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'Guru of recovery' hired for the job

November 17, 2011

Bob Burnham, whose services in the 2005 Bluebird Canyon landslide were lauded by city officials, has been hired to deal with issues related to the December storms.

The City Council approved at its Nov. 1 meeting his continued employment for disaster-related services and to work on solutions for the burn dump above Sun Valley that was uncovered in the storms. Burnham has been working as special legal counsel to the city since the December deluge.

Burnham, a Bluebird Canyon resident, has more than 30 years of experience working in local government, as well as working with the federal and state emergency management agencies. He served as city attorney for Newport Beach before retiring and before becoming the Laguna's community recovery coordinator for the Bluebird slide.

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He has been called the city's guru of recovery.

The city will pay Burnham $75 an hour, which City Manager John Pietig said was very reasonable given Burnham's vast experience, particularly with disasters and the agencies with which the city must deal in the aftermath.

Burnham's pay will be covered by funds set aside to respond to the December storms or from the city's budget for legal services. The costs through this fiscal year are estimate to be less than $80,000.

— Barbara Diamond

Twitter: @CoastlinePilot

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