Deborah Robertson, Mayor
Term Expires: 2024
Deborah Robertson was first elected as Mayor in 2012 and has been re-elected every four years. She also served as a Council Member from 2000-2012.
On November 3, 2020, the voters of the City of Rialto affirmed their confidence in the leadership of Mayor Deborah Robertson, when she successfully prevailed in her reelection to a third four-year term as the mayor of the city. The general election heralded a historic local governance accomplishment while standing for the most recent achievement in a distinguished public service career that has now included over 22 years on the Rialto City Council; cumulatively, Deborah Robertson has over 45 years of public and governmental career service.
Mayor Robertson’s visionary and distinctive leadership style has thrust the City of Rialto into the national spotlight as a recognized leader in the areas of body worn camera technology, through first ever federally funded pilot project. And, in 2013, forged a “first in the State” concession agreement of the city’s water and wastewater systems into a public-private partnerships; ensuring a long-deferred capital improvement plan (CIP) could move forward with a financing structure and immediate substantial rate increases for four years. The city also explored willing partnerships through industrial environmental sustainability endeavors, “first-in-the-nation” grant-supported partnerships of environmental efficiency projects, as well as a partnership with capturing naturally forming gases and conversion, for redistribution into natural gas grid, generating local revenue outcomes, greater business development, and an opportunity for expansion of a skilled workforce platform.
In 2014, Mayor Robertson was instrumental in heralding the city as the first e3p3 Model city, which received state and federal recognition for area programs and services that address Environmental Sustainability, Economic Development, and Equity supported by Public-Private Partnerships.
In December of 2021, Mayor Deborah Robertson was appointed by the Biden-Harris Administration, to serve on the Environmental Protection Agency Local Government Advisory Committee. The appointment is a “once in a lifetime” personal accomplishment for a first-generation California native, who was born and raised in a life of service to family, church, community, work, municipal, regional, state and federal government! The appointment consists of 34 individuals throughout the United States, addressing environmental matters in four working groups. The groups work in the areas of Healthy Communities, Air and Climate, Water and Environmental Justice. Mayor Robertson was the only appointed elected official from California.
Other ongoing appointments consist of serving as a board member on various boards and committees of regional, and subregional significance including: Water Council Co-Chair for the US Conference of Mayors; Regional Council member, representing Rialto and Fontana, on the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and currently servicing on various policy committees, including Chair, the Energy and Environmental Committee; Member, Executive Advisory Committee, Legislative/Communications & Memberships Committee, and Emerging Technology Committee.
On behalf of San Bernardino County, Mayor Robertson currently serves as the Chair, City Selection Committee, when needed, meeting the local jurisdictional mayors, for choice of termed representation to the local government formation board.
As the appointed member for the city of Rialto, Mayor Robertson represents the city on San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) Board and serves on various committees on behalf of SBCTA including, One Water, One Watershed Committee for the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority; Inland Regional Energy Network; Maloof Foundation and the Housing Trust Ad Hoc Committee.
Under her tenure, Rialto has fortified its economic future at a time when cities in California were experiencing serious financial problems. Economic growth is upwards, the housing market is actively providing new market rate affordable homeownership opportunities, the passage of initiatives such as Measure M, have created an voter approved permanent revenue stream, and Rialto continues to be at the forefront of public-private opportunities, focusing on reduction of our collective carbon footprint while fortifying resiliency and reuse of scarce natural resources; capturing additional revenue opportunities, and/or expenditure neutrality to Rialto’s bottom line!
Mayor Robertson has spoken before congressional committees, served as an advocate for environmental remediation due to environmental contamination, and has received recognition from the County of San Bernardino's Public Health Department as, “A visionary among city leaders in adopting healthy programs”. Additionally, she has received acknowledgement from various groups including, the American Society of Public Administrators, Southern California Chapter’s Justice Earl Warren Outstanding Public Service Award, the Community Icon Award presented by the Black Faculty, Staff, and Student Association at CSU San Bernardino in recognition of commitment and leadership for the Inland Empire region and CSU San Bernardino.
Recently, December 2022, Mayor Robertson became the inaugural recipient of the Dr. Margaret Hill Standing in the Gap for Equity Honoree during the Inaugural California State University of San Bernardino’s Sneakers Ball, sponsored by the University’s Black Faculty, Staff and Pan African Student Body.
Mayor Robertson retired December 2011, from an exciting transportation career with The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), District 7, covering Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, as the Deputy District Director of External Affairs. As a native Californian from San Diego, and a proud Lincoln High School graduate, “Go Fighting Seabee Hornets”, she holds an undergraduate degree in Urban Planning from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), a Masters, Public Administration, from the City University of New York (CUNY), Bernard Baruch College, and a National Urban Fellows (NUF) recipient, ’85-86.
Mayor Deborah Robertson has lived in the city of Rialto, San Bernardino County, since 1988, and refers to Rialto as the “the Jewel of the Inland Empire!”
- San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA)
- CONFIRE - Regional Emergency Communications
- Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG)
- Agua Mansa Executive Committee (AMIGA)
- San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District
- League of California Cities - Voting Delegate
- AB 939 Solid Waste Advisory Task Force (SWAT)
- One Water One Watershed - OWOW Steering Committee
- Lytle Creek Water Conservation District - WVWAD
- West End Water Treatment Joint Powers - WVWD
- PRISM - Finance Committee
- Rialto Basin Groundwater Council
- California Association of Public Cemeteries
- City/Rialto School District Committee
- Burrtec Waste Committee
- Water/Wastewater Service Agreement Oversight Committee
- Economic Development Committee
- CDBG AdHoc Committee
- Pension Advisory Committee
- City Commission Selection Committee
- US Postal Service Committee
- Health/Environmental Health Committee