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Burbank City Council begins new year with more controversy

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Photo:Councilman Dave Golonski from Burbank City website.

I was at last Tuesday’s Burbank City Council meeting and it was truly a disappointment. A couple of actions by  the council are still bugging me. Yeah, there’s some other stuff that I thought was kind of whacked as well, but two decisions at the January 5 meeting stick out the most and are of great concern. I can’t help wondered about the ramifications of those decisions.

First, Councilman Dave Golonski’s attack on two members of the  Burbank Civil Service Board is really disturbing. Golonski targeted Nathan Schlossman and Ex-Burbank Mayor Mary Lou Howard for removal from the board for making what he considered inappropriate comments, while rejecting the temporary appointment to Police Captain of Lieutenant Armen Dermenjian. Hmm, is this a case of the pot calling the kettle black? How many times, have members of this city council, Golonski included, made inappropriate remarks during council meetings in the past year? Has anybody been keeping a count?

During pubic comments, Civil Service Commissioner, Ted Milner, bravely stood before the council and defended the remarks made by his two fellow board members as “courageous” and “honest.”  Very gutsy of Milner to speak up for Howard and Schlossman and risk the wrath of Golonski. But speak up he did.  And I agree with him.

If Howard and Schlossman went too far in scrutinizing Dermenjian’s appointment, from what I’ve read of their comments in the transcripts, it was with good reason. Dermenjian’s name has been mentioned in that ongoing FBI probe of the Burbank PD. We don’t know if he’s considered a witness or something more. The FBI is not giving out details.  

Also, then Police Chief, Tim Stehr, pushed hard for Dermenjian’s appointment, despite being on shaky ground himself. In the wake of all those lawsuits, investigations, low morale in the BPD, and the suicide of Sergeant Neil Thomas Gunn, Stehr decided to retire last November. I think Schlossman and Howard were looking out for the best interest of the city and its citizens when they questioned Dermenjian’s promotion.

Even though the Civil Service Board blocked Dermenjian’s appointment to acting police captain twice, city officials managed to find a way to circumvent the board. Dermenjian got that promotion. Still last Tuesday, the city council voted 3-to-2 ( Dr. David Gordon and Mayor Gary Bric were the “no” votes) to censure or publicly reprimand the two civil service commissioners for their inappropriate comments. I disagree with the decision and consider it, ah, well, inappropriate for the alleged offense.


Photo: Burbank City Attorney Dennis Barlow by FLewis/A Writer’s Groove

Also, I had some difficulty understanding how the city council could quickly vote to hand over $1.2 million of city funds to pay some new high-priced lawyers. A million of that is being set aside for attorneys Merrick Bobb of Police Assessment Resource Center and Debra Wong Yang of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.  Ironically these lawyers already have been hired. Last Tuesday’s vote apparently was just a formality.

I thought it was interesting when Councilman Gordon questioned Barlow about whether he’d asked for a price break on the steep legal fees. Barlow answered  “no”  because he didn’t want to “nickle and dime” the big time lawyers. I don’t think we’re talking about chump change here. This is serious money!

I’m not sure what kind of advice on improving the BPD these lawyers can give before the results of the investigations are known. So why start hiring expensive lawyers now?  Some believe the real reason these lawyers are being brought on board is to defend the actions of some of THOSE folks who had a hand in causing many of the problems and legal challenges now facing the city and the police department. 

Again, I’m disappointed in the city council. I don’t think these two decisions were in the best interest of the city and its citizens.  Not a good beginning for 2010.

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19 Responses to Burbank City Council begins new year with more controversy

  1. Stretch Monday, January 11, 2010 at 4:48 pm #

    Fronnie it is good to see you post a long awaited entry about Burbank’s real looming problem that just keeps growing. After all, your blog was the first blog I have ever read and commented to. Happy New Year!

    As one would expect, you are right on with your opinions about Golonski and friends. Unfortunately, things are only going to get worse for the city and the taxpayer. The rumor is several firings are coming and I will bet none of them are going to be from the “Boys of Burbank” side of the department. This means more lawsuits and more dirt.

    The Police Department will never heal until they accept that the real problem is not a “few bad apples” who went nuts at a Bakery. It is about leadership and policy makers who were in charge and condoned this type of policework and racism. All the way to the councilman Golonski, who in my opinion has played a major role in the cover up of the real issues. Just look at what he does to people who act on their beliefs.

    Needless to say, break out the check book, becasue a million (plus what has already been spent) is not going to even put a dent in the recovery process. Money is easy to spend when it comes out of others pockets.

  2. Fronnie Monday, January 11, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

    Hey Stretch,

    Happy New Year to you as well. Glad you related to my post and you are so right about things getting worse before they get better in Burbank. That’s really hard to accept, because the taxpayers in Burbank deserve better than what they are getting from City Hall.

  3. Ernie Monday, January 11, 2010 at 9:25 pm #

    I think that at this point most people around town are feeling that the council is faster to hire attorneys to protect themselves then they addressing serious problems. Makes me wonder just who on the council has been involved in the problems from the ground floor up. More and more it looks to me like some councilmembers gave orders and employees followed those orders when they shouldn’t have.

  4. Manny Ramirez Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 1:24 am #

    Guess WHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! Well, well, well. Nice to be back in the States. I can see that Stretch hasn’t changed a darn bit. He is still under the influence of the kool aide. I love the fact that he supports his friends who are the real criminals.
    You have to be a kook not to think that the porto’s incident was not a problem. Continue swagging your kool aide about the racism issue too. I would love to wager that NOT a dime will not be paid out to any of the plaintiffs in the discrimination suit.

    Happy New Year to all my friends on this blog site.

  5. Fronnie Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 1:35 am #

    Manny, Manny,

    I see you have return in the same mind set as before. Happy New Year to you,too!!!

  6. DixieFlyer Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 5:09 am #

    Maybe Tuesday Golonski, Barlow, Tellemontes and Reincke can explain why the race to offer $1MILLION for advice the City of Inglewood received for ZERO.

    The Justice Department recommendations, all 33 pages, are under review by many PD’s we are told–even our BPOA, at last report.

    How much will it cost us for the attorney and her assistant to read it?

  7. rcb Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 2:28 pm #

    It is nice to know that in this great economy some lawyers are getting a great salary. I wonder if people sleeping in their cars feel comfort knowing a few lawyers are doing just great these days.

    The best part if that million bucks is no one gets to know what they do to earn it. What a sweet deal that one is.

  8. Manny Ramirez Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 11:48 pm #

    Can any of you do something about the idiotic speakers at City Council.
    I name a few, Ron Picard, Ed Guerrero, Ester Espinoza, and David Peroli. I would usually include Mike Nolan but not tonight. The other speakers are a joke and an embarrassment to themselves. Maybe some of you can give these speakers a hint.

  9. Duck Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

    Manny your asking the wrong question. If the speakers sound idiotic the councilmembers and that mayor are even worse. Think about what you just said and then think about just how the speakers sound more intelligent then those council members do. LMAO I saw the council’s meeting and sorry guy it’s the councilmembers who sound idiotic in their comments all the time. Maybe the mayor was serious that he needs to hang out at a dog park.

  10. Outflank Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    Stretch – right on! I just posted that on semi’s. They talk about $1m, without regard. NO consideration for the citizens or BPD.

    Paying out is helping us solve what? Also, if you are paying top notch firms big dollars, than they do concede in their own miserable way that we actually do have a problem(s)!

    Some people keep talking about the bakery and as I have said time and time again! this is only a small portion of it “it’s the straw that broke the camels back or the drop that made the cup runneth over”. They need to re-group the entire mentality of the selective few. Interesting to see how many of the special club will be terminated, as has been the rumors, BUT !! rest assure that this is only the beginning and much more to follow. We are nowhere near a 1/4 of the furlong in this race.

  11. the Dragon Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 5:03 pm #

    Come on what they are spending is the next ten years rases for the bpoa members. Does anyone really think they won’t tell the bpoa for the next ten years we spent all the money so raises for you ? Just one more example of how they punish everyone to cover for themselves and what do they care the attorneys make how much an hour again ?

  12. the Dragon Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

    I am pondering whether or not a doggy park is the answer to all the turmoil in Burbank. Our City Council really gives us such substantive issues to ponder doesn’t it ?

  13. DixieFlyer Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 5:46 am #

    If that was the plan, Nolan put them on the spot Tuesday nite. The public needs to be reminded that BPOA has NOT been seeking ca$h benefits recently, and unlike other PD’s that called for votes of NO CONFIDENCE–weren’t arguing for $$, but for some new leadership.
    Mike said, basically if you found $1Million to transfer for lawyers, put some money on the table for the men & women of BPD.

  14. Fronnie Lewis Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 4:51 pm #


    I agree with Mike Nolan. If Burbank City officials can shell out $1 million to some lawyers for dubious reasons — they should be able to come up with mo’ money for the men and wome of the BPD who are out there on the streets protecting the citizens of this city.

  15. Steve Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 4:57 pm #

    Yes more money for cops and less money for lawyers. Has the city even looked at what it might cost to settle these cases ? Isn’t it possible to spend millions and then lose and have to pay for the claims ?

  16. John Brady Friday, January 15, 2010 at 1:53 am #

    Happy New Year to Stretch and Manny. I was worried about you both. Its great to see your posts back.

  17. Manny Ramirez Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 2:04 am #

    Hi Mr. Brady, it was great seeing you talk at the council meeting. I was out of the country on business. Unfortunately, there was no internet access.

    Hopefully, Burbank will be back to normal soon. I am sure the FBI, Sheriff’s Dept, and/or the police department investigation should be coming to a close. Then they will get rid of who deserves to be let go. If not, then lets move on.

    Happy New Year, Mr Brady.

  18. Asa Bloemer Saturday, April 3, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

    I’m going to bookmark this blogg on Identica to get more views for you.

  19. Gayle Wark Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 1:24 am #

    Fantastic. It’s the same here in Washington. Can be extremely frustrating, but that’s life in our world.

Comments are closed.