Cupertino Matters

Breaking – City Manager Jim Throop Resigns

Last night, after a disastrous city council meeting, chaired by Vice-Mayor Liang Chao, Cupertino City Manager Jim Throop submitted his resignation. Throop came on board on January 3, 2022. His resignation–styled as a “retirement” from government service–comes less than six months later and is effective July 22.

It is implausible that someone with decades of public service experience would relocate to Cupertino for a high-paying position and then just “retire” after five months.

In his letter, he praises the capability and professionalism of staff:

“I also want to recognize the fact that the City of Cupertino has some of the best employees I have ever had the honor and privilege of working alongside. They are a well-educated,experienced, and dedicated team that continually strives to make Cupertino a better place for its residents.”

Notably, he offers no such praise for his boss–the city council. Why is that? Throop is the SECOND city manager to abruptly “retire” in just one year. Perhaps one city manager’s resignation is unfortunate, but two? What’s wrong with this picture? Why can’t council keep a good city manager?

The answer may lie in councilmember behavior. As reported in the April 5, 2022, issue of Cupertino Matters, a December 10, 2020 Enterprise Risk Assessment Report by outside consultant Moss Adams identified the ongoing issue of council roles and behavior as a top source of risk to the city. This internal audit was released to the public at the July 21, 2021 council meeting shortly after City Manager Deb Feng abruptly resigned on May 26, 2021.

The second highest risk level was Governance, defined as follows, which has received virtually no attention from the city council:

“Risk Areas: Risks associated with ongoing oversight; ethics and values; control environment; policy management; risk management; accountability; performance management; coordination and communication; and defined roles, responsibilities, and authorities.

“Scope: Governance is a process of overseeing an organization’s management of risk and control processes and is ultimately the responsibility of the City Council. Management is responsible for identifying and managing risks.


“Staff and elected officials report potential role confusion related to directing operational matters. As noted in the Planning and Strategy section, the City does not have a strategic plan and the Council sometimes operates at more of an operational rather than strategic level, focusing on immediate action items and implementation details rather than setting long-term strategic goals. This contributes to a reactive environment where staff priorities can change depending on the Council’s interests.”

Is it simply time for a new city council?

Warm regards,

Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor