CCMF Joins Effort to Help Bell Recover

 

The California City Management Foundation is committed to professional ethical standards and firmly believes that quality city management talent can make a positive impact on cities and their communities. The City of Bell scandal has showcased the problems a bad city manager can create, but CCMF is focused on finding great city management to help the City of Bell. To that end, CCMF has joined with ICMA and the California League of Cities to expand the search for talent to aid the City of Bell. The message below, from ICMA West Coast Regional Director Kevin Duggan, has been shared with all our membership, and the CCMF Board is actively involved in helping to source talent.

 

“CCMF’s mission statement is ‘Supporting and Encouraging Excellence in City Management,’ and there is no greater need for that kind of talent than in the City of Bell right now. Ethical, professional and capable city management is needed to help the council in Bell continue to reform and promote transparency in their city. Our talented members and prospective members are just the professionals for the job,” said Bill Garrett, CCMF’s executive director.

 

A huge step forward was taken when CCMF Retired Member Ken Hampian volunteered a month of his time to see the City through a selection process to find their interim City Manager. Ken’s long career of successful city management exemplifies the kind of character and professionalism found in the vast majority of city managers. However, Ken’s time is limited, and CCMF is working to help find the next leadership team to carry the City of Bell forward.

 

Please see the message below from Kevin Duggan.

 

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When it became apparent a couple of weeks ago that the new city council in Bell was having difficulty identifying the professional assistance they needed to begin their recovery from the previous disastrous leadership they had experienced; ICMA, the League of California Cities and the California City Management Foundation joined forces to offer assistance.

 

We committed to assist in 3 areas: 1) to identify a skilled and experienced professional to immediately assume the Interim Chief Administrative Officer position; 2) to assist with their efforts to find an longer term interim administrator; and 3) to identify supplemental resources to assist, as may be necessary, the interim administrators in assessing the condition of the organization and begin its recovery.

 

For those of you who may not have already heard, I am pleased to report that the first objective has been accomplished by the extraordinary offer of Ken Hampian, former city manager of San Luis Obispo, to serve in the role of interim CAO for approximately 30 days. Ken was not only willing to put a number of personal and professional commitments on hold, but offered to serve without compensation. Indicative of the new city council’s strong desire for honest and professional assistance, as soon as they first met Ken they appointed him interim administrator and he served in that role at their city council meeting immediately after their closed session interview. Our profession is indebted to Ken for his willingness to take on this important assignment. He will do an outstanding job.

 

However, the task to help Bell find a longer term interim administrator (6+ months) is upon us since Ken can only serve for a few weeks due to previous commitments. The positive momentum that will have been put in place by that time cannot be lost. The city council will be relying on Ken and representatives of our 3 organizations to help identify a group of experienced and well qualified applicants to interview. Retired city manager Kevin O’Rourke will be working directly with Ken, also without compensation, to assist in identifying a group of candidates for city council consideration. Even though the response to the recently closed application process was better than previously experienced, the city council has agreed with our recommendation to extend the deadline for expressions of interest to this Wednesday, August 3rd at 5PM. The deadline is short since Ken will need to leave this temporary assignment by no later than August 24. It is therefore critical that we get as many well qualified applicants as soon as possible for city council consideration.

 

Not surprisingly, the key traits for this role are substantial and successful city management experience combined with strong interpersonal skills and an outstanding reputation for integrity. The selected longer term interim would negotiate a contract, including appropriate compensation, with the city council. We need YOUR help in identifying individuals who share these characteristics and to encourage them to apply. All that is necessary is an expression of interest to be forwarded with a resume to Kevin O’Rourke by 5PM this Wednesday at kevin@kolgs.com

 

The 3rd area we have offered assistance is to bring into Bell, for short periods of time, teams of professionals to assess and respond to a variety of issues ranging from finance/budget and HR to direct public services. This assistance could vary from a few days to a few weeks. This supplemental expertise will be critical to Ken and his successor in identifying and responding to issues resulting from years of neglect. The city has committed to cover the direct out of pocket costs for this assistance including travel costs. However, the premise is that the actual service would be contributed, either by the agency employing the individual or the individual themselves. Since we will wait for Ken’s initial assessment to determine what type of assistance will be needed, and when it will be needed, we are not asking for volunteers at the moment.

 

There will be a subsequent communication on this topic once we know more. However, we would appreciate you giving thought to how you and/or your organization may be able to help once the needs are more clearly defined.

 

Those of us who have met and spoken with members of the Bell City Council are convinced that they are sincerely working very hard to restore their community. It has been truly gratifying to see the enthusiasm they have expressed in accepting the help of our profession to assist them. Please help us in changing the story of the City of Bell from one that has damaged the reputation of our profession to one that represents the best in our profession.

 

Kevin C Duggan
West Coast Regional Director
ICMA

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