Encinitas city manager retiring after 35 years in government service


Encinitas City Manager Karen Brust is retiring in mid-June after 35 years in government service, the city’s mayor announced Friday, April 17.

Brust, who has been Encinitas city manager for nearly five years and previously led the cities of San Juan Capistrano and Del Mar, wrote in her resignation letter that it had been both a “privilege and an honor” to manage Encinitas, a place she’s called home for two decades.

Karen Brust

“I am proud to have contributed to Encinitas’ distinguished history ... I will carry with me many treasured memories of the people in Encinitas and the great work that we have accomplished together,” she wrote in the letter, which was dated Monday, April 13.

Projects she’s proud of, she noted, include gaining certification for the city’s Housing element, winning regulatory approvals for the Leucadia Streetscape Project and the El Portal railroad undercrossing, and implementing a train horn quiet zone in the Cardiff area.

“My greatest joy has been reorganizing city departments with a focus on enhanced customer service and building a strong professional and competent executive team, who demonstrate outstanding character and commitment,” she wrote.

Her resignation is effective June 12.

Mayor Catherine Blakespear wrote in a text message Friday, April 17, that Brust has been a “fantastic city manager” and “we will miss her greatly.” Her resignation announcement wasn’t expected, but Brust’s husband has recently retired and “I think she thought it was time,” the mayor wrote.

In her nearly five years as city manager, Brust has overseen the construction of major projects, including the Moonlight Beach safety center, brought added attention to the city’s environmental projects and programs, and “reorganized the city staff structure to create more efficiency without sacrificing quality,” Blakespear wrote.

“One of her greatest strengths is her ability to motivate and lead her team of employees to accomplish the city’s goals,” she wrote.

Prior to coming to work in Encinitas, Brust was city manager of San Juan Capistrano and before she went to work there she managed the city of Del Mar. She also is a former financial director and treasurer of the San Diego County Water Authority.

She received a master’s degree in organizational management and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Central Connecticut State University.

— Barbara Henry is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune