There are some indisputable truths in the City Hall drama between the Burbank City Council and City Manager, Mark Scott. The city council hired Scott. They are his bosses. They’ve stood up for Scott from the very beginning. In the face of angry public criticism over Scott’s huge salary and benefit package of around $300,000, each council member publicly declared their support for the new city manager back in the summer of 2013. All five staked their reputations on Scott. The council members at the time, Gary Bric, Bob Frutos, Jess Talamantes, Dr. David Gordon, and Emily Gabel-Luddy, who was mayor.
Now, a little over two years after taking over the position as city manager on August 1, 2013, Scott is waltzing out the door. He sent out an email last Tuesday to some city officials and has talked freely with the Burbank Leader and MyBurbank about his departure. Finally, after some prodding, he sent an email last Friday morning to the city council members about his surprise decision to quit his job.
From: “Scott, Mark” <MScott@burbankca.gov>
Date: 11/20/2015 12:28 AM (GMT-08:00)
To: City Council <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: “Albano, Amy” <email@example.com>
Dear City Councilmembers,
I am being asked for copies of my formal retirement notification which, as you know, I had not yet provided. I am seeking a good date from CalPERS. Perhaps in February.
I want to thank you all for the opportunity to serve as City Manager in this truly great community. It has been my privilege to work with such a dedicated, hard-working City Council and monumentally talented Executive Team. The entire City team inspires me every day. I am sad to leave, but it is time. Living in Burbank is a complete joy and we will be happy to live here as long as possible.
I pledge to you my best effort until my final day, and please know I will offer any other help I can give to you in the future. Even the closest families experience occasional squabbles and we have had a few. But regardless, it is my honor to have worked for this community and all of you will continue to have a place in my heart.
Speaking of heart, special thanks to my extraordinary CMO team — Sharon, Joyce, Justin, Lyndsey, Sandy, Jackson, Bob, Ellie and Drew. Best support any city manager ever got.
As Ellen would say, be kind to each other. I hope you each find a way to earn and grant unconditional positive regard, and do your best to restore dignity to our sometimes dysfunctional community dialogue. There are tough decisions in this city’s future. I know you all want the best for Burbank. Thank you for stepping up to lead.
By his recent comments and actions, you can get the impression Scott considered his position autonomous and felt he could do as he pleased in City Hall personnel matters without interference from his bosses — the voter-elected members of the city council. In Scott’s contract it says: “The City Council sets policy for the governance and administration of the City, and it implements its policies through the City Manager.” That makes it clear the city manager takes direction from the city council. Now, it’s up to the council members to make sure the next city manager understands that fully, BEFORE taking the job.