The San Diego LAFCO staff consists of professional support and technical personnel, who are independent of county government. The Executive Officer is directly appointed by the Commission. Since the San Diego LAFCO was created in 1963, the following Executive Officers have been appointed by the Commission:
- 1963-1970: Robert Small
- 1971-1976: S.M. "Skip" Schmidt
- 1977-1979: Mike Gotch
- 1980-1984: William Davis
- 1984-1992: Jane Merrill
- 1992-August 2017: Michael Ott
- September 2017-present: Keene Simonds
All team members can be reached by calling (858) 614-7755.
Keene Simonds serves as Executive Officer for San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO); a regional planning subdivision of the State of California responsible for overseeing the establishment, expansion, consolidation, and – if merited – dissolution of local government agencies. Central duties involve managing the day-to-day regulatory and planning activities of San Diego LAFCO and current oversight therein of 108 cities, towns, and districts in San Diego County. Keene previously served as Executive Officer in Marin and Napa Counties and holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Pepperdine University (political science) and University of Southern California (public administration), respectively. Keene also serves as a board member for the California Urban Forest Council and resides in Escondido with his wife Candice and three boys – Avery, Andrew, and Alexander.
Holly O. Whatley serves as Commission Counsel and is a shareholder with the law firm Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley in Pasadena. Holly has served as Commission Counsel since September 2017 and is responsible for all aspects of legal review. Holly separately serves as Assistant City Attorney for the Cities of South Pasadena, Ojai, and Sierra Madre. Holly is a native of Texas and received both her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.
The Assistant Executive Officer position is currently vacant. There is no timetable for a recruitment at this time.
Robert Barry has served as a Local Government Analyst for the San Diego LAFCO since 2003 and has managed hundreds of city and special district annexations, reorganizations, municipal service reviews and sphere of influence updates. Robert received the 2015 CALAFCO Project of the Year award as primary author of the San Diego County Health Care Services Municipal Service Review and Health Care District Sphere of Influence Review. Robert joined the San Diego LAFCO staff from the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) where he assisted in the development of the first Regional Comprehensive Plan for the San Diego Region. Robert holds a Master of City Planning (MCP) from San Diego State University and is professionally certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Robert lives in the North Park neighborhood of the City of San Diego with his wife and two daughters, and enjoys live music, reading, local craft beer, and playing the drums.
Linda Heckenkamp serves as a Local Government Analyst. She has an undergraduate degree in Public Administration/ Policy from Florida International University, and a masters degree in Landscape Architecture with a focus in Urban Design from Washington University in St. Louis. Linda is a two-time AmeriCorps alumna having served for AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps in Sacramento, CA and Rebuilding Together Metro Chicago. Her desire to enhance both people and the built environment has led to a unique and exciting journey to acquire a number of different skillsets. In her spare time, Linda enjoys hiking with her husband and two rescue pup siblings, Nora and Boo.
Dieu Ngu has been with LAFCO over 10 years, providing Geographic Information Systems (GIS), IT, and website support. Having grown up in the East Coast, Dieu graduated from the University of Virginia and later earned a Master of Science in GIS from the University of Redlands. He enjoys the many great beaches and parks in San Diego, and can be often found playing beach volleyball on the weekends.
Tamaron Luckett currently serves as Commission Clerk and is responsible for overseeing all LAFCO records as well as clerking Commission meetings. Tamaron joined San Diego LAFCO in February 2004 and previously served LAFCO as a Senior Executive Assistant. Prior to joining LAFCO, Tamaron worked for The County of San Diego-Department of Public Works Engineer and Transportation Division. Tamaron attended school in Michigan and enjoys family, traveling and her charitable organizations.
Ruth Arellano currently serves as Executive Assistant with San Diego LAFCO. Ruth directly supports the Executive Officer and is responsible for overseeing LAFCO’s accounting procedures as well as coordinating personnel activities – including recruitments, benefits, and ongoing training – with the County of San Diego. Ruth joined San Diego LAFCO in May 2009 and previously worked for the County of San Diego Assessor's Office and the Department of Human Resources. Ruth is a native San Diegan and enjoys the beach and gardening.
Erica Blom currently serves as an Administrative Assistant with San Diego LAFCO and is responsible for overseeing general office management as well as front-line communications. Erica also directly assists the Commission Clerk in producing and distributing the monthly Commission meeting agenda packets. Erica joined San Diego LAFCO in June 2015 and previously worked for SeaWorld San Diego. Erica is from the Central Valley and moved to San Diego in June 2006. She loves cats, traveling, watching movies and enjoys hanging out with her friends and family.
During Ed Sprague’s thirty year fire service career he has held multiple positions: Firefighter, Engineer, Captain, Battalion Chief, Fire Marshal, and most recently as Deputy Fire Chief in charge of Administrative Services including Human Resources and Finance. Ed currently is a professor of emergency management and fire technology at Palomar College, serves on the Board of Directors for the Olivenhain Municipal Water District since 2008, and was a Commissioner with SDLAFCO from 2015 - 2019. Ed is a lifetime resident of northern San Diego County with three grown children and, since 1999, resides in Carlsbad with his wife. Mr. Sprague holds bachelors and master’s degree in public administration from San Diego State University. He enjoys all water sports and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.