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City Manager's Office

 

Mark Scott
City Manager 
E: Scott_Ma@SBCity.org
P: (909) 384-5122
F: (909) 384-5138

290 North D Street
San Bernardino, CA 92401

Open Letter to the Community from the City Manager

As noted in The Sun, I have announced a retirement date in August that will take me from the City Manager job that I have come to love so much.  San Bernardino was looking for an Interim City Manager in late November of 2015 and I was asked to consider it.  I knew at the time, the Mayor & Council were not going to find any experienced city managers looking for long-term employment because everyone in the profession knew about the bankruptcy, the infamous political chaos at City Hall, and a pretty daunting public safety situation.  I was planning to retire at that time because my 40+ years in the State retirement system had left me in the disturbing situation that my retirement income is worth more than my salary.  But the events of December 2, 2015 inspired me.  I watched a community that demonstrated authentic character and grit far beyond what the general public expected.  You all care deeply about your community and it showed.  So I literally interviewed on December 3 and told the City Council that I would accept the job that no one else wanted, provided that I could have it for a year.  That meant further delaying retirement, but I thought we needed that time to get through bankruptcy, catch up on missing financial audits, hire new staff and establish more efficient management systems.  So, thanks to the blessing of the Mayor and City Council, I took on what I perceived as a “professional challenge” on a one-year, no severance contract.  No severance means they have the right to dismiss me at any time and for any or no reason.

That is how I got here.  My wife of 43 years lives in Rancho Mirage where she runs the Children’s Museum.  To do my job right, I said I wanted to live here to get a crash course in how San Bernardino works.  And I did not want to commute the 130 miles (3 hours) per day from the Desert.  So for the first year, I lived at the Castlepark Apartments five days per week, and went home to be with my very understanding wife on most weekends.  We rent a house there.  To make this financially possible for me, the City paid for about two-thirds of my San Bernardino rent, so I thank you all for that. 

But something very wonderful happened to me when I went out into this community and met people.  I fell head over heels in love with this town.  Rather than a “professional” opportunity, this became a very personal mission for me.  I have been treated so warmly everywhere I went.  I am proud to have played a role on a team that has worked within the community to achieve some real progress.  As of this week we are officially out of bankruptcy.  And two weeks ago, we got our employees and public out of a City Hall building that is, very regrettably, very unsafe seismically.   We didn’t need that, but you play with the cards you are dealt.  The public will never know what a monumental task it has been to move.  I hope you find the temporary facilities to your liking.  Our very service-oriented Mayor and Council have directed that the new offices will once again be open to the public 5 days per week, starting August 7.  You deserve that. 

We are implementing the new voter approved Charter which has made role definitions much clearer in our local government, and which will make it exponentially easier to hire your next City Manager and future department heads.  Please do not under-estimate the benefit a good governance system will have in attracting staff and even economic development.  And we do see new investment interest already.  The Theater Square Downtown Revitalization Project is going to generate exciting new retail and housing to bring life back to our Downtown.  Look at the successes already happening in that corridor – the beautiful new Loma Linda Gateway College, the new Transit Center, the highly sought after JCPenney new concept store, new Hospitality Lane businesses and more.  Our IVDA Airport economic opportunities are blossoming.  New development is happening  along the Waterman corridor, not the least of which is the great Arrowhead Grove housing development.  I could go on.  We keep saying, “San Bernardino is Open for Business.”  Once again.

But to me, the strength of this community is still its caring population.  As you know, our Police Department, as well as our San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office colleagues, are both heroic and inspired.  I know that this community will solve the violent crime issue because you care and because we have such competent men and women within Chief Jarrod Burguan’s department.  It is your caring that will ultimately solve this poverty-driven crime problem.  And I know this community will work to restore people services – parks and recreation, youth services, senior services, libraries, the arts, mental health and other social services.  The path is going to be long and hard, but I feel strongly this town has turned the corner. 

So why leave now?     Yes, it really hurts me to leave.  I love my co-workers at the City.  But everyone has his time.  Since my 1-year apartment lease ended in February, I moved home and now commute 130 miles per day.  I love living with my wife again!  But the drive is hard on a 67 year old man with too much on my mind to want to sit in traffic.  I need to spend more time with my 91 year old Mom in Fresno.  And maybe for the first time in 28 straight years in City Manager jobs, I need a short break.  I am comforted that one of my biggest achievements was hiring back Andrea Miller as my Assistant City Manager.  Talk about character – she was Acting City Manager at the front end of the bankruptcy in what I am told was a toxic political environment.  She eventually left, but asked to come back to lead the recovery.  She is brilliant and has tremendous support at City Hall.  The new management staff we are hiring deserve to know now that I will not be their future boss, but I am confident that Andrea’s reputation will encourage them.  So it is my time and I have only one thing I can say to this community.  Thank you from deep in my heart.  This has been a professional AND personal joy for me.  Thank you.

~ Mark Scott

Bio

Mark Scott has worked in the city management profession for more than 40 years, including 28 years as a city manager in six cities. Prior to San Bernardino, he most recently served as city manager in Burbank, California. He has also been city manager in his hometown of Fresno, California; Culver City, California; Spartanburg, South Carolina; and Beverly Hills, California, where he worked for 20 years, including 14 as city manager. He was the longest tenured city manager in Beverly Hills’ history.

Mr. Scott received a B.A. degree in political science from Fresno State University, and an MBA degree from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Following graduation from Stanford, he worked for American Airlines in Dallas/Ft. Worth during the airline deregulation period from 1980-1983. Among other assignments, he was Marketing Manager for the AAdvantage Frequent Flyer program when it was first introduced.

Professionally, Mr. Scott is a long-time member of the International City Management Association (ICMA), a former officer in the League of California Cities City Managers’ Department, and was a founding member of the City-County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA). He has served in various other professional and civic capacities.

Mark has been married to Carol Scott for 43 years. Mrs. Scott has worked on children’s education and women’s advocacy programs throughout the country. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert. The Scotts have two grown children.

What does the City Manager do?

In the 2016 general election, City of San Bernardino voters approved a new city charter providing for a Council-Manager form of government. Under this governance plan, which is common to most California cities, the elected Mayor and City Council appoints a full-time professional City Manager responsible for the day-to-day administration of city government. The City Manager’s Office provides overall management and supervision of designated city departments. The City Manager is the appointing authority and supervisor for most of the city’s department heads. 

The Mayor and City Council (the legislative branch) are responsible for setting City policy and allocating resources. The City Manager and staff (the executive branch) are tasked with recommending policy and implementing the Mayor and Council’s direction. The city departments which report to the City Manager include: Police, Community Development, Finance, Parks and Recreation, Public Works, Information Technology and Human Resources. The City Manager’s Office also includes staff involved in Economic Development, Communications, Housing and Successor Agency activity.

A City Manager works directly for the entire City Council and receives direction only from the full body, acting by majority vote, conducted at a publicly noticed meeting.

Links

Employment contract
Form 700 (Statement of Economic Interest)
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