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Serving Communities as an Assistant/Deputy City Manager

Feb 21 @ 12:00 pm-1:00 pm

In this virtual panel, hear from three assistant/deputy city managers in the Bay Area and Southern California to learn more about their career paths and how to get involved in this work. Our panelists will also touch on diversity in local government and serving diverse communities.


  • PJ Gagajena, MPP, MURPAssistant City ManagerCity of MoorparkPJ Gagajena serves as the Assistant City Manager for the City of Moorpark, CA. His 20-year local government career includes working for the cities of Los Angeles, New York, Indio, and Torrance. PJ holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UCLA, where he served as Internal Vice President of the Undergraduate Students Association Council (USAC), and received Masters degrees in Public Policy and Urban Planning from Harvard University. PJ earned the distinction of becoming one of the first Accredited California Economic Developers from the California Association of Local Economic Development (CALED). PJ is an International Committee Member for the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and serves on the board of the International Network of Asian Public Administrators (I-NAPA). He was the recipient of the 2021 Stewardship Award from the Municipal Management Association of Southern California (MMASC) and currently serves as an Adjunct Professor and Advisory Council Member for the Master of Public Policy and Administration Program at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA.
  • Trolis Niebla, P.E., MSAssistant City ManagerCity of LancasterTrolis is a professional civil engineer with more than 20 years of experience in civil engineering related to land development, grading, drainage, hydrology, geotechnical, street design, traffic engineering, project and construction management, and building & safety review. Trolis has a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) and a Master’s degree in Geotechnical Engineering, also from UCLA. He started his career working for Leroy Crandall and Associates in 2000 and then moved into the public sector in 2001. Since that time, Trolis has worked for the LA County Department of Public Works, the City of Santa Clarita, and the City of Lancaster. Previously, as the City Engineer for the City of Lancaster, he lead the Traffic Engineering and Maintenance Division and the Building & Safety Division. Some of his key accomplishments with the City of Lancaster are the creation of the North Los Angeles County Transportation Coalition Joint Powers Authority, the City’s Master Plan of Complete Streets, and the City’s Safer Streets Action Plan. In his free time Trolis loves spending time with his wife of 15 years and their 3 children. He enjoys camping, watching sports, and riding his bikes.
  • Jaqui Guzman, MPP ‘07Deputy City ManagerCity of SunnyvaleJaqui oversees the Communication’s Office; Equity, Access, and Inclusion Office; and manages several city-wide initiatives. She has over 15 years of experience in government, serving in a range of roles including Budget Analyst, Acting Human Resources Manager and Assistant to the City Manager. Jaqui holds a master’s degree in public policy (MPP) from UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, and a B.A. from Occidental College. Jaqui grounds herself by being very active in her community and the profession. She serves on the board of Sunnyvale Community Services and AACI Health & Wellness. Jaqui also serves on the CalCities’ Subcommittee on Diversity and is a past Chair. She is a Past President of the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley and continues to be an active member.