In reflecting on an entire professional career for the city of Glendale, which culminates in October and is capped by nearly three years as the city’s chief executive, Yasmin Beers recalled telling the City Council when it hired her that this wasn’t the sort of thing that happens by chance.
For starters, she said she had her parents — who “immigrated to the United States for a better life for their daughters” — to thank, alongside her sister, who often took care of Beers’ children while she or her husband were working. Beers also, of course, had to thank her husband, not least because being a city manager means you’re always on call and routinely being contacted by council members or administrators.
And speaking of those administrators, plus Beers’ “partner in crime,” City Attorney Michael Garcia:
“It doesn’t happen by chance to have an unbelievable executive team who are dedicated to their craft and the city of Glendale,” she told the council on Tuesday. “I had very much the pleasure of appointing seven of them to the position of executive in the last three years. For these individuals who came to be a part of the city organization — some were from outside of the organization, some from within — making sure that they were part of the larger team was something that was important to them.”
Hired in February 2018 as Glendale’s first female city manager, Beers first joined the organization in 1987 when she was in high school, working part time for the city’s library department. She progressively worked her way up the ladder here for the duration of her career and was assistant city manager when she got the top job. She had served as interim city manager for three months when that happened.
“Public service is a sacred calling,” she said. “Being a public servant is service before self-interest. I hope I made a small impact during my time here. Having had the opportunity to be a little part of the city organization in a community that I so very much love is a high honor, one I will always cherish.”
The Glendale Chamber of Commerce in 2011 recognized Beers as its Woman of the Year; in 2013, she was the recipient of the Armenian American Woman of Excellence Award; in 2014, she was recognized by the Glendale Educational Foundation for her distinguished service and philanthropic efforts; in 2015, YWCA awarded her with the Heart & Excellence Award; in 2017, she was recognized by Business Life magazine as a Women Achiever; and in 2018, state Sen. Anthony Portantino named her among his Woman of the Year.
The council on Tuesday appointed Beers’ own assistant city manager, Roubik Golanian, to begin serving as interim city manager starting Oct. 17, after Beers’ ultimate departure. He himself has spent 20 years with the city, working primarily as an engineer in and director of the public works department. The council will decide on its next steps at a later date.
“The tone that is set at the top of the organization is key to the success of the city,” Beers said. “We have an organization of dedicated staff, providing services to 200,000-plus people — who live here, who play here, who work here, who visit us — providing service above self with heart and soul.”
It’s clear the council will miss Beers, with Mayor Vrej Agajanian perhaps half-facetiously offering her her job back after the acclaim rolled in. Agajanian, along with Councilwoman Paula Devine and Councilman Ara Najarian, were part of the team that hired Beers.
“The city is grateful for your commitment and contributions to the community and, on behalf of my colleagues and myself, we wish you and your family the very best,” the mayor said.
Devine called the change a “bittersweet moment,” saying she was both happy for Beers for committing to many retirement years to spend with her family and also unhappy for leaving the government “so soon.”
“I had hoped you would stay on for a little while longer, but I guess it was just not meant to be,” Devine said. “I’ve enjoyed working with you all of these years. You’ve done a great job and I’m so proud of you being a woman and achieving that position. That’s very important these days.”
Najarian said he’d hoped for at least a few more years of working together to keep improving their city.
“Oh, Yasmin, it wasn’t supposed to end this way,” he quipped. “You’ve spent many decades with the city, so even though you’re very young now, let’s all remember you started when you were probably a teenager or not much older than that. Your commitment to the city is beyond question. Your contributions will ring on for decades to come. I just hate to see you go, but I know you’ll be rooting for us Tuesdays watching us on GTV6.”
Councilman Ardy Kassakhian only joined the council this year, but worked closely with Beers beforehand as the elected city clerk.
“You truly have left your mark on this city,” he said. “It wouldn’t be what it is today without your hard work and contributions in every department, from having started at a young and early age and dedicated your prime years to the city and service to the public.”
Also having joined the council this year, Councilman Dan Brotman nevertheless could relate to also being a one-time retiree.
“Retirement is awesome, if it lasts,” he said. “Whatever happens, the world is big and there are endless opportunities, so take your time, explore before you settle on what your next challenge is going to be, because there are twists and turns in life, and you don’t know where you might possibly end up.
“Now you get to write scathing emails telling us everything we’re getting wrong,” Brotman added, “and I look forward to getting those from you.”