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Beverly Hills city manager to retire

April 22, 2009 |  5:38 pm

Roderick J. Wood, city manager of Beverly Hills for the last five years, said today that he will retire effective Aug. 9. Wood, chairman of the California Chapter of the International City Managers Assn., said he had long planned to retire when he hit 60, a milestone he passed a few months ago.

Wood has made no secret of the fact that he has a congenital heart problem, which he said was a catalyst for his decision. "I have to keep a close eye on it, and a little less stress might help," he said. He and his wife, Gina, plan to move to La Quinta, leading him to quip: "I'll be moving from the hot seat to the hot desert."

During his tenure, the city engaged in bruising battles with some of its citizens over development. Among the projects that residents challenged were the Montage luxury hotel, which opened recently, and the Beverly Hilton's expansion plan. That project was narrowly approved by voters.

One of his biggest challenges, Wood said, was keeping the Beverly Hills brand vibrant and healthy. "We used to be an exclusive retailer, with stores on Rodeo Drive that didn't exist anywhere else," he said. "That's not the case anymore."

--Martha Groves