The Burbank City Council held a reorganization meeting on Monday, Dec. 13, which resulted in the appointment of Jess Talamantes as mayor of the city and Konstantine Anthony as vice mayor.
Assemblymember Laura Friedman attended the virtual meeting via Zoom and presented Councilmember Bob Frutos with a certificate on behalf of the 43rd Assembly District to honor his second term as mayor of Burbank.
“Today is… a very happy occasion where we get to thank our outgoing mayor, Bob Frutos, for his incredible work being a steady hand during a very, very difficult year,” Friedman said. “On behalf of the state legislature, and the people of Burbank, I want to be one of many voices to thank [Frutos].”
As Frutos gave his last speech as mayor, he thanked city staff and fellow councilmembers for their service to the City of Burbank. Furthermore, Frutos stated his satisfaction in being able to unite the community following the hardships faced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It has been my true honor, from the bottom of my heart, to serve as your mayor for the last 12 months,” Frutos said. “As we all know, last year was definitely full of challenges. However, it was an opportunity to focus on providing the basic services for our residents and to work on the economic recovery of…businesses, and most importantly, the future of our city…The most rewarding aspect of serving as mayor during the last year was to bring people together; to reconnect as a community.”
Mayor Jess Talamantes offered a gavel to Frutos, City Manager Justin Hess gifted Frutos a photo memory book with pictures documenting memorable moments from his year as mayor, and a California State Senate Certificate of Recognition was given to Frutos by Arda Tchakian, a representative of State Senator Anthony Portantino’s office. 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger also provided a message thanking Frutos for his commitment to leading the city.
As the topic of voting in a new mayor was addressed, Councilmember Sharon Springer initiated a motion to nominate Talamantes, which was seconded by Frutos. The council then unanimously voted in favor of Talamantes becoming the city’s next mayor. This marks his third term in the role, as he previously served from 2011-2012, and again from 2016-2017.
Talamantes began his mayoral duties by starting a motion to select the city’s next vice mayor. Frutos nominated Councilmember Springer for this position, which would have marked her second term as vice mayor. Springer seconded his nomination as she explained her credentials for the role.
“I do believe that the Burbank community needs the voice of a woman in city hall,” Springer said. “I am experienced, I’ve been tested, and I would appreciate the role again as vice mayor…I am moving the city forward and will continue to do so.”
Councilmember Schultz expressed his agreement with Springer’s proficiency and the need for a woman’s input in city hall, but ultimately opted to nominate Anthony through a substitute motion. He cited tradition of passing on leadership roles to newer members of the council as his motivation in initiating the motion, which Anthony seconded.
“I think that Councilmember Springer is incredibly well-qualified, and it is important to have women leading in our community. We desperately do need more women on the city council,” Schultz said. “With all of that said,…I am a fan of custom and tradition, and I know in studying not only Burbank’s history and tradition as well as that of other communities, and I don’t speak from a position of self-interest, that the next in line by my calculation would be the councilmember senior to me. [That would be] Councilmember Anthony.”
In response to the traditional customs mentioned by Schultz, Frutos named past members of the council, David Gordon and Sharon Spanos, as cases of city council participants who were either never elected as mayor, or waited a number of years until they reached that position. He advocated further for electing Springer to this leadership position of the council.
“There is no tradition. There is no policy,” Frutos said. “It’s what the council feels…We talk about equity, we talk about fairness, we talk about empowering women to be represented as equal. This is the time where the rubber meets the road, and we should really support Sharon Springer.”
After Frutos said his opinion, Talamantes voted in favor of the substitute motion for Anthony becoming vice mayor. Anthony won the position as he received a vote from Schultz, Talamantes, and himself, versus Springer’s two votes; one from Frutos and one from herself.
Frutos welcomed Anthony in his new role after the voting process ended, and Springer declared her commitment to continuing to support the residents of Burbank. Following the vote, Anthony has described his goal of inviting more Burbank community members to become active in the local political process during the approaching year.
“I’m very humbled to be able to serve our community as vice mayor in 2022,” Anthony said. “I hope to use my new position to get more residents involved in local government. Coming out of this pandemic, we have an opportunity to include more voices and a more diverse coalition of stakeholders in the discussion on how we move Burbank forward.”
In a statement, Talamantes thanked his fellow councilmembers for selecting him as Burbank’s next mayor. As someone who attended Burbank schools, raised his family locally and has spent over 45 years working for the city, Talamantes says he is honored to be representing Burbank residents through this position. In 2022, he plans to focus on working with the Burbank business community, local nonprofits, the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, boards and commissions, and city labor groups, as well as continuing to strengthen the safety of the city. All of this is at the forefront while remaining flexible to unpredictable conditions as the pandemic continues to evolve.
“The pandemic has brought challenges and issues never experienced in the modern era…now we have to face the uncertainty of the new omicron variant and the challenges it brings on a daily basis, so as you can imagine, it’s very difficult to plan,” Talamantes said. “A few of my top priorities include the safety and well-being of Burbank residents, businesses and city employees, doing what we can as a city to facilitate the resiliency of our local business community, and collaborating with our chamber of commerce to identify solutions that will promote and increase business in town.”