Burbank is looking for a new city manager. Burbank Water and Power head honcho, Ron Davis, is holding down the position for the interim. Davis has expressed interest in the job permanently, according to a report in the Burbank Leader last month. It should not be a done deal. At least outwardly, city officials are going through the motions of mounting a serious search for a city manager and are asking for public input. Citizens concerned about the quality of life in Burbank should not ignore their request.
Davis has been the General Manager of BWP since 1998. He has received praise and support from some for his leadership at the utility and for his ability to crunch the numbers. However, Burbank is about more than figures and percentages in a budget. The city’s most valuable asset are its residents. However, Davis has yet to demonstrate an understanding of that fact. In 2010, he orchestrated an infamous masterstroke by convincing the city council of the fiscal need to hike utility rates, then returned a month later and successfully got approval for big raises for himself and his inner circle. It happened during a time when many residents were struggling to recover from a brutal recession.
The city manager should be someone with compassion and sensitivity to the welfare of residents. Someone who truly understands that the city is not some independent corporation, but a community where the residents foot the bill for city services as well as employee salaries. The residents are the REAL bosses and deserve respect and accountability.
Tomorrow, a community meeting will be held “for residents to share what attributes they’d like to see in the person selected to fill the city’s top executive position,” according to a City Hall news release. The meeting will be conducted by executive search firm Avery and Associates, which has been hired by the city to find qualified applicants.
The meeting will be in Room 104 in the Community Services Building at 150 N. Third Street in Downtown Burbank. If you cannot attend the meeting, you can give your input by calling (818) 238-5840.