City hall is getting a little less top-heavy this summer.


At Tuesday's meeting of the Hesperia City Council, the city honored five retirees, two of whom have served local residents even before the city was incorporated in 1988.


Hesperia's deputy director of community development, Tom Harp, city clerk Vicki Soderquist, senior plans examiner John Regner, assistant city clerk Debbie Bean and Flo Collier, the secretary to the city manager, were each honored Tuesday.


"Technically, [City Manager Mike Podegracz] will be the city clerk, and [Assistant City Clerk] Melinda [Sayre-Castro], who works in the office, is staying here. She's been working in the clerk's office two or three years," city spokeswoman Kelly Malloy said Wednesday. As for the city clerk's position, "We're going to hold it empty for a while."


Harp and Regner both have served the city since its incorporation 21 years ago, and worked for the County of San Bernardino prior to that.


"I'll tell you what, we're losing a lot of good people," Councilman Ed Pack said during the meeting, "But we've still got a lot of good people."


The last day for four of the five retirees is June 30, the last day of the current fiscal year. Soderquist will stay on until mid-July, to help ease the transition as the first of the 2010 city council candidates begin pulling the paperwork necessary to run for office, which the city clerk's office oversees.


The senior staffers' departure is a bit of economic relief for the cash-strapped city of Hesperia. Property tax revenue has declined as properties are reassessed downward in value, and the city has been slashing salaries and benefits, including a 5 percent across-the-board cut in wages and salaries earlier this year.


Collectively, the five retirees make approximately $434,000 in annual salary. (The exact compensation packages of employees who make less than $100,000 a year are not released by the city.)


"A lot of these people have been considering retiring for a long time," Malloy said. "It all just fell into place."


"Each retiree has put in many years of dedicated service to the city, involving long hours and heavy workloads," Podegracz said Wednesday via e-mail. "Although they have their own reasons for choosing to retire at this time, their immediate plans to travel, move out of state, and spend more time with their families seems to point to the fact that they are looking forward to this next phase of their lives. They will all be missed."


"'Someday I'll do all this stuff,'" said Councilman Paul Bosacki, "That 'someday' is tomorrow. Good work."


Councilman Mike Leonard, a retired firefighter, had one final piece of advice for the retiring city employees:


"Don't get involved in politics," he said.


The next regular meeting of the Hesperia City Council will take place on July 6 at 6:30 p.m. at Hesperia City Hall, 9700 Seventh Avenue.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star