By Nisha Gutierrez San Gabrial Valley Tribune 083106
BALDWIN PARK - The latest resignation from a member of the city's executive team has left some city officials concerned about the lack of permanent directors running Baldwin Park.
Matthew Lamb, the city's head of the community development department, submitted his resignation letter Aug. 21 and will be in Baldwin Park until Sept. 21. He has been with the city since January.
Lamb's resignation follows that of former Police Chief Mark Kling who quit earlier this month to take the top spot at the Rialto Police Department.
Baldwin Park officials said the finance, public works, human resources and police departments are now managed by interim directors. However, the city plans on making its interim police chief, Edward Lopez, permanent once contract negotiations are completed.
Lamb could not be reached for comment Monday but Kling said he left for a better opportunity.
Mayor Manuel Lozano said the string of resignations is raising questions.
"I will be requesting a formal investigation into these occurrences to be able to address particular concerns and issues," he said.
Councilwoman Marlen Garcia said she is also worried about the resignations and called Lamb "a tremendous loss for the city."
"We are out there recruiting people but they see all the challenges taking place at City Hall and no one wants to touch Baldwin Park," Garcia said. "I truly believe this is another example of upper management at City Hall that has been ineffective."
Vijay Singhal, the city's chief executive officer, attributes the shortage of permanent directors and spike in resignations to competitiveness.
"The city has had a very hard time recruiting department heads in the past," Singhal said. "The finance director position has been vacant for almost two years and before Matt Lamb, community development was vacant for a long time, the problem is we are not able to attract quality candidates and it's been that way for a long time, not just recently."
Singhal said permanent employees are hard to find because Baldwin Park has been perceived as unstable for many years and more importantly because the city is not willing to pay competitive wages.
"The chief left because he got a very good job that pays very well and it offers more civil service protection," Singhal said. "As for Lamb he said he is going to the private sector and they pay so much more."
Other city officials agree the reason for employees leaving has to do with money.
"It's tough being in a city like Baldwin Park where you provide great training for people that work in the public sector and then private sectors offer to pay them more than we can ... it's about private sectors swooping in and taking our people," Councilman Anthony Bejarano said. "They got offers they could not refuse and I doubt it has anything to do with city management."
Most city officials maintain having interim directors does not negatively affect the way the city operates because the people in the interim positions are highly qualified, but they say they would still like to find out why people are leaving Baldwin Park.
"I am concerned as mayor of Baldwin Park about what's going on and I hope it stops," Lozano said.
(626) 962-8811, Ext. 2109
It seems since the chief left and there was many others that left Baldwin Park too, it is a possibility that they don't pay enough. The city is about the size of Rialto, maybe a little smaller in square footage, but Population it is about the same. They have quite a few businesses that sustain them, but that isn't even enough anymore. It is almost like these city's have to have a Sugar Daddy. Rialto has a small company that is located in the Southern end that brings in the most Money to their budjet. They are an Oil Distributer, located on the corner of South Industrial Rd. and Riverside ave. Back in 1993 or 1994 there was an explosion there that killed one of the employee's. Seems there was an affair that was not approved of and there was a boobie trap set. Rialto PD was forced to take their Best Homicide Investigator who was out of the detective division at the time, he was promoted to Sgt. and they gave the case to him becuase he had so many clearances. He cleared that case almost a week.
Getting back to the City, needing money. They have to have a small business that cleans up and pays good taxes, so that the city can pay higher wages to the people that matter. Look at Rialto. They pay the City Attorney a dollar or two under 3/4 of a million dollars. and the city administrator makes almost the same amount. The Police Chief of rialto makes $160,000 a year. It takes me almost six years to make what the chief of police makes in one year!! And he does less work then the uniform Police Officer. The Sargent on Patrol at Rialto used to complain that the job that they had was the boringest job ever becuase it was so easy and there was nothing for them to do. while the Uniform Patrol Officer at the time was writing up to 5 to 7 reports a day, some were up to five pages hand written, and they would complain all the time to the people that they were supervising that they had the easiest job in the world. The two Sargents that said all this are gone now, but it was sure demeaning when they did such things.