 at 10:05 pm

Congratulations, Nelson!

I always appreciated your good work. The honor is well-deserved.

1 person likes this
Posted by Peter's
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2018 at 11:35 pm


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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Nominations due by Sept. 16

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