It was only six years ago that Mike Podegracz became city manager for the City of Hesperia in August 2005.

If it doesn't seem that it's been that long, you're not alone in feeling that way.

"Personally, six years?" Podegracz said in his office overlooking Civic Plaza Park. "No, it's gone by amazingly fast."

Those six quick years under his belt make him the third-longest-serving city manager in San Bernardino County, trailing Ken Hunt of Fontana and Jim Hart of Adelanto.

"People compare it a lot to a baseball manager, in terms of tenure."

Podegracz is also Hesperia's longest-serving manager. He's the sixth in the city's 23-year history, following Robert Rizzo, D.J. Collins, David Burger, Stephen West and Robb Quincy.

"I'm the first to make it to five years," Podegracz said.

There are two main reasons so many of his colleagues have moved on in less than six years, Podegracz said.

"For many smaller cities," the city manager's job "is a stepping stone" to jobs at bigger cities.

And, appropriately for the baseball manager analogy, not all city managers move on by choice.

"There's not many professions where you get new bosses every two years," when part of the city council is up for grabs at election time. "If you want to change direction," firing the city manager "is an easy thing to do. ... The city manager has to fit with the city council."

For his part, Podegracz isn't looking to move on any time soon.

"I made it clear to the council that this was not a stepping stone," he said. His family has lived in the area since 1983. "This is where I want to stay. ... I want to retire here."

Podegracz says he believes he has a good relationship with his current bosses, the five-member Hesperia City Council.

"There's has been respect among the council members themselves, myself and my staff. We won't agree on everything, but there is that fundamental level of respect," he said. "As long as I've been here, I think we've been a very stable city because of that."

Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at Follow us on Facebook at