A SusanvilleStuff Feature
by Melissa Blosser, Assistant Editor
A clean-cut and well poised Jared Hancock not only dresses the part of City Administrator, he’s earned the position. After serving for two years as the head of the City Planning Department Hancock now has a solid foundation to build on as he steps into his new role at Susanville’s helm.
Born in Australia, Hancock moved to San Jose in 1999 where he lived for five years and worked in finance.
He went on to further his education at California State University Chico and after graduation changed his focus, working for the City of Oroville in the planning department.
Hancock was hired as the Planning Director for the City of Susanville in 2010, and was named the city’s new Administrator last month.
“I know I am up to the challenge,” said Hancock. “I haven’t come in with my own agenda and when I came up here I tried to immerse myself in the community, talking with local businesses, trying to see what we can do better,” he said.
Economic development is a key issue facing the city and Hancock played a part in reestablishing the Lassen County Economic Development committee. The committee consists of community leaders, educators and business owners, and serves as a collaborative team in developing strategies for economic growth.
“We have to focus on the five or six items that are achievable,” said Hancock.“It is really about taking advantage of existing demand and having a good economic vitality strategy so that each entity is working in the same direction,” he said.
Bringing in new businesses and supporting local businesses is something Hancock recognizes as a challenge for Susanville. Hancock believes government agencies should help people ‘accomplish and fulfill their goals,’ and is working to put the necessary steps for new businesses wanting to come to Susanville.
“If we can make it as easy as possible, then we are providing a service and that is what we need to do,” said Hancock. “I have received recent phone calls and the rumor is now Susanville is a good place to do business because we are making the process as easy as possible. I think in the next few years we are going to see more of the vacant sites develop,” he said.
Although Hancock encourages economic growth, he also appreciates the small town charm and quality of life him and his family have come to know as residents of Susanville.
“We are not a Bay Area community, or a large community and quality of life is so important,” he said.“Creating a community that celebrates the heritage we have, yet still provides the additional amenities that people are craving, that is what I hope to see here,” he said.
With new small local businesses popping up in town, success is trickling over to the other surrounding local businesses and Hancock is hopeful the trend will continue.
After we have had a few local businesses come in, you have really seen the morale lift. We have a lot here and people have really worked hard to make the community what it is.
As an outsider coming in, the people of Susanville didn’t disappoint Hancock with their passion to see things change and improve. Hancock has frequently been approached by the public expressing their concerns for community projects and betterment.
“I am amazed at the great ideas people come up with and some of the suggestions are really small, but we have already started working on some of them,” said Hancock.“It says that the people in this community actually care and they are willing to step up and help.”
One of the most frequently brought up topics is the idea of a pool. While working for the city of Oroville Hancock managed pools, and having young children and growing up swimming competitively himself Hancock also understands swimming is a ‘life skill’ that people really need.
“I don’t think the City will be the single supporter of the pool it is going to take all the agencies to come up with a solid solution,” said Hancock. “I am encouraged by the efforts of all the agencies coming together to come up with a common solution and we have been directed by the city council to play a part in that,” he said.
“It’s a matter of people coming together to find a good solution, not necessarily the perfect solution.”
With only a few days on the job, Hancock has focused on meeting with the staff individually to get to know what they are working on. The city’s staffing level is the lowest it has been in over 20 years and according to Hancock everyone has stepped up to the plate to work as a team.
As the City Administrator Hancock not only has the staff to work with collaboratively, but expressed his excitement and appreciation for working with Susanville’s city council members.
“We have built a good foundation for what the community wants and where the council wants to go, that is why this is such a great opportunity because we are starting in a good place financially,” said Hancock. “I think we have the ability to see some really good projects come about in the next few years and I am excited to be leading that.”