Roubik Golanian will continue his decades-long career with Glendale after the City Council confirmed him this week to be the permanent city manager moving forward. Golanian — who was the assistant city manager under his predecessor, Yasmin Beers, since May 2018 — is now tasked with continuing to guide the city through the end of the coronavirus pandemic, improving the efficiency of the city’s bureaucracy and with implementing the council’s myriad policy goals, which range from ramping up affordable housing construction, developing sustainability practices and modernizing the city’s transportation infrastructure. He had been keeping the seat warm as interim city manager since October, when Beers retired.
For many, Friday, Jan. 1, represented a long-overdue turn of the page from a year that lived up to no one’s expectations. From the beginning of 2020, news trickled into American airwaves and newsprint that a mysterious virus had secretly wreaked havoc throughout much of China and had begun spreading at uncontrolled levels through South Korea, Iran, Italy and Spain. Reports of overwhelmed hospitals, mass graves and widespread lockdowns also spread. And then the accounts started coming out of New York City. And Seattle. And a well-known pork processing plant in South Dakota. By March 11, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was declared to be a global pandemic. Locally, by March 13 — auspicious, indeed, as a Friday the 13th — school districts were closing, cities were declaring states of emergency and officials were openly discussing what would become the Safer at Home orders. Restaurants were limited to takeout or delivery. Personal care services, entertainment venues and bars closed. Nonessential retailers had to close. The NBA suspended its season.
After seven firms applied for the job and four were named finalists, the City Council decided this week to contract with CPS HR Consulting to identify candidates to become the municipal government’s next top executive. This search for a new city manager will be led by Frank Rojas, the firm’s executive recruiter, through a $25,000 contract with Sacramento-based CPS HR. Council members picked Rojas, who is based in the Los Angeles area, in part because of his familiarity with Glendale and the region.
The City Council has asked administrative staff to look into what it might take for Glendale to establish its own public health department. The curiosity follows the mandate from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to shutter all outdoor in-person dining at restaurants, one of many restrictions re-imposed after record-shattering spikes in coronavirus cases in recent weeks. The council has not committed to following through on the bureaucratic expansion, but there remains the chance it finds value in federalizing itself from the county. “Local rule,” coined Councilman Ara Najarian, who advanced the idea.
Glendale is a step closer to forming a sustainability commission, with municipal staff members working on an ordinance to craft the panel at the direction of the City Council, which voted Tuesday on the matter. Though the potential commission’s goals aren’t yet set, David Jones, who was recently hired as Glendale’s first sustainability officer, suggested that it serve as an advisory board to the council on a variety of environmental subjects. Jones told council members that the commission could advise on topics including transportation, biodiversity, responses to climate change, air quality and environmental justice. Similar commissions in nearby cities, including Burbank and Pasadena, commonly help guide their city councils on these subjects, he explained, and also tend to handle community education.