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Burbank school board appoints police official to interim seat

August 03, 2012
(Ross A. Benson )

Burbank Police Lt. John Dilibert narrowly beat out a 23-year-old former parks commissioner Thursday night to become the city’s newest school board member.

Dilibert, 48, replaces Debbie Kutka, who vacated her seat on the board to become interim city treasurer.

His appointment during a late night special meeting Thursday isn’t his first. In 2006 and 2007, he sat on the school board on an interim basis when Paul Krekorian stepped down for a seat in the state Assembly — experience that helped him when the votes were cast.

“There’s a learning curve you have to have when you get on the board and John is the guy who stepped up when Mr. Krekorian left the board,” school board member Ted Bunch said.

Dilibert was appointed on a 3-1 vote, but only after school board president Larry Applebaum changed his initial vote for 23-year-old Steve Ferguson, who made a name for himself as being the youngest city commissioner, serving on the Park, Recreation and Community Services Board.

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Ferguson is currently on the advisory board for Family Promise of the East San Fernando Valley.

School board member Roberta Reynolds also voted for Ferguson, who she said could begin the new role “with enough experience to hit the ground running.”

“I’m looking for a different perspective on the board than ones we already have,” she added.

Dilibert, a graduate of Burbank High School, has worked for the Burbank Police Department for nearly 25 years and is a member of Burbank Noon Kiwanis.

A total of 12 applicants applied, but Cindy Niver, a nurse at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, withdrew her application before the board meeting.

Nine applicants present at the meeting and were given three minutes to present their case to the school board.

When the members reached a tie, Applebaum suggested each board member share additional names of candidates they would support, but no board member budged.

Applebaum referred to his own list and said that besides Ferguson, he supported Robert Bowne, an attorney who served on the school board in the early 1980s, and Dilibert.

“I know my colleague Dr. Roberta Reynolds very well and I don’t think she’s going to move an inch. I know my colleagues to the left of me are pretty structured,” Applebaum said of Kemp and Bunch.

“I don’t think it’s going to serve us very well to continue to fight this…so I will change my vote."

-- Kelly Corrigan, Times Community News

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