Changing of the Guards – Herbertson and Schwab Retire After City-Shaping Careers

When a person who has held a position in city government for decades leaves, they leave an imprint. At the City Council meeting of October 25, 2021, both Public Works Director Charles Herbertson and City Attorney Carol Schwab offered their goodbyes, retiring at the same moment. The impressions have been left in very different ways. While Herbertson’s excellent care of the city can be seen in everything from street signs to playground designs, Schwab’s influence has been in the language of ordinances and the advice she has given to dozens of city councils. 

Visible and subtle, both of these ‘city staff’ have been devoted to Culver City for many years, and deserve a round of applause for all their contributions. 

Addressing the meeting via Webex, Herbertson “It’s been my honor to serve as this city’s engineer for 17 years. I enjoyed my association with all the employees, especially Public Works. It’s been a great department of dedicated people, and (my thanks to ) all those other departments who have been so professional; a hard working group of people dedicated to the best interests of Culver City, and all the city councils I have worked with over the years, [who I found to be] dedicated, honest people – it’s been a pleasure to work with the kind of leadership. And to the people of Culver City, I’ve always enjoyed interacting with them. As I ride off into the sunset, it’s been a great 17 years. ” 

City Manager John Nachbar offered his praise for the departing director, saying “Charles is a true renaissance engineer. Not only does he have all the engineering skills, but all the political skills. ” Noting that working well with such a long list of projects and people took diplomacy as well as mechanics, Herbertson was gifted with the City Seal on a commemorative tile. 

City Attorney Carol Schwab was physically present at the meeting, speaking from the podium, about her 34 years of city service. She noted “I have so admired this council, and how you have handled the pandemic especially.” She also thanked Nachbar for his finesse at managing the crisis. 

As a part of her retirement, Schwab gave a short autobiography on growing up in Culver City and returning to work for City Hall She grew up in Carlson Park and graduated from Culver City High School, and returned to Culver City as a Deputy Attorney after marrying and starting a family. “Despite significant job duties, I think Culver City is a model of modern workplace opportunities. As I tell students during career days and interns, I think there’s no better legal job than being a city attorney. Imagine being able to work through issues pertaining to the first amendment, sustainability, land use, and employment, all in one week.”

Comments from the council offered thanks for her service, and best wishes for her future. 

With both Herbertson and Schwab departing, it’s a clearly the end of an era at City Hall. 

Herbertson is being replaced Yanni Demitri, a Fox Hills resident who had formerly worked with the City of West Hollywood, Schwab will be replaced by her Assistant City Attorney, Heather Baker, who was confirmed at the meeting on Monday. 


Judith Martin-Straw




The Actors' Gang

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