Sierra Madre Edition
SIERRA MADRE EDITION SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 2017 VOLUME 11 NO. 10 MAYOR GOSS SPEAKS TO THE CITY CITY MANAGER ELAINE AGUILAR RETIRES LEAVING BEHIND AN IMPRESSIVE LIST OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS Editors Note: This is Mayor Gene Goss State of the City Address in its entirety as delivered lasat month. In it he not only focuses on the accomplishments of the past, but also discusses the city's future. He also introduces the town's new city manager, Gabriel Engeland. My fellow Sierra Madreans, it is my honor to address you tonight as Mayor of our wonderful city. Before we get down to business, I would like to thank St. Rita School Principal Joanne Harabedian and St Rita School Choir Director Joseph Augustynski and the members of the Choir for the wonderful music tonight. I would like to especially acknowledge one member of the choir tonight, my son Maxwell. Also, I’d like to thank Boy Scout Troop 110 for conducting the flag ceremony tonight. I would like to thank staff, specifically interim City Manager Elaine Aguilar for helping me prepare this address. Finally, I want thank my wife Lisa for always being there for me and especially for supporting me throughout my tenure on the Council --They say that the first rule of public speaking is to keep it short. So that is my goal and, If I don’t achieve it, I apologize in advance Tonight I will discuss some of the recent successes of the City, beginning with some staffing and financial information, and a bit later I will address some of the significant challenges we will be facing in the coming year and beyond. I’ll finish explaining why I have much optimism for our future. to begin with good news - I am pleased to report that the State of the City is sound! We have made significant progress in all areas of city governance. City Manager - Before I address the specific areas it is necessary for me remind you of some really good news that many of you are already aware of. As of March 14, The City of Sierra Madre will have a new City Manager. His name is Gabriel Engeland. He and his family are moving to Sierra Madre from Trinidad, Colorado, where he has been serving as their City Manager. Gabe – as he likes to be called, has an exceptional educational background and a wide breadth of experience, especially in finance and public works and infrastructure. The City Council believes that he will be a perfect fit for us. We are all excited at the prospect of his arrival. I would like to again thank retired City Manager Elaine Aguilar for agreeing to stay on as Interim City Manager until Gabe joins us. Elaine, your willingness to help us in this way has been huge! Now I’d like to talk about the The Current State of Governance Activities in Sierra Madre Or…To put it differently - What exactly will our New City Manager be facing as he joins us in March? Let’s look at City Finances: I’m pleased to report that the City has healthy General Fund Reserves (these are our rainy-day funds, what’s in the bank.) Last fiscal year 2015/2016 – the City’s General Fund ended the year on June 30th with a deficit, due to the reduction in revenue from the City’s Utility Users Tax. The deficit was anticipated by the council. We had heard from the public that they did not want services reduced in light of the April 2016 election and the possibility that a new UUT would be approved by the voters. The voters did approve, by over a 70% margin, the 10% UUT Measure in the April 2016 election. But that was 10 months into the fiscal year, so even with the passage of the ballot measure, naturally it has taken some time for our revenue to catch up. Tonight, I am pleased to report that The Budget is projected to be balanced for the current Fiscal Year! I know, we know, that every dime the City receives comes from the work and sacrifices of our City’s citizens. This Council has been extremely careful in spending these precious resources the same way we steward our own family’s resources. We know you expect nothing less. Additionally here are some other financial and administrative accomplishments this past year: The City Treasurer has evaluated and approved investing of city funds to increase our investment returns. We implemented new banking services reducing bank charges and increased investment returns. The City has provided timely interim & year- end financial reporting – This is the earliest the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report has been completed! In Human Resources the City implemented a new HR recruiting software -NeoGov that has improved the City’s recruitment efforts. We now have a two year MOU with the Police Department, and a new MOU with our Classified Employees. We have also reviewed and updated all City waiver forms and agreements to ensure the City is protected during city-wide annual events. Finally, the City completed the ADA Self- Evaluation and Transition Plan. Police We have come a long way since this time last year. As you recall, at the prospect of the possible contracting out to the Sheriff’s Department owing to declining revenues, almost half our department left for other departments, thus precipitating a true crisis. The passage of the UUT Measure last April enabled us to begin recruiting officers and the slow process of rebuilding the department began. Tonight, I am elated to report that The Sierra Madre Police Department is almost completely staffed! We are appreciative that the LA County Sheriff’s department was able to assist us, but we are even more pleased to have our own SMPD back! A word about our recruitment successes: Academy Police Recruits - For the first time in the history of SMPD, the city sponsored two police recruits to attend police academy. One of our recruits was voted to be the Honor Recruit by academy staff, other recruits and overall standings in the 22-week academy. Last Tuesday night we welcomed in our two new dispatchers, our two new officers, including the Honor Recruit, and our recently promoted sergeants. The City Council was impressed by all of these new department members. I believe that the quality of the department will be better than it’s ever been. Also, I’d like to acknowledge The Public Safety Committee, which was formed a little over a year ago. Its members have been extremely diligent and the committee’s work has been extremely helpful in addressing public safety issues in the City, specifically issues having to do with our Police and Fire Departments. Fire Department We now have a completed Fire department Strategic Plan – that’s a major move forward. The City purchased and installed 11 new Automatic External Defibrillator’s (AEDs) throughout the city. The buildings that received the AEDs were the library, the lobby in the fire and police facility, (CONTINUED ON PAGE C4) Friday was Sierra Madre City Manager Elaine Aguilar's last day. As she was making room for the town's new manager I had the opportunity to sit down with her for a final, formal interview. Aguilar, who is looking forward to retirement, began her tenure with the City of Sierra Madre in August, 2007. In fact, she was the feature story on the front page of this paper. (http://mtnviewsnews. com/old/mvobs/v01/ MVObs_2007_08_04. pdf ) In looking back over the years, she has accomplished a lot, overcoming the challenges that anyone in such a position would be faced with, plus the unique challenges one faces when at the helm of governing the notoriously political town of Sierra Madre. Regardless, Aguilar has perservered throuogh the tough times and rejoiced during the good ones. "I love this town. I loved every minute of working here and I'm going to miss it." A few weeks ago, Sierra Madre Mayor Gene Goss in his State of the City Address acknowleged many of the accomplishments achieved during Elaine's tenure as City Manager. (See related story page 1). Aguilar was at the helm when Sierra Madre endured 3 natural disasters - the Santa Anita Fire in 2008, Debris and Mud Flows the following year, and the 2011 Windstorm. She led the town through successful and prompt recoveries, tapped into all available state local and federal resources to assist and then went on to establish the emergency public notification program, “Ready, Set, GO!” for Sierra Madre that has been replicated by many communities. Transparency is a very large concern for residents of Sierra Madre and Aguilar enhanced transparency and public access to City information – via the redesigned city website, with access to agenda items for all Council and Commission meetings, video streaming of City Council meetings, weekly City Manager Report is online, and implemented use of social media. She also: Improved financial information – City progressed from a 20 page, basic annual audit to a 175 page Comprehensive Annual Financial Report that includes additional detailed city financial information. · Improved communication with the public – successful community events to provide information about the City’s General Plan Update (General Plan Town Hall Forums), water department (Water Department Walk & Talks) and the City’s finances (A dozen Budget Town Hall Meetings and production of “Measure UUT” informational materials.) · Implemented new internal controls, to ensure the timely preparation of City financial information, such as the quarterly financial reports and city audits and budgets. ·Oversaw the completion of infrastructure and facility improvements: installation of new water mains, reconstruction of water reservoirs, street resurfacing projects, new playground equipment at city parks, new restrooms at Bailey Canyon Park and Memorial Park, and new drought tolerant garden at City Hall ·Completed a major renovation of the Senior Center/ the Hark Park House, the Sierra Madre Room at the Community Center, and the Children’s room at the Library. ·Implemented budget reductions, and restructuring that resulted in major cost savings and much more. (See Mayor's State of the City) One thing has been said over and over again regarding Elaine Aguilar's time in Sierra Madre and her retirement, "She is leaving the city in much better shape than it was when she came here." S. Henderson, MVNews REMEMBRANCE HARRY T. ENMARK August 24, 1930 – March 5, 2017 Harry, 86, was born in Jamestown, New York and passed away at home in Sierra Madre, following a brief hospital stay. Harry was preceded in death by his son Jon Enmark in 1990 and step daughter Juli Nickoley in 1991. Survivors include his wife of thirty eight years: Marlene, his daughters Catherine Addé (Christopher), of Sierra Madre and Michelle Black, (Craig), of Jacksonville, Oregon and Palos Verdes Estates, step-daughter Valerie Workman, (Paul) of Norco and step-son, Darren Nickoley (Yolanda) of Covina.There are seven grandchildren: Addi, Chelsea, Alexander, Madeleine, Hayley, Cassandra, Travis and great grandchild: Lila. Harry arrived in California in the early 50’s to attend Northrop Aeronautical University. Upon graduation, he joined the U.S. Air Force serving for four years at various bases including Hawaii’s Hickam Air Force Base and the island of Eniwetok during the hydrogen bomb tests. Married to first wife Carole, they settled in Sierra Madre in 1963 to raise their three children. His career spanned forty years with Cal Tech Jet Propulsion Laboratory as Space Systems Engineer working on flight projects including but not limited to: Voyager, Galileo and more recently the first Mars Rover. In the early days of his career, he returned to college at night to earn his Bachelor of Science in Engineering at Cal State Los Angeles. His ever curious mind provided him with any number of interests, from building toys for his children to camping, cycling, building telescopes and carpentry. Harry drove his Alaskan camper to Alaska when he retired, and he and Marlene also enjoyed RVing around the U.S. He had two favorite hobbies. One was his Ham Radio (he supplied communication for the Baja 500 among other events) and held his license since boyhood. The other was flying two of his Ultralite airplanes which he built himself. Soaring through the heavens now - rest in peace Harry, Dad, Grandpa. We love you. His resting place will be at the Sierra Madre Memorial Garden Pioneer Cemetery, after a private family ceremony, at the end of March. A celebration of his life is also being planned with details to follow.
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