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What To Watch In 2009

January 03, 2009

By the end of December, a balanced state budget was nowhere in sight, with local groups fretting about the premonition of diminished cash flow and the possibility of further delays to state-funded projects.

State Controller John Chiang already warned that the state may run out of cash in February if lawmakers do not agree on a balanced budget — likely a mix of tax hikes and program cuts. But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger already nixed one possibility Dec. 19, days after California’s top fiscal board voted to freeze billions of dollars in funds for state highway, school and other infrastructure projects.

Flad to step in as new city manager

Assistant City Manager Mike Flad is set to take the helm of Burbank’s executive team in January when outgoing City Manager Mary Alvord retires after decades of service to the city.

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Flad will oversee 10 departments and 1,500 city employees and receive an annual compensation of nearly $217,500 when he assumes the position Jan. 6.

A joyous City Council unanimously appointed Flad as Alvord’s successor during its May 6 session, with each member praising the 42-year-old for his dedication and poise.

“In Burbank, we expect the gold standard,” Mayor Dave Golonski said at the meeting. “I have not the least lingering doubt Mr. Flad will carry on in the tradition of excellence for our community. We’re getting tremendous value.”

Looking ahead, Flad will oversee a tumultuous city deficit that is projected to be about $7 million, a council with at least one new member and an ongoing stream of projects throughout Burbank.

Candidates pack April ballots

On April 14, residents will return to the voting booth where they will be asked to decide on four races that could set a new course for the city.

Thirteen residents are vying for one open seat on the City Council, with Councilwoman Marsha Ramos opting not to run again, while Mayor Dave Golonski and Councilman David Gordon are each set to defend their positions.

The glut of new candidates includes retired firefighter and city board member Jess Talamantes, Planning Board member Gregory Jackson and 19-year-old Marine Pvt. Jeffrey W. Prutz.

Daniel D. Humfreville, chairman of Burbank Center for the Retarded; Lee Dunayer, a financial planner whose first run for the council in 2003 was upended by a potential conflict of interest; and Glendale Community College student Steven Ferguson have also been verified by the clerk’s office.

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