Mary Montgomery just missed out on her first try at overseeing the La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District. But she persevered.
That has paid off as she was recently selected to replace retired engineer John Unbewust as district manager for the MAD and Enhance La Jolla, a nonprofit dedicated to maintaining and improving the Village of La Jolla and its quality of life.
“It’s even a bigger challenge than I thought it was going to be,” said Montgomery, noting she’ll be building on the foundation laid by her predecessor. “He (Unbewust) lined up all the current vendors. It was a wonderful thing.”
Montgomery got a vote of confidence from Ed Witt, Enhance La Jolla board chair.
“We are thrilled to have Mary on board,” said Witt. “She was a finalist three years ago when we were selecting the manager for La Jolla MAD, and when the opening occurred we contacted her. After we reviewed applicants for the job, Mary came up on top.”
Added Witt: “She's a hard worker who's focused and determined to make a difference in the district. She lives in the Village and walks it every day so she's really tuned in. From day one she's been on the job and making a positive contribution to our mission.”
A native San Diegan, Montgomery has served in senior communications and government relations positions for the largest private and public sector employers in San Diego, including General
Dynamics NASSCO, the San Diego County Employees Retirement Association, and the Santa Fe Irrigation District. A graduate of Point Loma High School and San Diego State University, she holds a B.A. in journalism and is a licensed Realtor.
Discussing her new role, Montgomery said, “I’m hopeful, with our core infrastructure, that we’ll be able to focus more on long-term capital improvement projects, such as a pilot program we’re kicking refurbishing weathered wooden benches.”
Montgomery added bench refurbishment will include unbolting and removing them to a painting workshop where they will be sanded down and refinished. “Some of them are memorial benches that have a placard, and we are very cognizant we will be maintaining the legacy of these folks,” she said. “The stories behind these benches are quite phenomenal when you dig a little deeper.”
Asked how COVID is impacting the MAD, Montgomery said, “This situation has really had a surprising silver lining in that if has made people more aware of sanitation, cleanliness and upkeep.”
Montgomery pointed out two of the La Jolla MAD’s regular core services involve power washing of streets and sidewalks and enhanced litter abatement. She added general Village upkeep is a tougher chore now with people, and their children, at home more during the pandemic.
“With kids out of school, more summer visitors and take-out from restaurants, that brings more litter problems with restaurant containers getting discarded,” Montgomery said. “We’ve had our work crews diligently making sure the Village is as spiffy as possible, which sometimes is very difficult at the end of weekends.”
La Jolla MAD is also working closely with La Jolla Village Merchants Association to facilitate outdoor dining aiding restaurants.
Directing a MAD has both administrative and tactical components that keep Montgomery busy scheduling shifts for power-washing crews while avoiding “pestering our neighbors.” And then there’s maintaining all the trees, shrubs and landscaping, as well as all the hanging flower baskets while coping with seagulls who can be devastating on trash pickup.
Montgomery welcomes residents’ comments and concerns.
“We can all work together,” she concluded. “It’s a tremendous value to have multiple sets of eyes on the community.”
Montgomery can be reached at Manager@enhancelajolla.org.