Employee Perks

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The City believes in recognizing employees at all levels of our organization - each and every one matters - for their contributions and teamwork. Additionally, the City provides employees with many opportunities for leadership training to retain and improve their skills. To keep up with news about employment perks with the City, follow us on LinkedIn.

Employees are the biggest asset to the City of Santa Maria. Their hard work, dedication, and commitment to the City and its residents and businesses are what makes the City organization, a great place!

Shape Your Career while Shaping Your Community. What we do every day has a direct impact on the quality of life in Santa Maria, for all residents and businesses in the community. Employees' contributions, creativity, dedication, productivity, and understanding that local government makes an important difference in people’s lives, all helps to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of Santa Maria.

Annual City Employees' Barbecue & Pool Party

Each year, this event is held to thank City employees for their service and acknowledge their contributions and dedication. Also invited are their families and City retirees. The BBQ is another way that the City, including the City Manager's Office, the City Council, and the Department Heads, demonstrate that they value all of the contributions and hard work by employees. The BBQ is made possible by employees who volunteer their time and effort, and donations come from the represented employee groups, the City, the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce, and from local businesses.

 Employee BBQ meal  BBQ gunny sack race

Going the Extra Mile Award

Employee or a work groups who go above and beyond, such as special initiative, cost containment efforts, or special performance are recognized through the CIty's Going the Extra Mile (GEM) Award. All departments, divisions, sections or work groups are eligible and encouraged to participate and make nominations twice per year. Honorees receive a plaque, recognition before the City Council, and their achievements are known through a City news release. The most recent GEM Award summaries are shown below (click to read):

 GEM Award, Going the Extra Mile Award, GEM, Dave Portwood  


 Moran and Mathews, June 2016

Centre for Organization Effectiveness Academies

The City contracts with the Centre for Organization Effectiveness to formulate a leadership program geared toward supervisory and leadership development of existing staff. This program was designed specifically for City of Santa Maria employees to improve the leadership skills of lead-workers, supervisors and managers by way of developing a multi-level coursework that is sustainable, contemporary and progressive. In the first year, the Supervisors Transition and Readiness Training (START), Supervisor Academy and the Manager Academy were provided on site for City employees. In the second year the City participated in regional academies (some hosted in Santa Maria while others were hosted in neighboring agencies) where employees from multiple jurisdictions participated.

Behind the Scenes Tours

Starting in 2017, the City coordinated its “Behind the Scenes” tours - an opportunity for City employees to see and learn about City facilities they may never otherwise get a chance to visit. This gives them a better understanding of the City’s functions, to become more well-rounded employees. Staff at hosting departments also get to impart scientific and technical knowledge, and show pride in their roles.Behind the Scenes Landfill Trip


Professional Development (SHIP)

The City is proud to offer a professional development association for City employees, called Shaping Hardworking Innovative Professionals of Santa Maria (SM SHIP), where you can “sail your way to success.” Through this association, there are opportunities for employees at all levels to network with each other, develop leadership qualities, give back to our community, and more.

Photo collage of employees and presenters at a City employee fitness event


SHIP team event


Annual Employee Service Awards

One expression of the City's appreciation is the annual City Employee Service Awards Dinner, at which those employees who have earned service awards or whom have retired from City service during the previous calendar year, and honored. This video provides insight:

Speaker Series

The City's Speaker Series provides employees with an opportunity to hear an array of speakers, from both the public and private speakers, discuss relevant topics and network over lunch. These are great opportunities to learn, and to ask questions. 

 Speaker Series Audience  Speaker Series Full Room

Mentoring Program

The City's Mentoring Program is meant to help develop employees, encourage potential and future managers and leaders, and facilitate the implementation of City goals and strategies.  The mentoring process promotes career planning and job enrichment, and the mentees are responsible for their own growth and development.

Phi Theta Kappa Leadership Development Studies

The City, working with a local facilitator, has brought the Phi Theta Kappa Leadership Development Studies program to its local leaders. The course integrates readings from the humanities, experiential exercises, films, and contemporary readings on leadership. Over the course of a year, participants meet monthly for a half-day session to discuss leadership.

Leadership Development Studies Group Portrait


City Slickers Toastmasters

Public speaking and leadership are skills that can be developed and improved. City Slickers Toastmasters Club aims to do just that. The club, made up exclusively of City of Santa Maria employees, meets on Wednesdays at 12:00 p.m. in the City Attorney’s Office Training Room. Employees who are not members are welcome to attend as guests.



Leadership Santa Maria Valley

More than 30 City employees since 1995 have so far participated in Leadership Santa Maria Valley, an 11-month leadership program designed to foster and create future community leaders.  The program allows participants to increase their understanding of local issues, challenges and solutions while expanding their personal and professional networks and refining their leadership skills.  Each class gives back to the community with its own unique Legacy Project. Founded in 1995, LSMV has over 350 graduates serving in a variety of leadership roles in the government, service and business sectors.

Speed Coaching

Speed Coaching offers employees a chance to speak one-on-one with several executive managers in an informal setting where they can discuss employment challenges and growth opportunities.

Speed Coaching image


Public Safety Department Awards

Every year, the Santa Maria Fire Department and the Santa Maria Police Department each recognize their top employees for contributions. Police Department award recipients are described online.

Spirit Days

Employees dress up to  recognize Opening Day of Major League Baseball:

Employees dressed for Opening Day of Major League Baseball

 Employees dress in Western Wear every June to recognize and promote the annual Elks Rodeo and Parade:Employees dressed in Western Wear

The City Council and Department Heads dress in Western Wear for Go Rodeo Days:Go Rodeo Days - Council and Department Heads

Downtown Fridays in Santa Maria

There always is something fun to do and see - and lots of good food - at Downtown Fridays. Downtown Fridays is the place to be for families, fun, and community camaraderie. The weekly event features a certified farmer’s market, live music, food booths, food trucks, kids’ activities, and a beer and wine tent. Visit the City's Downtown Fridays webpage.