• Full name
    Michael Solorza

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  • Please list your University and school/program.
    La Follette School of Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin–Madison
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  • Current Position
    Current Position:
    administrative services director
  • Organization
    city of Westminster, California

  • Bio

    Michael Solorza is good in a crisis — a fiscal crisis, that is.

    As the new administrative services director for the city of Westminster, California, the 1996 alum is figuring out the best way to manage a $3 million gap in the city's $42 million general fund budget.

    "My current focus is on the next fiscal year's budget," Solarza says. "In addition, I am reviewing processes and developing new policies in purchasing, credit card use and reserves."

    Solorza joined the city of Westminster in November 2013 after a year and a half with the city of La Palma, where he was finance director. There he planned and administered a $20 million annual operating and capital budget. He prepared the annual financial report, and managed the annual audit and year-end closing process. He oversaw a staff of three who handled payroll, accounting, purchasing and accounts receivable.
    Solorza's biggest achievement for La Palma was helping the city lower its unfunded liability related to retiree health-care costs. "I worked hard to establish trust with the California Public Employees' Retirement System and develop a plan to pre-fund the trust," Solorza says. "In the end, the city's unfunded liability was immediately reduced by 40 percent and the city was placed on more firm financial footing."

    La Palma faced another fiscal gap when a major retail store and sales tax producer closed, resulting in a 20 percent drop in general fund revenue almost overnight. "While it was not wholly unexpected that this retailer would leave, the timing was pushed up, and I had to quickly manage budget reductions less than a month after the budget was adopted," Solorza says. "I had to help each department develop a budget for the following fiscal year that reduced expenditures while attempting to not hurt services to residents."

    After graduating in 1996 with a master's degree in public policy and administration from the La Follette School at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Solorza returned to California and started his public sector career as an undergraduate advisor at his undergraduate alma mater, the University of California, Irvine. "I learned lots of good things working for UCI for eight years," Solorza says, "but I wanted — and still want — to be a city manager, hence my pursuit of a graduate degree in public affairs."

    Read more at http://www.lafollette.wisc.edu/news/solorza