String of Resignations Worries City (San Gabrial Valley Tribune 083106)
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.
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The string of Resignations grow fear into the city council's Hears and minds? why? Well it looks like the biggest reason that is sited as to why the New Chief Mark Kling left Baldwin Park and came here to Rialto was because of the Benefit Package!! Kind of makes you stand back and go HUMMM....What do you think the Police Officers that are currently working for Rialto that are on Probation going to do. They have gotten the best Training ever, because they will never have to work this hard for any other city that they work for, so when they get off their Probationary status they will think long and hard about that 3% @ 50 Retirmenent Plan, See the longer that they stay and work for Rialto's 2% @50 or 55 I am not even sure of what the cut off is for the 2% but I Know that they should be worried about loosing most of the people that they have because they don't have the current Retirment system. Having the New Chief is great and everything, but if he doesn't Back the Police Officers on this they might not back him so well.
I am just saying that Rialto should think about this. Think about the Three percent at Fifty Reteirement plan, for the employee's because sooner or later they will start to think about that. Riverside Police Department Officers will not go to Rialto PD, because they don't want to give up that retirement that they are currently getting. I don't Blame them one bit!!