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Public input needed in search for new city manager

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Photo: FLLewis / Media City G -- Interim City Manager Ron Davis at Burbank City Council meeting February 23, 2016

Photo: FLLewis / Media City G — Interim City Manager Ron Davis at Burbank City Council meeting February 23, 2016

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.

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6 Responses to Public input needed in search for new city manager

  1. toni Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

    Well said, Fronnie. I remember having my water and power cut off as I was late with a bill. No phone call, nothing. Just someone turned up when I was at work and when we came home, the kitchen was flooded due to the freezer defrosting. A resident for 20 years and one time I was late, they did this to us.

  2. Al in SoCal Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 2:46 pm #

    Sorry – I posted this comment on the older story re: Davis’ swimming pool. I’ve since looked it up and the vote to make Davis interim manager was unanimous by the City Council.

    Since Dr. Gordon has raised issues over & over again with him running BWP I wonder what his justification was for providing his vote on this and on many others his de facto supporters are dismayed about: the airport, etc etc.

    While I disagree with him most of the time, it would seem to me he’s committing political suicide by changing “sides” – but arguably none of his supporters seem to be taking notice or care about the sudden rash of 5/0 votes.

  3. Fronnie Lewis Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 4:34 pm #

    Toni,

    It is my understanding that the BWP is supposed to send out a written notice or two before SHUTTING off someone’s utilities. Your case sounds like you were treated unfairly.

    Also, I’m reminded of last July when hundreds if not thousands of letters were sent out by BWP to users accusing them of being water wasters. However, many people who were complying with city water rules got one of these letters. Among them, Mayor Frutos and Vice-Mayor Talamantes. Here’s the link to the story http://www.mediacitygroove.com/news-general-info/city-buzz-burbank-water-and-power-letter-snafu

    It’s interesting how Davis supporters, including city council members, keep praising him for doing such a terrific job of running BWP.

  4. Fronnie Lewis Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 5:09 pm #

    Al,

    You have good points. That 5-to-zip vote in support of Ron Davis becoming interim city manager bother me, too. I’m hearing that one of the reasons for giving Davis the temporary position is because he’s managed to weasel his way into becoming the highest paid employee, second only to the city manager, in Burbank.

    Dr. Gordon as well as Bob Frutos and Jess Talamantes are up for re-election next year. So during the upcoming campaign, if they decide to run again, they will have to answer some hard questions from the voters about a number of controversial issues like the airport, Talaria ..etc

  5. Al in SoCal Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

    Really interesting, I’m guessing the 1 who will not run will be Talamantes, but that’s just a guess. The other 2 .. my bet is in 100%.

    Thanks for the info on who was up for election – I was searching for that and couldn’t find it, though I’m sure it’s somewhere online.

  6. Fronnie Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 3:54 pm #

    Hey Al,

    Yes the information about when council members’ terms expire is online. Go to the City of Burbank website; click the “about us” drop down window, then select from the second drop down window the council member you want information on. That should work.

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