Rocklin is about to hit the reset button on its elected leadership.
Two longtime City Council members, who have helped steer Rocklin from smallish town to a city of 58,000, are stepping down.
Fortunately, voters have promising newcomers to pick from Nov. 6 when they fill three of the five council seats.
Dave Butler, CEO of an education nonprofit and the 2011 president of the Rocklin Chamber of Commerce, is a clear choice. He has broad support and a regional perspective that would help the city.
Greg Janda has practical experience running a business and also has wide support. To his credit, instead of sulking after barely losing two years ago, he has diligently learned more about city government and networked with elected officials in South Placer County.
Ken Broadway, whose day job is as a UPS manager, has earned a lot of good will as a dedicated community volunteer, especially with a girls fast-pitch softball league. He'd have a learning curve but seems to have the qualities to make the transition to public office.
Continuity and experience are the best arguments for the lone incumbent on the ballot, George Magnuson, who has been on the council since 1991 and served as mayor five times.
It's even more significant because of the turnover among Rocklin's top administrators. City Manager Rick Horst came from Florida at the end of 2010. The police and fire chiefs, as well as the recreation and information technology directors, are relatively new on the job.
But like some longtime officeholders, Magnuson seems to have lost some of his passion for the post. He also has to answer for controversial votes on salaries and pensions.
Even during the recession that forced the city to cut deeply into services and the workforce, Magnuson was part of a unanimous council that in 2010 approved too-sweet early-retirement packages for senior officials. In August, Magnuson and the rest of the council increased the police chief's salary by 15 percent, partly to offset his contribution to his CalPERS account. The council has already started handing out raises to the rank-and-file.
Despite some poor decisions, the two incumbents not seeking re-election will take invaluable experience and institutional knowledge with them. Vice Mayor Peter Hill has been on the council for 29 years and has been mayor six times. Mayor Brett Storey has served since 2000.
The two council holdovers Scott Yuill, elected in 2006, and Diana Ruslin, elected in 2010 will have to step up their leadership. The newly elected council members must get quickly up to speed.
The Rocklin council has to be smart about how it restores some services as the economy rebounds. It has to navigate pension reform and get employee compensation in line. It must figure out the end of redevelopment, including how to preserve Big Gun Quarry and protect the public purse in any deals with private developers.
The changing of the guard in Rocklin is not going to be easy, but Broadway, Butler and Janda give the best chance of success.