Town Manager Laurel Prevetti
Town Manager Laurel Prevetti pictured during a joint Town Council and Planning Commission study session Sept. 12 to discuss California's new housing laws. (Drew Penner / Los Gatan)

Last Updated: March 11, 2024 @ 2:19 pm.

The Town of Los Gatos announced today that Town Manager Laurel Prevetti will step down in four months, at the end of June. She was named to the position more than eight years ago, in 2015, after serving as assistant town manager for 15 months.

She guided the Town through a series of key initiatives, including the hiring of police chiefs Peter Decena and Jamie Field, the pandemic and post-pandemic recovery and the certification of the 2040 General Plan in 2022.

“I’ve been in local government for about 38 years and I absolutely love it,” she told the Los Gatan in a telephone interview late on Wednesday afternoon. “But I know there’s other things out there in life.”

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jennifer Lin said Prevetti has been a key to promoting the health of the local business community.

Town Manager Laurel Prevetti

Laurel Prevetti will step down as Town Manager in June. (Submitted)

“The Chamber is proud to have a very strong partnership with the Town of Los Gatos, and that includes with the Town Manager,” Lin said in an interview. “We’re so sad to hear of her departure and wish her all the best in her future.”

Lin is relatively new in the role, but says she was able to quickly develop a rapport with Prevetti, including during quarterly meetings.

“It’s been nothing but positive,” she said. “She’s always interested in hearing what we have to say.”

Before joining the Town, Prevetti worked for the City of San Jose in senior planning department roles. She’s also served as an adjunct faculty at San Jose State University and volunteers with local non-profits.

Los Gatos operates under what’s called a “strong manager” or “council/manager” form of government, where a nonpartisan official runs the Town in partnership with the policy leadership of the Council, represented by a rotating mayor.

But Prevetti prefers to rule from behind the scenes.

She recently turned-down the Los Gatan’s offer of a sit-down interview for a profile feature, suggesting instead that the glory and credit be focused on the mayor.

Last year, it was Councilmember Maria Ristow’s turn as the top elected official.

Assistant Town Manager and Town Manager
Assistant Town Manager Katy Nomura (left), Prevetti right. (Drew Penner / Los Gatan File Photo)

She appeared visibly shaken as she spoke with the Los Gatan while grabbing on coffee at Los Gatos Roasting Co. on the way to her 3 o’clock with Prevetti.

“It was inspiring,” she said, reflecting on what it was like to see Town Manager Prevetti in action. “She leads with compassion, intelligence and professionalism. While I worked with her, I was inside the office, and could see the incredibly supportive collegial environment that exists in the Town offices.”

It was impressive to watch Prevetti mentor at least five new directors while keeping the Town running, she shared.

“Under her leadership I think she has made Los Gatos a better town, made me a better Council member—and me a better person,” she said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what she does in her next chapter.”

Prevetti says she’s planning on spending more time on her musical pursuits and working with nonprofits.

Indeed, Prevetti was just in Rio de Janeiro with some fellow drummers.

“I’m taking a class with a group of people on Saturdays,” she said, recalling her excitement at watching the technical proficiency of the samba players while in Brazil.

When asked about the challenges of navigating through the pandemic years, she credited her team for their contributions.

“All of the town departments really rallied,” she said. “I’m very proud of the work that we were able to do to maintain safety.

“We basically did not miss a beat. We still paved the streets and cleaned the parks.”

In recent years, Prevetti has rubbed some people the wrong way with a leadership style that can be rigid at times. Others—concerned about the potential for residential development that could change the character of the quaint, upscale locale—have accused her of being too quick to follow the State’s direction on housing policy.

Jeffrey Blum, a Community Health and Senior Services Commission member, said with the 2023 departure of Assistant Town Manager Arn Andrews—Prevetti’s second-in-command, who took a lateral move to the City of Mountain View last year—it’s time to examine the reasons for turnover at Town Hall.

“It appears to me that the Town staff is overworked and spread too thin, thus making the Town Manager job considerably more difficult,” he said. “What might help ease the burden somewhat is for the Town to hire a separate coordinator, to oversee senior services—as our commission has recommended. As to Laurel’s particular situation, I come from the perspective of being a longtime volunteer who values collaborative problem-solving. I sometimes felt that Laurel made my job more frustrating and difficult, due to her desire to control the process. I know that I am not alone in feeling this.”

At Council last night, Wayne Heimsoth raised questions about staff first telling him, a few months back, the Town had no plans to terminate the lease for a building veterans groups he represents have their eye on, then changing course just weeks later.

But perhaps the greatest frustrations have been around housing. Many local residents have chosen to blame Prevetti’s leadership for the dozen or so housing projects seeking to bypass local development rules because Los Gatos has failed to get its Housing Element certified.

Prevetti, in pink, as the contentious discussion about housing development plans plays out before her at Council, March 5. (Drew Penner / Los Gatan)

In fact, Councilmember Matthew Hudes, who is now Vice Mayor, voted against a 5% raise for Prevetti (to $289,572 annually) in December (though everyone else was in support). Hudes has repeatedly criticized the Town for focusing on the General Plan ahead of the Housing Element.

However, pro-housing advocates see a different picture, one where the Town has been hampered at every turn in its efforts to dish up a residential development plan of the sort the State would like to see (namely one that seeks to allow much more than the 1,993 bare-minimum number of units the Department of Housing and Community Development has set as the municipality’s baseline).

This was echoed last night during Council when several public commenters came out to speak in support of small, multiunit developments—perhaps even beyond what Los Gatos could get away with promising to prepare for.

Ristow even pushed-back on those making the argument that Town officials haven’t done their part to get the Housing Element approved by Sacramento.

“If you want to talk about leadership—We had only about three members (of Council) from the start that have voted for some of the really important issues that were essential to getting this Housing Element moved forward,” she said, noting approving the specific sites where new housing can go, a story pole policy HCD wanted to see, creation of a Housing Element Overlay Zone and a specific rezoning directive were all steps fought by one or more Council members. “All four of those were steps that were absolutely essential. And it got us to where we are.”

Prevetti says it’s just something that every municipal manager has had to contend with in California.

“It’s always tough when someone else gives you a big number to plan for,” she said, commending Council for its split-decision the night before to pass a compromise plan that protects some lower-density areas from multifamily developments while allowing intensification in other areas. “I think we’re ready to get to the next step in the process.”

But as Prevetti prepares to take the next big step in her life, she says she’s grateful for her time in office.

“What I really love about Los Gatos is its sense of community,” she said. “It’s just such a wonderful place to be.”

Below is the town’s press release:


Date: March 6, 2024 


Los Gatos, CA – Town Manager Laurel Prevetti has announced that she is stepping down effective June 28, 2024. Ms. Prevetti said, “It has been an honor to serve the community of Los Gatos, Town Council, and the staff. It is now time for me to pursue my other interests in travel, music and working with non-profits.” 

Mayor Mary Badame said, “I appreciate Laurel’s support of the Town Council and her leadership of the staff team to provide excellent services to the Los Gatos community.” 

Ms. Prevetti provided a detailed transition plan to the Los Gatos Town Council, emphasizing the importance of a smooth leadership change while continuing efforts on key Council projects, such as the Housing Element and the annual budget. She said, “The transition gives me an opportunity to work with each Department Director and other staff to advance the Council’s priorities and ensure stability in day-to-day service delivery.” 

Hired in 2014 after a 28-year career with the City of San Jose, Ms. Prevetti joined Los Gatos as both its Assistant Town Manager and Community Development Director. In 2015, she was promoted to Town Manager. During her tenure, she ensured the continuity of Town services throughout the pandemic; helped rebuild the Police Department and return to community policing; and facilitated community partnerships. 

The Town Council will be considering the recruitment process for the next Town Manager. 

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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