January 7, 2013 in 2013 Issues By: Dave Emerson
(Los Alamitos 1/7/2013, by Dave Emerson, 1st 8 paragraphs added Tuesday morning, 1/8) It’s only been a year since Angie Avery took over the helm as Los Alamitos City Manager, but in some ways it seems like a lifetime.
She took over a highly divided City and City Council, inheriting a massive lawsuit resulting from the Council’s awarding the City’s trash franchise to the fifth highest bidder. Mid way through the year the Council erupted with charges and counter charges of Brown Act violations. The Council then switched into make-nice election mode at least for a while, while one member of the “Council Majority” fought for re-election and another decided not to run.
Finally the majority changed hands in a divisive year-ending meeting where the old majority held on to power until the last possible minute.
For the most part, our City Manager smiled, did her best and worked hard, remaining professional, accessible, & positive through it all.
With two newly elected Council Members pledged to building bridges and cooperation, I hoped the City had turned a corner and smoother sailing would be ahead for us all.
Just last night, as the Council went into a closed session that had something to do with Angie, I wrote:
The closed session could be huge or could be a tying up of loose ends with no reportable action. My money’s on the latter. . .
Guess I was wrong! Turns out that shortly after the first of the year Angie advised the Council that after long and careful consideration and 32 years in public employment that she felt the time was right to retire.
Knowing Angie, that was almost certainly a smart move.
In any case, after the Los Alamitos’ City Council’s closed session tonight Mayor Kusumoto announced that Los Alamitos’ City Manager Angie Avery was retiring effective March 1.
Avery began serving as City Manager just a year ago, on January 3, 2012, when Jeff Stewart took the position of Bellflower City Manager.
Avery was unanimously promoted from her former position as Director of Parks and Recreation to become City Manager in December of 2011, when she was given a three year contract at a salary of $170,000.
At the time she was appointed at least one Council Member told me the three year appointment should protect Avery’s independence and help her to be free to do what was in the community’s best interest.
Avery initiated the first-ever Council and Manager retreat early in 2012 in an effort to build unity.
Angie was accessible, dedicated, and generally helpful, but the job did appear to take a toll over the past year. I felt she enabled the City to make great progress during her first year of service as City Manager.
Her commitment, professionalism, positive attitude and knowledge of our community will be missed.
Hopefully the Council will pull together to find the right person to provide staff leadership to our town during this critical time.
Best wishes for your future, Angie! Of all the Los Al City Managers I interacted with personally, you were my favorite!
This morning I e-mailed several Council Members and citizens asking for their thoughts and perspective on Angie’s retirement. Council Member Dean Grose was the first to get back to me:
While I wasn’t involved in her period as a City Manager, I did interface with her on a Council level in her Parks and Rec. role and feel she set high standards and did an excellent job in team building.
I wished she would have continued but want to thank her on behalf of the current Council and those I know in the community. We all say” Thank You for your contributions.”