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NEWS
By Barbara Diamond | October 13, 2011
The economy in Laguna Beach could be on the upswing, if the number of building permits issued by the city is any indication. A total of 1,369 building permits have been issued so far this year, 169 more than for the same period in 2010. The estimated cost of construction in the first nine months of 2011 was $6,114,758, with a total valuation of $45,051,344. That's compared to estimates of $4,870,960 a year ago, with a total valuation of $39,489,360. "The numbers are positive," said City Manager John Pietig.
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NEWS
September 29, 2011
The following is from the Sept. 20 City Council meeting: * Consent Calendar Consent calendar items are approved unanimously in one motion unless a member of the city council, staff, or public "pulls" the item, which then requires opening it up for public comment and a separate vote. Among the items approved unanimously: •Denial of a claim filed by Temple Terrace resident Ursula Adams for flood damage allegedly due to lack of maintenance of storms drains and faulty grading.
NEWS
By Barbara Diamond, coastlinepilot@latimes.com | August 25, 2011
Information about city employees' salaries are easier to find after the Orange County Grand Jury in June dinged the city for its lack of transparency. The information, which was formerly available but scattered on the city's website , has been consolidated into a single-page format, with hyperlinks to help folks more easily find salaries and benefits. But that doesn't mean the city agreed with all of the Grand Jury's conclusions or recommendations. "It is important to question the amount spent on personnel and municipal services to ensure they are appropriate in the light of a city's particular service demands, the market, local economy and community preferences," said City Manager John Pietig.
NEWS
August 12, 2011
Christa Johnson has been appointed the new assistant city manager of Laguna Beach, according to the weekly update from City Manager John Pietig. She will start her new job Sept. 6. She is taking over the position that was previously held by Pietig. Johnson comes to Laguna after spending the last five years as the assistant town manager for the city of Windsor, north of San Francisco. She has also been assistant to the city manager of Alameda. She received a bachelor's degree in political science from UC Santa Barbara and a master's degree in public administration from San Francisco State University.
NEWS
By Barbara Diamond, coastlinepilot@latimes.com | May 12, 2011
The city will host a public budget workshop and hearing at 6 p.m. Tuesday during the City Council meeting, with a second hearing set for June 21, when the council is expected to approve the 2011-12 budget. Laguna Beach is in better financial shape than most cities in California, but city officials shouldn't be jumping for joy, City Manager John Pietig wrote in the introduction to the draft budget he sent to the City Council on April 29. The city has not laid off any employees or made significant reductions in services in the past two years and doesn't plan to this coming fiscal year, but the nearly $66-million 2011-12 draft budget is based on tight purse strings, staff reductions through attrition, no state incursions and no local disasters, Pietig wrote.
NEWS
By Barbara Diamond, coastlinepilot@latimes.com | March 10, 2011
City Manger John Pietig is allowing the Police Department to fill a position he had originally frozen because the police chief had already offered it by letter. Other positions will not be affected by the reversal. "The officer was given the letter about the same time I had indicated a freeze in the position," Pietig said. "When I learned about the letter, I felt the appropriate thing to do was to follow through with the offer. However, we will hold other positions vacant as we evaluate the [2011-12]
NEWS
By Barbara Diamond, coastlinepilot@latimes.com | March 3, 2011
The Police Department needs more officers to protect the public, according to Laguna Beach Police Employee Assn. President Larry Bammer. Bammer pleaded with the City Council on Tuesday to unfreeze hiring for the department and prove that public safety is its top priority. "In the past two years, the residents and business owners in Laguna Beach have lost three police officers who would be patrolling the streets," Bammer said. "Now there are two more positions open through retirement that may not be filled.
NEWS
By Barbara Diamond, coastlinepilot@latimes.com | January 13, 2011
Since his 66th birthday when Ken Frank announced his retirement as city manager, he has been the talk of the town. Who would replace him? Who could replace him? How would he be replaced? His contributions to the city were lauded. His flaws — he was known to lose his temper occasionally, and he was sometimes abrupt with staff — were dissected; his skills applauded. An intensely private man, Frank spent almost half of his life in a very visible job. For 31 years, he maneuvered the city — and some said the City Council — through good times and bad. And there were some really bad times: the county bankruptcy, landslides, fire, the dreadful loss of lives to AIDS, state raids on local revenue to balance its own budget, and near mutinies in the police, fire and marine safety departments.
NEWS
By Barbara Diamond, coastlinepilot@latimes.com | December 23, 2010
Revisions to housing assistance agreements with key city personnel — whose duties can be handled more effectively if they live in the city — were approved by the City Council at the Dec. 7 meeting. The agreements cover the ownership of homes shared by the employees and the city. They differ as the format for the ownership program has evolved during the past 10 years. However, each of agreements has benefitted the city, according to retired City Manager Ken Frank, ensuring the availability of adequate emergency response personnel.
NEWS
By Barbara Diamond, coastlinepilot@latimes.com | December 23, 2010
When City Manager Ken Frank retired, his longtime assistant Carol Bright wasn't far behind. Bright's last official day on the job was Dec. 15, three days after her boss ended his 31-year career in Laguna. She worked for Frank for 16 ½ years. "She was absolutely the perfect person for the position with Ken," City Clerk Martha Anderson said. "She handled every situation — regardless of what it was — with aplomb. " Bright, whose always-smiling face lighted up the City Manager's outer office, was unflappable when dealing with her boss, known to be demanding upon occasion — a description she would never voice — or confronted with some of Frank's more obstreperous visitors.
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