Last Update: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The City of San Fernando Has A New City Manager PDF Print E-mail
Written by Diana Martinez   
Thursday, 13 March 2014 04:03


After a long search, the city of San Fernando has hired a city manager. For months, the position was filled by interim managers Don Penman and, more recently, Fred Ramirez who will return to his previous position as Community Development Director.

In a press release on Wednesday, March 12, the selection was publicly announced. “The San Fernando City Council selected Brian Saeki to be the next city manager. Mr. Saeki brings more than 17 years of local government and economic development experience, including Economic Development Manager in the City of Arcadia, Assistant City Manager and Community Development Director in the City of Rosemead, and most recently as Community Development Director in the City of Downey.”

“I’m honored to have been selected by the San Fernando City Council. The Council’s professionalism and commitment to make San Fernando a quality community makes this a very enviable place to be city manager,” Saeki was quoted to say in the release. “I’m looking forward to getting to know the community and help the City identify new economic development opportunities to continue the City’s efforts to make San Fernando a great place to work, visit, and live.”

Saeki will begin working for San Fernando on March 25. Ramirez said that all of the departments will be working cooperatively with the new city manager.

"It is a shared effort to right the city's ship financially," he said. The city of San Fernando currently has an estimated deficit of $1.4 million.

"There is a repayment of the grant fund and repayment of the self-insurance fund and some things would be in a better picture five years now and I think the city council is doing a good job in trying to get some of these issues addressed,” Ramirez continued. “We are making progress and I think in a staff report on March 3, there is a reference to $1.4 million as far as the existing deficit in the general fund, and staff is supposed to come up with additional measures to reduce their debt.”

When contacted by the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol, Saeki said, “First I need to acclimate myself to the City and the City to me. It’s as much a fit for me as everybody else. But from a business perspective, my first order is to address and work with the staff to overcome the structural imbalance that the City is operating in. That we try to figure out how the revenues and expenditures balance.” Previousl y, the city's top position has been changed to city manager from city administrator, changing the title and system of governance.

The city manager will oversee city departments and now have the power to hire and fire, which was previously the role of the city council.

“He [Saeki] is aware of where we are,” Ramirez explained. “We have a deficit and I think collectively the city is working toward reducing the deficit and eliminating the deficit but that will take some years. We've had debt from multiple years.”

Ramirez said demonstrating transparency and disclosing the city’s financial status “has been a priority for the city's current administration.”

The city has yet to hire a permanent police chief.