City Mgt. Request To Continue Paying City Staffer To Work At "Gateway Cities Council of Gov'ts" -- Revised To Reduce City Cost To Half of $100,000/Yr Annual Salary -- Removed Before April 22 Council Discussion; Will Likely Return in May
(April 22, 2003) -- LB city management's request that the City Council continue an arrangement in which city taxpayers had paid a $100,000/yr LB city management staffer to work at the "Gateway Cities Council of Governments" -- reported on April 16 by LBReport.com and thereafter proposed for renewal at half the city's cost -- was removed from the agenda before discussion at the April 22 Council meeting.
Shortly after opening the Council meeting, Mayor Beverly O'Neill announced that the item would not be among those dealt with. There was no public explanation.
LBReport.com has since been advised by the City Manager's office that the item was removed due in part to the absence of Acting City Manager Gerald Miller who had strongly advocated continuing the arrangement. The City Manager's office indicated it plans to re-agendize the item at a forthcoming City Council meeting, likely as early as May 6.
As previously reported by LBReport.com, a memo accompanying the item by Acting City Manager Gerald Miller urged continuing the arrangement:
Under the direction of the Executive Director of the Gateway Cities COG, the loaned employee will work on a number of initiatives directly involving the City of Long Beach. These projects include the I-710 Major Corridor Study, which is evaluating alternatives for improvement of the Long Beach Freeway; the COG's Clean Air Program, which provides financial incentives to diesel truck owners to acquire newer, cleaner running trucks and destroy the older diesel engine so that it cannot be returned into service; the establishment of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) Gateway Service Sector, which will govern the MTA's bus service within the Gateway Cities area and facilitate efficient coordination with other service providers such as Long Beach Transit;
and, the COG's Conservancy Working Committee, which coordinates activities with the
Lower Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers and Mountains Conservancy.
Each of these assignments will provide direct service to the City of Long Beach, training
for the management employee in regional policies and processes that impact the City of
Long Beach, and a voice for City of Long Beach perspectives in the formulation of COG
programs and policies.
The LB taxpayer-paid arrangement was first proposed by now-former City Manager Henry Taboada in October, 2001...and approved without dissent by the City Council (9-0) at its October 16, 2001 meeting. On October 22, 2002, at new city management's request, the Council voted to extend the arrangement for six months (9-0, this time on the consent calendar).
The arrangement with the Gateway Council of Governments expired on April 18...and for now the city management staffer is working at LB City Hall on issues including 710 freeway expansion options that dovetailed with her focus at the Gateway Council.
The current President of the Board of Directors of the Gateway Cities Council of Governments is LB Vice Mayor Frank Colonna. LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill is also a member of the group's 29 member Board of Directors (one Councilmember from each member city [Artesia, Avalon, Bell, Bellflower, Bell Gardens, Cerritos, Commerce, Compton, Cudahy, Downey, Hawaiian Gardens, Huntington Park, La Habra Heights, Lakewood, La Mirada, Long Beach, Lynwood, Maywood, Montebello, Norwalk, Paramount, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, Signal Hill, South Gate, Vernon, Whittier], plus the Mayor of LB [the Port of LB is a Gateway member], and one member of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors). Mayor O'Neill has delegated her duties to 1st district LB Councilmember Bonnie Lowenthal.
The Gateway Council's Executive Committee includes LB Vice Mayor Colonna...who also serves on the Gateway Council's I-710 Oversight Committee.
LB taxpayers pay a $12,000 fee for their City Hall to be a member of the Gateway Cities Council of Governments.