Community Magazine

Sierra Madre Change of Guard Punctuated by Departing Civic Leaders’ Advice

By Wonder

The standing-room only crowd at Tuesday’s City Council meeting filled Sierra Madre City Hall’s chambers expecting to witness an immediate and apparent shift in local governance.

But the changing of the guard for Sierra Madre’s civic leaders was punctuated more by its outgoing members’ departing comments than by the excitement of the new members taking their oaths.

“This new council is a very inexperienced one and will require the guidance and direction from the collective genius and common sense of the citizens of Sierra Madre, we the people,” said Councilwoman MaryAnn MacGillivray. “And I now join with all of you in that endeavor.”

Her experience serving on the Sierra Madre City Council for 12 years, and having been mayor twice, leaves the city with the biggest shoes to fill, according to former Mayor Kurt Zimmerman.

“To enumerate all of MaryAnn’s positive qualities would run longer than an old politician’s filibuster,” Zimmerman said, crediting MacGillivray for her part in balancing the city’s budget, completing municipal audits, implementing a paramedics program, and enacting ordinances that will continue to protect the community’s hillsides, canyons and air quality for generations to come.

Capitalizing on the public’s realization that the city was losing a vigilant leader to watch and manage the community’s affairs, resident Fay Angus, affectionately regarded as Sierra Madre’s “best stateswoman,” said it is MacGillivray who has accomplished the most for which local citizens should be most grateful.

“MaryAnn MacGillivray has proven outstanding in the character of her integrity, her steadfast commitment to the truth when others have distorted and compromised it, and her devotion to our community,” said Angus. “We admire you, we salute you in the annals of the history of our city; you merit our highest esteem.”

In her outgoing comments, MacGillivray simply noted that her service was done in the interest of protecting the integrity of her foothill village. “I recognize the necessity for discipline and prudence in dealing with public finance, and offered creative and alternative solutions to problems because I never forgot that we were spending the people’s money,” she said.

Also outlining the weight of responsibility that would soon be placed on their shoulders, outgoing Mayor John Buchanan offered the newly-elected council members slightly different and progressive advice, asking them not to imitate their predecessors.

“So, to John Harabedian, John Capoccia, Chris Koerber, and to Josh and Nancy, you have a future full of challenges, but you have the tools, the staff, the information for which to make your mark and in which to do good,” he said. “You will preserve our town and our sense of community best by bringing new ideas to the board.”

Realizing the need to fill there predecessors’ big shoes, the newly sworn-in council members took immediately to the one item of business left on the meeting’s agenda, hoping to settle the matter before adjourning for a highly anticipated reception filled with cake and refreshments.

The council briefly discussed the Aquatic Center lease agreement with Waterworks Aquatics, which would, according to staff reports, help save money out of the city’s budget. Director of Community and Personnel Services Elisa Weaver recommended that the City Council enter into a lease agreement with Orange County-based Waterworks Aquatics for a term of 28 months, which would offset a projected $100,000 deficit due to the reallocation of staff salaries and operational costs.

Even though the lease agreement includes Waterworks paying the city $5,000 a month, Weaver said a single staff position would have to be eliminated to save the whole $100,000. “We continually work and strive to provide the best quality services that we can at affordable options for our residents, but unfortunately we’re just not making a profit off the Aquatic Center,” Weaver said prior to the council voting to approve the recommendation 5-0.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Buchanan presented retiring City Treasurer George Enyedi with certificates of recognition from California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, and the City of Sierra Madre, all commending Enyedi for his faithful service to the city and his demonstration of civic pride.

Newly-elected City Treasurer Richard Mays and re-elected City Clerk Nancy Shollenberger were sworn in, both of whom ran unopposed in the Apr. 10 election. Shollenberger was first elected as city clerk in 1984 and has served in this office ever since. She said it would be her last term as city clerk. “It is time to retire, travel, enjoy my family, and hopefully a man in my life,” she said with a laugh. “What an honor it has been to serve you the last 28 years.”

In further reorganization of the council, Mayor Pro-Tem Josh Moran was appointed mayor and Councilwoman Nancy Walsh was selected as mayor pro-tem.

Moran thanked residents who had both supported and failed to support him since being elected to the City Council in 2010, reiterating the ongoing theme of the evening that major work lay ahead for everyone. “We do have challenges, but I know that we will greet them with creativity, thoughtfulness, and like true Sierra Madreans with a lot of hard work,” said Moran.

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