Tag Archives: City Manager

Justin Hess Named City Manager by Burbank City Council

Justin Hess. ( Photo by Ross A Benson)

Justin Hess, the current Acting City Manager, was unanimously selected by the City Council to serve in the permanent position during a closed session meeting on September 24 and reported during the City Council meeting that same night. His official start date will be October 1, 2019.

Hess has been serving as Acting City Manager since June 26, 2019, when Ron Davis announced an extended vacation period and his planned retirement scheduled for September 30, 2019.

“Justin has a remarkable track record of success here in Burbank.  He understands the needs of the City and has helped to set the course of where we are going in the future,” said Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy. “Mr. Hess’ proven leadership skills, extensive knowledge of the City and his time both as an Assistant and Acting City Manager has confirmed that he can successfully lead our city into the future.”

Hess has served as the Assistant City Manager since 2013.  During this time, he has been responsible for achieving many meaningful changes. One of the most significant accomplishments has been helping to balance the budget forecast and addressing the City’s pension liability.  In addition to receiving voter approval on four ballot measures last year, Mr. Hess has also been instrumental in helping to establish responsible capital spending through the formation of the Infrastructure Oversight Board.  He has also worked on governance changes with the City Council, Boards and Commissions, Committees and staff, and setting expectations that promote civility and respect. 

“I’m excited to continue working with the City Council, staff and members of our community,” says Hess. “It’s a privilege to serve such a dynamic city and I look forward to maintaining and enhancing the high quality of life we’ve come to expect in Burbank.” 

Justin Hess. ( Photo by Ross A Benson)

Hess began working for the City of Burbank in 1997 and has served in many capacities including Assistant Planner and Administrative Analyst, along with interim positions as Financial Services Director and Management Services Director and most recently, Assistant City Manager.  He is currently the Vice President of the California City Management Foundation (CCMF), which is the premier advocacy and support organization for city managers in the State.  Hess is a long-time member of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and recently received his ICMA Credentialed Manager designation.

He earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and is a graduate of the Executive Master of Leadership Program at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Policy, Planning and Development. 

The City Council will consider the new city manager’s employment contract including salary on October 1

City Manager Ron Davis Set to Retire September 30

It has been 20 years since Ron Davis left the private sector to become the General Manager of the Burbank Water and Power Department. He remained in that role until June of 2016 when the Burbank City Council chose him to become City Manager.

Burbank Manager Ron Davis will step down September 30

September 30 Davis will call it a career.

Burbank’s City Manager is responsible for the day in and day out operation of the City. He only answers to the City Council and has authority on who to promote and which department heads are selected.

According to his bio on the City’s website, during the his 17 years with the BWP,  it evolved into a model organization recognized internationally for innovation and dependability, while delivering some of the lowest water and electricity rates in all of Southern California.

He is married and has two sons.

Davis has appointed Assistant City Manager Justin Hess to work full time as the Acting City Manager while Park and Recreation Director Judie Wilke has been appointed as the Assistant City Manager. An acting Park and Recreation Director will be named later.

 

Council Tabs Ron Davis as Newest City Manager

Burbank City Council has unanimously approved a contract naming Ron Davis City Manager. The 5-0 vote during Tuesday night’s Council meeting formalizes an employment agreement that was first announced during last week’s Council meeting.

Burbank 2016 Boards & Commissions Dinner

City Manager Ron Davis

Davis had been serving as Interim City Manager since February following the departure of former City Manager Mark Scott. In a memo released to the public, Burbank Mayor Jess Talamantes and Vice Mayor Will Rogers wrote “Over the past four and a half months, Mr. Davis has brought his proven leadership skills and commitment to Burbank to his role as Interim City Manager. Mr. Davis has been hands on and shepherded the City through the budget process and at times difficult labor negotiations.”

Ron Davis's Council Meeting

During a recent City Council Meeting City Manager Ron Davis

“Burbank is a 100-year old city with a great history and some big choices ahead,” said Davis. “I’ve been impressed with our Council and City staff’s willingness to tackle difficult challenges and adopt and implement contemporary policies and practices. The last four months have been a valuable opportunity to see if this is a good match, which it is. I’m looking forward to continuing the momentum that we’ve generated.”

Davis began working for the City of Burbank in 1998 as General Manager of Burbank Water and Power, the city-owned utility, where he oversaw a $316-million budget and the supervision of 340 staff. During his 18-year tenure with BWP, Mr. Davis has been committed to community service, innovation, reliability and low costs.

Mr. Davis will be formally sworn in as City Manager during the Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, July 12, 2016.

Burbank City Council Names Interim City Manager

The City of Burbank has reached a tentative agreement with Burbank Water and Power General Manager Ron Davis to serve as Interim City Manager following the departure of current City Manager Mark Scott in February.Ron Davis for MB

Mr. Davis began working for the City of Burbank in 1998 as General Manager of Burbank Water and Power, the city-owned utility, where he oversees a $316-million budget and the supervision of 340 staff. During his 18-year tenure with BWP, Mr. Davis’ commitment to innovation and reliability earned the APPA Platinum Reliability Award for the electrical utility.

“Ron Davis has a proven track record of success here in Burbank,” said Burbank Mayor Bob Frutos. “Council was unanimous in our decision to select him to lead City staff during the recruitment process. We believe Ron Davis and Assistant City Manager Justin Hess form an outstanding team with the ideal experience to guide the City through the upcoming budget process and leadership transition.”

Council will vote Tuesday, January 26, 2016, on an employment agreement with Mr. Davis who would be paid the same salary he currently earns as BWP GM. Mr. Davis would begin his role as Interim City Manager, Saturday, February 6, 2016, after the departure of Mark Scott whose final day with the City of Burbank is Friday, February 5, 2016.

“I’m looking forward to working with the City Council, staff and members of our community,” said Ron Davis. “Burbank is a renowned city and I consider it an honor to be entrusted with helping maintain the high standards we’ve come to expect here.”

Council recently announced it has hired a recruitment firm to search for a permanent city manager. The search will include community engagement to receive input on the ideal city manager candidate. Mr. Davis is eligible to apply for the permanent city manager position, but the employment agreement allows him to return to his role as BWP GM if he chooses.

Burbank City Manager Will Depart After First of the New Year

City Manager Mark Scott, the highest paid employee in the city of Burbank, plans to retire in the new year.

His decision follows the City Council’s rejection of an item at Monday’s meeting that came to them for the third time.

At issue was the creation of a new position that may have ultimately resulted in giving a current Public Works employee a raise to match the employee’s actual duties. According to city documents, the employee had taken on the job description of a higher position.

New City Manager Mark Scott. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

City Manager Mark Scott. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Scott, who makes close to $300,000 a year, joined the city in 2013 after positions as city manager in Beverly Hills and Fresno, among others, and has more than three decades of experience in city management.

In an email, Scott described the purpose of having the item on the agenda.

“The item on the agenda was simply to create the Public Works Administrator position comparable to similar positions in the Fire and BWP [Burbank Water and Power] Departments,” Scott said. “We were not asking the Council to approve a personnel appointment. That is a City Manager role as defined in the City Charter. This is the same as in any other Council-Manager governance system.”

Scott explained that “staff wanted the position created in order for the department head to implement a position upgrade, following a professional HR Department evaluation of the work done by a specific employee.”

He also gave a reason for deciding to part ways with the city.

“I was disappointed that after 3 attempts, a majority of Councilmembers voted no without explanation,” Scott said. “There was no cost implication from creating a job description. If we had subsequently promoted the employee, then the cost would have been about $14,000 which was budgeted.”

City Hall watchers in Burbank know that council meetings often run long, and it is not unusual for meetings to run past midnight.

Monday’s meeting ran past 12:30 a.m., and it was at a late hour that Scott voiced his disapproval with how the council handled the vote on this item, which was on the consent calendar.

City Hall Staffers prepared refreshments and fresh baked goods for the reception of new city Manager Mark Scott. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

City Hall Staffers prepared refreshments and fresh baked goods for the reception of new city Manager Mark Scott back in August of 2013. He announced he will be quitting in early 2016 (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Usually items on the consent calendar require little discussion.

The council, in a 3-2 vote, declined to approve the new position, which included a salary increase and title change for the employee, who was not named.

Documents that are part of the agenda indicate the item has come before the council twice in September.

The documents include a memo from Betsy Dolan, management services director, to Scott indicating that a Public Works employee is handling responsibilities beyond the employee’s pay grade and title of Administrative Officer. The equivalent of the work performed is that of an Administrator, the document states.

The change in salary and title for the Public Works employee would be to better reflect the duties the person is actually doing, the document states. A title change would mean an additional $13,989.16 a year, including the cost of benefits.

Next year’s Public Works budget is able to absorb the cost.

Dolan proposed the monthly salary range for the new position of Public Works Administrator be set at $8,114.88 to $10,671.07, which is equivalent to the classification of Administrative Officer – Burbank Water and Power, the document states. The salary range was based on the position in Water and Power as the duties include similar supervisory and human resources-related tasks.

According to the the documents, the actual monthly salary for the new Public Works classification would fall in the middle of the proposed range, at $9,392.98, or $154,201 a year.

But Mayor Bob Frutos, Councilman David Gordon and Vice Mayor Jess Talamantes voted against the change.

Frutos and Gordon are out of the country, visiting Burbank’s sister city Incheon, in South Korea.

Talamantes was not immediately available for comment.

When asked if it was unusual for the council to make a decision on a new job description, Scott responded: “Yes, unusual, but it is our code so we follow the law. My disappointment has been with the lack of explanation, especially on such a routine, low cost item.”

He added that he thought the public might “wonder if it was really such a narrow issue, then why was it even on the agenda.  I agree, but our old code requires it. It’s probably a remnant from decades ago.”

Scott also said he will remain in his position a little longer, and indicated he may do something different after working in Burbank.

“I am looking at retiring sometime after the first of the year,” he said. “I need to consult with the retirement system to pick a date. I have been in the city management profession since 1972. I might stay in the field or might do something different.  I enjoy my work and I very much enjoy living in Burbank. My wife also has a very active career, largely out of town, so we will let the opportunities and adventures in life guide our next steps. I would love to keep living in this great community.”

He added: “I’d like to say what a real privilege it has been to work here and with the Council and City employees. It’s time for me to move on, but I really have loved being part of this team.”

Public, Staff and Officials Welcome New City Manager to Burbank

Mark Scott greets dozens of local residents, city staff, during a meet and greet at City Hall Thursday. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Mark Scott greets dozens of local residents, city staff, during a meet and greet at City Hall Thursday. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

New City Manager Mark Scott. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

New City Manager Mark Scott. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank’s New City Manager, Mark Scott, received a warm welcome Thursday afternoon in the Rotunda of City Hall. Civic leaders, Council members, residents and city employees got to shake hands and got to know the City’s new Chief Administrator.
Scott, who started in his new position on Thursday, took a couple of minutes to thank everyone for the warm welcome on his first day.

City Manager Mark Scott meets Jennifer Kaplan Becker and Financial Services Diector Cindy Giraldo. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

City Manager Mark Scott meets Jennifer Kaplan Becker and Financial Services Diector Cindy Giraldo. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

He told the group gathered that many years ago he lived nearby in Kennith Village in Glendale but did his shopping in Burbank, visited the AMC Theaters on a regular bases and even took his son on many occasions to Pickwick Ice Arena for games of Ice Hockey.

Scott said he probably won’t remember everyone’s name who he met on his first day but will be looking forward to see and meeting them again soon.

City Hall Staffers prepared refreshments and fresh baked goods for the reception of new city Manager Mark Scott. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

City Hall Staffers prepared refreshments and fresh baked goods for the reception of new city Manager Mark Scott. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Assistant City Attorney Terry Stevenson meets new City Manager Mark Scott. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Assistant City Attorney Terry Stevenson meets new City Manager Mark Scott. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Mark Scott meets  Exec. Director of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce Gary Olsen, Dave Kemp School Board Member, and Vice Mayor David Gordon. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Mark Scott meets Exec. Director of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce Gary Olsen, Dave Kemp School Board Member and Vice Mayor Dr. David Gordon. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

New City Manager with the Command Staff of The Burbank Police Department. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

New City Manager with the Command Staff of The Burbank Police Department. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

 

Burbank Council to Fresno City Manager, “Come On Down”

After an extensive search, the Burbank City Council has reached an agreement with veteran city administrator Mark Scott to become Burbank’s next City Manager.   Scott will replace Ken Pulskamp, who joined the City of Burbank December 3, 2012, to serve as Interim City Manager after City Manager Mike Flaad resigned to take a similar position in South Gate.

Council reached the agreement during closed session on Tuesday night and will consider the contract at the next City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 25.

Under a council-manager form of government, the elected members of Burbank City Council are responsible for hiring a City Manager to serve as the administrative head of the City government. It is then up to the City Manager to hire and fire City employees and department heads.

Scott currently serves as City Manager for the City of Fresno, a full service city, in which he oversees multiple departments, a staff of 3,100 employees, and an annual budget in excess of $1 billion.  According to the Fresno Bee, voters last week rejected a plan by the Fresno Mayor to outsource trash collection that would have paid the city millions in franchise fees. The City of Fresno may now be forced to declare a financial emergency which is a first step toward bankruptcy.

Scott has extensive city management experience including 20 years with the City of Beverly Hills, 14 of which were as City Manager. He has also served as City Manager for the cities of Spartanburg, South Carolina and Culver City, California. In addition, Scott has a Master’s of Business Administration from Stanford University and is a 35-year member of the International City Management Association (ICMA).

Scott will replace Pulskamp if approved at the meeting, Scott will assume the office on August 1.

He will be thrown right into the fire as he will have to deal with several police officers who were fired who are about to have their arbitration hearings in the coming months, as well as keep Burbank’s budget under control as the council continues to get pension liabilities under control.

City Manager Search Forums

Dear Residents of Burbank,

Burbank City Council would like to invite you to one of three upcoming forums to gather public input in the search for a permanent City Manager.

I began serving as your Interim City Manager on December 3, 2012. One of my assignments has been to help guide the City while City Council searches for a permanent replacement.

The City Manager is a very important position in city government. He/she is responsible for the City’s day-to-day administrative operations while supervising all departments in carrying out the policies set by City Council. In Burbank, that means overseeing a staff of more than 1,400 and a 2012/13 total budget of over $635 million.

While we don’t expect you to know the intricacies of the job, we would like to hear what qualities and experience you would look for in someone who will essentially be the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the City. Your comments will be incorporated into the overall evaluation of potential candidates.

The executive search firm Peckham and McKenney has scheduled three forums in which it will seek community feedback by interviewing interested groups and the general public.

All three forums will be held in Room 104 of the City’s Community Services Building at 150 North Third Street at the following dates and times:

Tuesday February 19, 2013 2:00-3:30 p.m.
Tuesday February 19, 2013 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Thursday February 21, 2013 4:30-6:00 p.m.

For those who would like to offer feedback and cannot attend the forum, please contact (818) 238-5840.

Sincerely,

Ken Pulskamp
Burbank Interim City Manager

Three Forums Set for Public Input for New City Manager

The City of Burbank has scheduled three forums for residents to offer input in the search for a permanent city manager.

As part of the recruitment process, Burbank City Council wants to engage the community and receive input on the ideal candidate to succeed Ken Pulskamp, who has been serving as the interim city manager since December 3, 2012.

The executive search firm Peckham and McKenney has scheduled three forums in which it will seek community feedback by interviewing interested groups and the general public.

All three forums will be held in Room 104 of the City’s Community Services Building at 150 North Third Street at the following dates and times:

 

Tuesday February 19, 2013 2:00-3:30 p.m.

Tuesday February 19, 2013 4:00-5:30 p.m.

Thursday February 21, 2013 4:30-6:00 p.m.

 

The City Council anticipates applications for city manager will be accepted beginning in March through mid-April. The screening and interview process will conclude in May with an anticipated appointment in June and a potential start date in July.

For those who would like to offer feedback and cannot attend the forum, and for those who would like to receive future information regarding the city manager recruitment, please contact (818) 238-5840.

Search for New City Manager Given Timeline Structure

Burbank’s City Council has developed a tentative recruitment schedule in its search for a permanent City Manager.

Ken Pulskamp has served as the interim City Manager since December 3, 2012. The City Council has been working with him and the executive search firm, Peckham & McKenney to find a permanent replacement.

The City Council wants to engage the community and receive input on the ideal candidate for city manager. Recruiter Bobbi Peckham will be interviewing a wide array of interested groups
and holding public forums during the month of February. Public input during this period is welcome and encouraged.

The City Council anticipates applications will be accepted beginning in March through mid-April. The screening and interview process will conclude in May with an anticipated appointment in June and a potential start date in July.

For those interested in receiving future information regarding the city manager recruitment, please contact (818) 238-5840.