Mayor O'Neill Named "2004 Municipal Leader of the Year" By American City & County Magazine, Nominated By City Manager Miller w/ Help From Mayoral StaffRemarks of Mayor Beverly O'Neill
(November 10, 2004) -- LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill has been selected by American City and County magazine as its 2004 Municipal Leader of the Year...and LB City Manager Jerry Miller put her name in nomination.
American City and County Managing Editor Lindsay Isaacs told LBReport.com that the nomination was submitted City Manager Miller.
Mayor O'Neill's Chief of Staff, Cathy Wieder, said the Mayor's staff also helped in preparing the nomination. "Jerry told us about the award, and the city manager's staff and we [the Mayor's staff] worked together to put out the nomination," Ms. Wieder said.
A release from American City and County magazine says its subscribers submit nominations and the magazine's editorial staff selects the award's recipient annually.
American City & County magazine identifies itself on its website as "the voice of local government since 1909. The magazine serves a nationwide audience of city, county and state officials who are charged with developing and implementing local and state government policy, programs and projects."
Ms. Wieder said American City and County magazine let Mayor O'Neill know she'd won the award about two weeks ago and was under a strict embargo not to discuss it [yes, publications do that].
And Ms. Wieder said Mayor O'Neill didn't know about the surprise announcement of the award that her Council colleagues sprang on her at the November 9 City Council meeting.
Moments after Mayor O'Neill completed presenting recognitions to others, Vice Mayor Kell interrupted her. "Just one moment, Madam Mayor, I'd like you to stand up, please."
|"What? Me?" Mayor O'Neill responded, initially taken aback.
"I'm in charge right now," Vice Mayor Kell replied...leaving Mayor O'Neill little choice but to comply when it became clear that Vice Mayor Kell wouldn't relent.
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Vice Mayor Kell then announced the award by reading the release (text below)...and the Council Chamber audience and Councilmembers rose to their feet and gave Mayor O'Neill a standing ovation.
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|Mayor O'Neill appeared visibly moved, her head occasionally bowed, her eyes at times appearing misty as Vice Mayor Kell read the publisher's award release (text below).|
When Vice Mayor Kell concluded, 9th district Councilman Val Lerch added, "We wanted as a Council to say congratulations on the approval of [Proposition] 1-A [preserving CA cities' revenue from raids by Sacramento] that you helped craft, and we bought you this nice bouquet of flowers to say congratulations to you for a job well done."
|Visibly touched but without losing her composure, Mayor O'Neill delivered extemporaneous remarks that we post in extended transcript form below.
At the conclusion of her remarks, the Mayor received a second standing ovation from the audience and from Councilmembers.
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LBReport.com posts the American City and County magazine release below followed by an extended transcript (unofficial, prepared by us) of the proceedings.
American City & County Magazine release
(Atlanta, GA) November 8, 2004 - PRIMEDIA’s American City & County magazine has selected Beverly O’Neill, mayor for Long Beach, California, as the 2004 Municipal Leader of the Year. The magazine presents the award annually in recognition of outstanding leadership in city government.
The readers subscribers of PRIMEDIA’s American City & County submit nominations for the Municipal Leader of the Year Award. The magazine's editorial staff selects the award's recipient each year.
Mayor of Long Beach for 10 years, O’Neill also serves as Vice President for the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Conference of Mayors. During her tenure as mayor, she has effectively guided her community through a transformation from a town reeling from a Navy base closure to a thriving tourist destination. In response to a projected $102 million budget shortfall in 2002, O’Neill called for a three-year financial plan that gathered suggestions from residents, businesses and city employees on how to align expenditures with revenues. The plan won the Helen Putnam Award from the League of California Cities in 2003 for Excellence in Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics and Community Involvement. As a former president of the League of California Cities, she helped craft a statewide ballot initiative that was approved this month that limits the state’s ability to use local government revenues to balance the state budget.
"Beverly O’Neill turned lemons into lemonade after Long Beach’s Navy base sailed out of town," says American City & County's editorial director, Bill Wolpin. "Those efforts, plus her foresight in addressing a long-term budget crisis, led us to choose her as this year’s top municipal official."
American City & County will honor O’Neill at the 2004 National League of Cities Congress of Cities and Exposition, which will be held 11/30-12/4, 2004 in Indianapolis. A profile of O’Neill and her award-winning contributions to Long Beach are featured in the November issue of PRIMEDIA’s American City & County.
Mayor O'Neill: When I first heard about this, I have to tell you I was aghast because I have worked with so many wonderful people in Long Beach on the Council and, the Councils, and throughout the state with people that are working every day in positions like mine, positions on Councils that work for their cities and work for the betterment and the changes that can be made.
So I feel very humble about this because I don't really understand how this all happened, but I accept because of Long Beach this has happened. It hasn't happened because of me as much as Long Beach and the people that I work with and the Councils that I've had.
When they talk about crafting a three-year budget, you know sure, I mean I might have been Mayor during that time, but the Council has worked on it, the staff has crafted this and brought it to us, so I think I've been Mayor now, same as Bob [CSULB President Maxson] in my 11th year and maybe if you stay around long enough [laughter] things happen to you, I don't know, but I do appreciate this.
And I was very surprised because I thought you couldn't talk about it. And Jackie, they put you up to this, I can tell (laughs). Jackie is the Vice Mayor but I thank you all very much and mostly to the Councilmembers and to Jerry and his staff.
I think that if I could choose to be Mayor of any city in the world it would be Long Beach. [applause] It's a very special place. It has a sense of community that you can't find in many communities. People have a chance to be heard. We are accessible. We are out in the community. The Council is out almost every night having meetings in their community. I am out. We want to make sure that we know what's going on in the city and we're trying very hard to make sure that this is the best city.
So I thank the Councilmembers for the work that they do, and the Councilmembers from the past, and thank all of you [to audience] because you all have a sense of community with your involvement and with your understanding and with your protection of the city.
And if there was one thing that I could say when I leave as Mayor, I just hope you feel very proud of this city, because people that feel pride in their family, take care of their family. People that feel pride in their community, take care of their community. People that feel pride and want to make it better because they work hard to make their houses look nicer because they want to feel proud.
And I just hope that there's a sense of pride in this community because it is very special and I want you to feel the same way that I do about approaching everything that happens in this city so I thank you very much and this is very surprising, and I appreciate it very much. [ovation]
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