Neal Andrews elected Ventura mayor

His City Council colleagues voted 7-0 for him to be mayor.

After more than 20 years as an active businessman and community volunteer in Ventura, Neal Andrews was encouraged by many citizens of Ventura to run for City Council. He was elected on his first attempt in 2001.

Now 16-years later he has been selected to be Ventura’s mayor by the City Council.

Before founding Horizon Management Services, Neal worked in a variety of capacities with Blue Cross of California, managing their statewide system of contracting for health services and later heading Behavioral Health Access, the corporate division responsible for mental health services to Blue Cross members. He has also been a hospital administrator, chief executive of a regional joint powers agency, and a university professor.

His professional honors include being twice elected to the International Board of Directors of The Planning Forum, then the leading international professional organization in the discipline of strategic planning and management. In addition, Neal has served on the National Leadership Council for the Institute for Behavioral Health, as a Scholar-Diplomat under the sponsorship of the U. S. State Department, as a Fellow of the National Security Education Seminar and the Inter-University Colloquium on Armed Forces and Society.

He is the author of Foreign Policy and the New American Military and many papers and articles on matters of public policy, business, and health care over the years. He is a popular speaker before regional and national conference audiences including such prestigious organizations as The Conference Board, the California Medical Association, and the National Managed Health Care Congress.

Over the years, Neal has also served as the Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties representative on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Health Care Executives Association, as a Member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the San Buenaventura Foundation for the Arts, and as an officer and board member of the Ventura Chamber of Commerce, among others. He is widely known as an active citizen advocate in water quality and water conservation public policy issues in Ventura.

He is a member of Rotary, Kiwanis, and the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks.

Neal received his baccalaureate degree from Duke University and his graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He later completed additional post-graduate work at the Michigan State University School of Public Administration and the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

He had been the longest-serving council member to never hold the post of mayor. His colleagues voted 7-0 for him to be mayor. In December 2015, Andrews was named deputy mayor when Erik Nasarenko became mayor. He succeeded Nasarenko at the conclusion of his two-year term.

Andrews stated when the council decides on a policy, “I will be the spokesperson for that policy, even if I didn’t agree with it.”

Andrews went on “I’ll be immediately focused on hiring a new city manager (Mark Watkins is retiring this month)and devoting my energy to redistricting.” The city is creating district boundaries for the upcoming election.

When elected little did he know that his first concern would be the devastating fires that have over -whelmed Ventura.

Council member Matt LaVere, who was elected in 2016, became deputy mayor on a 7-0 vote.

Erik Nasarenko’s parents and sister were in attendance at the city council meeting . He thanked the crowd and spoke of accomplishments of which he was particularly proud. Including getting a half-cent sales tax approved and moving the city to even year elections.

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