Interim Assistant City Manager Ruth F. Quinto has ‘always been a servant of the community’
Born and raised in Fresno, California, Ruth F. Quinto graduated from Fresno State University with a degree in accounting and began working for a public firm for the first part of her career.
“That’s been a really important part of my career choice — to work for the government,” Quinto said. “I then went to Fresno Unified School District, and I was the CFO and the deputy superintendent there for 15 years.”
Quinto is not a stranger to Malibu — she has served as the city’s treasurer for the past year and a half.
Quinto met and married her husband and raised her kids in Redlands, and has served as a city controller for both Fresno and Moreno Valley.
“Our kids were there and very much enjoyed our Southern California life at the time, but I really felt the need and the drawback to Fresno to raise my kids to go to school, to be with my parents and my extended family,” Quinto said. “I had about my second eight years working for city government and the city controller and really loved that work. I’ve always been a servant of the community growing up and the schools we went to to be of service.”
Quinto said being a part of the government gives her the opportunity to provide economic guidance.
“That was a wonderful opportunity to really give back to our most disadvantaged populations and also improve the economies of the school district,” Quinto said.
Despite the differences in communities, the needs remain the same.
“From anywhere in the Central Valley, the needs of the community, being the top priority that doesn’t change, whatever the community needs are, we are here to serve,” Quinto said. “We’re here to put that tax dollar to work in a way that the community prioritizes who we work for, and that hasn’t changed at all.”
“In any of the organizations where I’ve been working, those priorities are very different, so you have to be an active listener,” Quinto said. “Not just for your own self, but for your team and for the organization, the decision-makers, policymakers, elected officials, and making sure that they also heard and that we respond appropriately to the priorities that they set.”
Quinto said she has loved her time living in Malibu as the treasurer for the city thus far.
“I love it, I really love it,” Quinto said. “What brought us back to Southern California was our older children; they both went to UCLA and they both loved being back in Southern California and so we’d always planned on some day that we would move back. I’m lucky enough to find a little place here in Malibu.”
Quinto said when the city treasurer position was being advertised, it was the time they were looking for their home in Malibu.
“What better way to get involved in the community and to serve the community than to do something where my skills and my experience match up with that perfectly,” Quinto said. “So I do feel very fortunate to continue that opportunity and this interim position. It’s a shorter period of time so that I can just help the city get through this time of transition with some key leadership positions and hopefully add value to the process.”
Quinto said the difference between the treasurer and interim city manager is taking on the additional and an expansive set of responsibilities.
“I would keep an eye on cash management to make sure that investments are appropriate in accordance with policy,” Quinto said. “I also went through the policy and updated that, just some minor visions but keeping a pulse on investment management, but the interim city manager is not only directly responsible for all of the traditional finance and accounting functions but also shepherding us through the entire budget process, which is really important.”
In addition, Quinto oversees the human resources operations, information technology operation, the media and outreach team and provides general guidance on where they would invest in resources.
“I hope to continue to be the best professionally and balance that with also being the best wife and mother I possibly can be,” Quinto said. “So that’s always a balancing act and everything in moderation. I highly value my family, and that’s the most important thing to me; on the other side, it’s also so very important for me to feel that I’m contributing in a way that moves the community’s priorities in a positive direction and specifically supporting the city overall.”
In terms of helping Woolsey Fire victims, Quinto said she continues to keep a positive relationship with the county to provide the services the community needs.
“The goals of continuing to address recovery from the Woolsey Fire and the rebuilds generally speaking public safety, keeping a really positive and meaningful relationship with the county, because they provide our fire services and our police services via contract,” Quinto said. “So that’s important to keep positive as I help to transition us through this time.”
Quinto also works with the city manager to make sure they have a solid budget for the next fiscal year.
“That’s probably a day-to-day perspective — boots on the ground type of a thing,” Quinto said. “That’s really the most important thing is that our budget development process is strategic, transparent and it’s meaningful.”
“It’s really about partnering with my colleagues like the planning director, the public works director and the park or the community services director who oversees parks and rec and our arts and activities,” Quinto said. “My role is making sure that I understand what their priorities are and provide them either the organization or the resources they need.”
Quinto said community input is not only helpful, it’s important.
“We have an annual work plan that basically has by department all of the priorities that the council would like for us to focus on and [we would] make sure that the time, money and people are directed in a way that provides what they need, to have the right outcome,” Quinto said. “For all of those items that are in the work plan and the priorities of the community.”
Quinto said having the community involved in commission meetings is helpful in bringing recommendations to concerns and decisions.
“We have a lot of commissions and that involves a lot of community members, which is really very helpful in bringing recommendations to the city council,” Quinto said. “So we’re really able to hopefully hear the concerns or maybe even some good news from the community about what’s working and what we can do more of. I think those are very highly valued and we take that information and input, we make sure to report that to the council and make plans to act upon it.”
“My intention is to be helpful, be productive, and to make sure that we have a budget for next year that is reflective of the community and the council’s priorities,” Quinto said. “I have an open door and any information or actions that I can perform in order to forward those outcomes, I’m very much interested in continuing with that work.”