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New city manager says he will spend several months learning about Burbank

July 30, 2013|By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com
  • Mark Scott, 63, who has been city manager at four other cities before, most recently in Fresno, Ca., is shown at the Burbank City Hall.
Mark Scott, 63, who has been city manager at four other… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

Mark Scott’s first goal as Burbank’s incoming city manager is simple: to listen.

“I really need to spend the first two months getting to know people, and to listen to them,” Scott said in an interview Tuesday. “For a city manager coming into new community, the very first thing you want to do is to get to know your staff and your public.”

He’ll have a first chance to do so on Thursday afternoon at City Hall, where Burbank will be hosting a meet-and-greet with the city’s new top official.

“For 40 days now I’ve had this pent-up excitement of taking on this new challenge,” Scott said. “I’m pleased to get to a point where now I can turn my focus.”

Part of the introduction that he’s looking forward to getting involves a tour of Burbank with each City Council member.

“I need to see the city through their eyes,” Scott said.

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He plans to record his own observations in a journal.

“The fresh eyes that somebody has when they come to a community is something you only get to experience once — and if you don’t write it down, you forget,” he said.

So far, Scott has noticed that Burbank’s become “more livable” since he was last living in the area 10 years ago. That’s something he said he hopes to continue.

“The streets are more hospitable to pedestrians; there are more pedestrians,” he said, adding that he has settled in an apartment near City Hall, from which he plans to walk to work. “Not only has Burbank attracted corporate offices, but it has been able to sustain local businesses — that’s a livability feature in my view.”

Scott was hired last month after a six-month search that included months of closed-door meetings and public forums.

Roughly 100 applicants vied for the job. An executive search firm hired by the city narrowed the pool down to eight candidates, all of whom were interviewed by the City Council, officials said.

Scott spent three years as Fresno’s top executive, and before that, led the cities of Beverly Hills, Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Culver City.

In Fresno, Scott oversaw a staff of roughly 3,100 municipal employees and a city with an annual budget of more than $1 billion, officials said.

Scott will be available for a meet-and-greet in the rotunda at City Hall — 275 East Olive Ave. — from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday.

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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