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National City manager heads north Allison K. Sampité | Tue, Jan 17 2012 03:02 PM

National City City Manager Chris Zapata,52, said today he is leaving National City after being selected as the new city manager for the city of San Leandro in the Bay Area.

San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy announced at a special meeting Jan. 5 that the city council voted 6-0 to select Zapata from a nationwide search of 51 candidates who applied for the position.

“It’s been a good eight years,” National City City Manager Chris Zapata said. “It’s time to move on.”

Zapata applied for the position in November and had a series of interviews with San Leandro city staff and council last month.

“I’ve always been interested in finding new challenges,” Zapata said. “I’ve been at National City for eight years and I feel like it’s in a good place.”

In a press release sent out by Cassidy’s office last week he stated, “The City Council and I were highly impressed with Chris’ leadership skills, action-oriented management style, knowledge and insight into the key issues facing San Leandro, and expertise in municipal finance and economic development.”

In April last year, Zapata was one of five finalists out of 60 considered for the city manager post in Chandler, Ariz.

Zapata said he applied because he wanted to help the city realize its "great vision" as well as be closer to his family.

Zapata has served as a local government professional for 25 years. During his tenure with National City, he managed a diverse community of some 60,000 residents and helped the expansion of diversified businesses as well as bayfront efforts.

The South County Community Network and the National City Chamber of Commerce are hosting a “farewell” breakfast for Zapata Friday, Jan. 20 at the Clarion Hotel in National City.

The event is sponsored by La Maestra Community Health Clinics.

Those attending include emcees for the evening, National City Councilman Louie Natividad and Chamber CEO Jacqueline Reynoso, with remarks by National City Port Commissioner Dukie Valderrama, Chula Vista City Manager Jim Sandoval and owner of McCune Chrysler Jeep Dodge, Tony McCune.

Zapata’s contract was to expire next month. He earned $165,000 annually. Former San Leandro Steve Hollister earned $211,900 in 2010.

Because of information provided to The Star-News, a previous version of this story reported Zapata applied for the San Leandro city manager's position in November 2011.

That was incorrect.

Zapata clarified he applied for the city manager's position in October.

The Star-News regrets the error.

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