The notice of Don Rupee’s passing took me back to our work together on a drivers safety program for the city of Burbank in the late 1950s. Don was on loan from the Police Department, and I was the administrative assistant in the city manager’s three-man office from 1954 to 1961. Using results of vision and reaction-time tests, Don could counsel employees on the importance of safe driving.
The city manager, Harmon R. Bennett, had assigned me to implement a general accident prevention program to counter rising insurance costs, and driver safety was one part as we also bought safety equipment and initiated safety training for employees and supervisors.
There was a refreshing air of trying new things under the impetus of a reform City Council, which was vigorously striving to restore citizen confidence in their local government after the disastrous scandals of racketeering, bribery and other evils that had brought national shame to Burbank. Getting rid of the failed council members, bringing in new top managers and thorough revamping of several departments showed results.