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Year of growing pains

2010: A

Questions of police culture, infrastructure and freedom of information made Burbank headlines.

December 29, 2010

The year 2010 will perhaps be remembered most for its growing pains. Reforms at the Burbank Police Department have been ongoing while at the same time the web of legal action in and out of the department continues to ebb and flow.

A new $120-million transit center was approved for Bob Hope Airport, new bike lanes on Verdugo Avenue created a stir, and city officials sought to stall L.A. sewer upgrade plans under Pass Avenue — despite experience with a faulty pipe that burst on Nov. 2 and sent 30,000 gallons of sewage down Burbank streets, forcing officials to divert flow into the shared Los Angeles system while repairs were completed.

These are all signs of a city in flux, even as it prepares to celebrate its centennial throughout 2011. But 2010 was also punctuated by significant incidents — the officer shooting outside the Kmart and several major car crashes come to mind.


But there have been other issues left to simmer on the stove. Burbank has more recently resisted public information requests for the amount of bonuses paid to individual employees over the past several years, although a final determination is expected from the city attorney's office in the coming weeks.

And the airport authority has locked horns with Lockheed Martin over liability claims for an order by EPA to clean up contaminated groundwater underneath Bob Hope Airport.

In no particular order, here's a look back on some of the more significant headlines and issues of 2010.

Salaries and bonuses: The city posted employee salary information on its website that showed that more than 500 of 1,600 city employees make $100,000 or more a year — a figure that has grown steadily over the last decade, according to other records obtained by the Leader.

The calculation excluded the cost of pension-related benefits and some health insurance, but showed that several six-figure earners added to their base pay with overtime and "other pay," which includes payouts for unused vacation days and cash benefits toward heath plans, professional development, uniform allowance and other perks.

While those records were made available, city officials have pushed back on releasing specific merit-based bonuses payouts per employee, saying it would be against workplace confidentiality rules. They are currently reevaluating their response, with an answer expected in the coming weeks.

Glendale, it should be noted, posted the per-employee bonus information on the city website.

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