Merced City Council names new city manager. He’s worked on affordable housing projects

The Merced City Council announced Scott McBride as the city’s new top administrator. The council voted unanimously to appoint McBride during the open session meeting Monday.

McBride, set to become Merced’s 13th city manager, will take over for outgoing city manager Stephanie Dietz, who announced in February that she was leaving the job.

“Scott has spent the past several years learning the city from the inside out,” Merced Mayor Matthew Serratto said in a news release. “He has the passion and knowledge to continue our important work in one of California’s fastest-growing cities.”

McBride will oversee the day-to-day operations of City Hall and its 530 employees, who serve Merced’s population of nearly 90,000.

“I am honored the City Council selected me to serve as the city manager, and I will strive to give my best to the community where I grew up,” McBride said in a news release. “I believe in the profound impact well-developed programs and services can have on a community.”

McBride grew up in the Central Valley and graduated from Atwater High School. McBride holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Master of Public Administration from California State University Stanislaus.

He started working for the city of Merced in 2017 as director of Development Services. He has worked on affordable housing projects, and teamed up with City Council to adopt policies to encourage infill development and a pro-housing zoning code.

McBride also oversees support of the Planning Commission, Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee, Building and Housing Board of Appeals, Site Plan Review Committee, and Minor Subdivision Committee.

“Scott has a heart for this community,” Dietz said. “His experience, combined with his forward-thinking approach to affordable housing, infill, commercial and retail development initiatives, will continue to foster a climate that will be beneficial as Merced grows.”

Dietz was the first female city manager for Merced. During her three years on the job, Dietz navigated the city through volatile economies and responded to a global pandemic while keeping the city fiscally sound.

During Deitz’s tenure, the city secured more than $131 million in state and federal grant funding and developed the first dedicated financial reserve of $15 million to guard against service degradation during recession seasons.

McBride’s official appointment will start Nov. 16 with an annual starting salary of $240,000.

“Our team will continue to build on the very productive work underway as we strive to create a transparent, responsive government that serves our city’s residents, businesses and stakeholders,” McBride said.