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City Buzz — Mark Scott, emails, and the city council

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Outgoing City Manager, Mark Scott, has B-town buzzing for a number of reasons. First of course, his ultimatum to city council members to approve a reclassification/promotion for an employee under the threat that he would resign if they refused to capitulate. Three council members faced down that threat and voted against the change. At that infamous November 16 city council meeting Mayor Bob Frutos, gave the city manager the opportunity to withdraw his threat or change his position. Scott refused the offer. Since then, Scott has been actively presenting his side of the situation in the media and in emails to staff and the city council. It’s a couple of the recent emails to the city council, sent by Scott, that are causing some chatter.

Last Friday, Scott sent council members an email with the subject line “retirement.” It was professional and gracious with many “thank yous” to the council, staff, and the community. However, there’s chatter now about another email about his departure that Scott sent to the city council in the middle of last week. Reliable sources say it was not so gracious. So far, no one has volunteered to send me a copy of that previous email.

Photo: FLLewis / Media City G -- Burbank City Manager threatens to resign over failed vote at city council meeting November 16, 2015

Photo: FLLewis / Media City G — Burbank City Manager threatens to resign over failed vote at city council meeting November 16, 2015

Even though he’s talking retirement, the word is Scott is already out there looking for another job. I know the holidays are upon us, but the city council needs to get on with the process of finding a replacement.

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5 Responses to City Buzz — Mark Scott, emails, and the city council

  1. Tony Noakes Thursday, November 26, 2015 at 10:33 am #

    WHY I’M GLAD TO SEE SCOTT GO!

    Some people have wondered if bad mouthing lame duck City Attorney Mark Scott is slander. Well, Scott is a public figure working for a municipality, making slander a high mark to prove. Not to mention, the onus of proof is on the person being slandered. They have to prove that they’ve been damaged….not an easy task esp. when you’re a civil servant in the public eye.

    Fronnie, from Media City Groove described his actions as “Blackmail”, but as a descriptive word only for an interaction he had with others, not in the literal sense of a crime. No where near slander.

    And, for me and many I know, Scott gets the bad wrap because of, well, SCOTT!

    I know Scott, I have dealt with him numerous times. I don’t care for him, I don’t trust him …I’ve told him so. He earned those remarks based on his actions and lack thereof. I personally witnessed multiple times where his arrogance and unwillingness to let the public participate polarized him from many concerned citizens.

    I felt his tenure was winding down when he ponied up $4500 dollars of his own money to throw into the city kitty, back in May. I thought at the time that it was a mere tactical move on his part to show good faith to salvage is well-earned bad reputation.

    But, IMHO, it was too little too late on his part. And, I believe he sealed his fate back late last year, when he nudged Council to accept the Cusumano’s offer of 1.2 million for the 3 land parcels they needed to complete the Talaria deal.

    See, the high appraisal was 3.7 million. And the appraiser made it CRYSTAL CLEAR NUMEROUS TIMES, in the appraisal, that the higher price (3.7 mil) was the fair and standard protocol on deals that involved land parcels being sold as a UNIT (not separately at separate times) for an overall development, as was the case for Talaria.

    BUT GUESS WHAT? Council never saw the appraisal prior to their vote. They were simply relying on the input from Staff. Input, I believe, in my heart, was censored and tailored to ensure a reduced sale price to the Cusumano’s….information that most certainly NEVER MENTIONED the appraiser’s reasoning for a 3.7 million dollar price tag.

    HOW DO I KNOW WHAT’S STATED IN THE APPRAISAL? I have a copy. It took me SIX EMAILS to Scott before he finally allowed me to get one. Unfortunately, the vote had already happened…gee, timing is everything, eh!

    Now, knowing what I just stated, watch this clip from the Council vote night for the land parcel sale. You will see and hear Scott rambling about selling parcels separately and at different times and why the higher price is a bad precedent, blah, blah, blah…all gibberish as to why the price should be discounted.

    If you’re like me, you’ll be sadden knowing how our City Manager played all of us, that night, to the tune of costing the city 2.5 million dollars. (3.7 – 1.2 = 2.5 million) Golly, that would have gotten us a lot of mileage in city expenditures and for non-profits.

    BTW, then Mayor Gordon was onto to the hustle simply by using his shear logical business sense, he just couldn’t get the others to come on board.

    So, Scott’s little $4500.00 pittance from a $300,000.00 dollar salary means nothing to me….and when combined with other incidences, hence, my ‘tude toward him.

    Mark Scott City Manager Burbank City Council 10 14 2014 Talaria Property Sale

  2. Fronnie Friday, November 27, 2015 at 1:25 am #

    Tony,

    First, let’s be clear on the facts. The term blackmail means to exert pressure on someone through threats. In my post titled Burbank City Council to hold special meeting on city manager issue I wrote, “On the subject of Scott’s attempt to apparently blackmail the council into approving a job reclassification/promotion for a public works employee…”

    Note the words “attempt to apparently” that preceded the term blackmail. The use of the the word blackmail in this context is not unusual. Example, back in 2013, it was used to described Wal-Mart’s attempt to force the Washington DC City Council to vote down a minimum wage proposal– with threats of stopping the construction of several of its retail stores in the area. The DC City Council passed the wage bill anyway and later, Wal-Mart withdrew those threats. Scott never withdrew his threat to resign — instead he’s skillful changed the description of his exit to retirement.

    Also, by the way, slander means a false statement against someone — there is nothing false about what I wrote — one only has to look at the video of the November 16, 2015 city council meeting to see the proof of what occurred. Scott is not being bad-mouthed here. I am just describing and reporting the facts — which I have the right to do.

    Those who want to defend Scott and his actions can go right ahead. They have that right as well.

  3. Jim Lane Sunday, November 29, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

    Seeing that clip of Scott speak with Joy Forbes behind him reminds me of the community meeting held a few weeks earlier hosted by Scott and Forbes. This was an opportunity for the community to find out more information on EIR and the Talaria Project. I distinctly remember community members being chastised by both Scott and Forbes for asking tough questions. (Some comments were not picked up by the microphone. I’m Tony remembers that.) I’m struck by the fact that both Scott and Forbes will soon no longer be employed by Burbank. Forbes has left for a position at Universal and Scott is apparently looking for work elsewhere. This is why people get angry and cynical about Burbank leadership. The Talaria deal will have long lasting, negative effects on our community and neither Scott nor Forbes will be around to be held accountable.

    Here’s the infamous meeting where Tony was a stand out.

  4. Will Rogers Sunday, November 29, 2015 at 4:26 pm #

    I believed I was referred to this article by Fronnie to find some information I’m not finding here, and so I’ll have to look at another piece or two to find what she referenced. But while I here I couldn’t help but notice references to an “ultimatum” or “blackmail” being issued to council members who were being asked to vote on the matter at hand.

    To my knowledge, no such ultimatum was shared, referenced, threatened or even alluded to at any time among 4 of the 5 council members. I only know that, during a brief, impromptu break after a vote had taken place, the City Manager went to the dais and addressed the Mayor directly. (It’s not uncommon for various staff to chat privately with the Mayor repeatedly throughout meetings, often to rearrange scripts prepared for him, or to explain the need for a change in order, and for similar “housekeeping” matters.)

    When the break was over, and AFTER a re-vote had taken place, the Mayor announced that, during the then-recent break, the City Manager had approached him and promised he’d be leaving his position if the proposal failed to pass. Obviously, the matter did not pass.

    I’ve heard and read of no claims that this or any other ultimatum was shared by the City Manager at any time with any member of the council other than the Mayor. For that reason, statements including language such as “…he would resign if they refused to capitulate…” are, at best, inaccurate. “Most of “they” were wholly uninvolved.

    I don’t know what the Mayor may have told other council members in the moments between the City Manager leaving the dais and the second vote that night on the same matter, but I do know that I was completely unaware of any discussion – heated or otherwise – because I was occupied reviewing notes about the agenda item to follow. And, of course, at no other time under any circumstances had the City Manager informed me that his continued tenure would rely on the vote result.

  5. Jim Lane Monday, November 30, 2015 at 7:39 am #

    Since Mr. Rogers has weighed in on another matter, it’s appropriate to point out that in the same video I posted, Mr. Rogers stated that he was all for the Talaria project as long as the traffic and parking problems were taken care of. I’m paraphrasing his public comment. His actual quote is somewhere in the video.

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