Bill Overton begins work as new Rancho Santa Fe Association manager


William “Bill” Overton Jr., who has more than 25 years of experience in community management, community development and operations management, took over as manager of the Rancho Santa Fe Association on Jan. 28.

Overton comes to Rancho Santa Fe from Scottsdale, Ariz., where he served as community manager for the Desert Mountain Master and Village Associations, a position he held for 12 1/2 years.

“They’re both very big, very beautiful and very upscale communities,” said Overton, 57, said of Desert Mountain and Rancho Santa Fe, in an interview in his office the day after he started his new job.

Desert Mountain, according to its website, is planned for about 2,400 homes, with some 1,700 homes completed, and nearly 200 more homes either under construction or in design review. The community covers some 8,000 acres.

The Rancho Santa Fe Covenant, by contrast, has 1,900 homes and spans 6,730 acres.

Overton succeeds former RSF Association Manager Pete Smith, who retired last year after 23 years with the organization, 18 as manager. Since Smith’s departure, assistant manager Ivan Holler has served as interim manager. With Overton’s arrival, Holler returns to his former position.

Overton said he was happy working at his job in Desert Mountain, when he was contacted by a recruiter regarding the Rancho Santa Fe job. He came to the Ranch to meet with the Association board, and “everything just naturally fell into place there. It felt like a really good fit.”

One of the things that impressed him, said Overton, was the list of projects that the Association board is working on, such as improved cellular service, expanding broadband service to every lot in the Covenant, and research into the costs and feasibility of a community swimming pool and fitness center.

Another was the board’s emphasis on communication and transparency, which he shares, Overton said.

“The board is committed to open and transparent communication on all issues at all times,” he said.

Among the ways he plans to improve communication with members, he said, are to enhance the Association’s website, and expand its email list to be used for everything from sending out information on upcoming issues to emergency notifications for wildfires and other incidents.

Overton also wants to launch a quarterly newsletter or magazine to keep members informed, similar to a publication he started at Desert Mountain.

Last year, Overton won a “Manager of the Year” award from the Arizona Association of Community Managers.

In a farewell letter to residents of Desert Mountain, he listed as among his proudest accomplishments the construction of a trail system funded almost entirely by owner donations.

In Rancho Santa Fe, Overton will oversee an organization that provides a variety of services, such as a security patrol, maintenance and development of the community’s private system of hiking and equestrian trails, parks and recreation and development review. The Association also owns and manages a golf and tennis club. Although Rancho Santa Fe is officially part of the unincorporated area of San Diego County, and comes under the jurisdiction of the county government, the Association functions much like a local government agency.

Overton’s tenure as manager comes after a tumultuous period in 2014, when Smith left amid criticism from some residents regarding his annual base salary of $247,000, which totaled $271,000 with his annual bonus and taxable benefits, according to Association tax documents. The Board of Directors removed Ann Boon as president of that body, and she was subsequently re-elected to a new three-year term, and also reinstated as board president.

In her column published in today’s Rancho Santa Fe Review, Boon said Overton will receive an annual base salary of $215,000, plus an annual performance bonus of up to 15 percent, if he meets specific performance criteria established by the board. Overton will also receive vacation, health and retirement benefits, according to Boon.

“Ultimately, we structured a package that we believe is fair to our manager and to the community. We established a package that provides strong incentives for performance,” Boon wrote.

Overton, an avid cyclist, said he is looking forward to hitting North County’s scenic roadways. He and his wife, Gabriela, have three children; the youngest is a freshman at Arizona State University.

He encouraged residents to email him at, or call him at 858-756-1174 with questions or concerns.

“I’m here to help,” he said.