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Editorial:

Right man for the job

May 10, 2008

Congratulations to Assistant City Manager Mike Flad, whom the City Council appointed this week to become city manager when Mary Alvord leaves the top spot in January.

He is the right pick to lead the city as officials look to fulfill a pretty ambitious to-do list of goals for the upcoming year.

Those goals, which the council hashed out last weekend and approved on Tuesday, include reducing waste, bolstering the city’s financial position, financing a new library and establishing a year-round aquatic center.

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They are ambitious but laudable goals at a time when Burbank is growing.

Conservation, for instance, will not only limit overdevelopment in the city, but it will also affect how developers design buildings and how transportation is planned in the city.

And a sound fiscal direction is vital in these times of big budget cuts at the state level, including the threat that the state will gut the city’s redevelopment funds as a way to make a dent in the state’s budget shortfall.

These issues, including alleviating the city’s traffic crunch, demand immediate attention.

This will be easier said than done, of course.

Council members may agree on the goals, but the means to achieve them is still a matter of debate.

And trying to get a giant aquatic center in town in the middle of a serious economic downturn and billions of dollars in proposed state budget cuts will be a challenge, along with keeping the city solvent.

But it’s a challenge that the city can meet with Flad in the driver’s seat.

It’s no secret he has been groomed by Alvord, whose knowledge of the city is expansive.

As assistant city manager, Flad had the right mentor, and that, coupled with his own home-grown abilities and experience as a city workers’ compensation coordinator and Parks, Recreation and Community Services coordinator, he definitely is the best person for the job.

The fact that the council has named a successor so early should be reassuring as well.

It affirmed that the council wanted someone from Burbank and someone who came up through the ranks.

Not only that, they know Flad, and clearly he is respected and can work with staff and council members.

Knowing who the city manager will be will also take a lot of guesswork out of the process, allowing city staffers and council members to get down to the business of figuring out how to meet the city’s goals and responding to its residents’ issues.

There will be no time wasted in a national search. And Flad can start getting immersed in the elevated duties he will take on and prepare for the future.

Again, they won’t be easy to tackle, but at least the city knows who will be tackling them and what the goals are.

That’s a significant part of the battle to managing a great city.


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