Burbank City Council decided on Monday that the best person to fill a vacant seat on the dais would be someone who has been there before.
After interviewing eight candidates, council members unanimously voted during a special meeting to appoint Timothy Murphy to finish the term of the late Councilman Will Rogers, which ends April 30, 2019.
However, should an upcoming ballot measure — Measure V — be approved by voters during the June 5 election, Murphy will have his term extended by 18 months to move the city's election to align with the state election.
Murphy, who was a Burbank council member from 1989 to 1993, said Tuesday morning that it is an honor to continue the work that Rogers started three years ago. The councilman-select added that he admired Rogers' courage and dedication to the city after he publicly announced his battle with stage-4 liver cancer.
"If they had diagnosed me with stage 4 [cancer] and not knowing how long I was going to live, I would have been out of here on the beach somewhere," Murphy said. "For him to stick around and spend his last hours with us really moved me a lot."
During his interview Monday night, Murphy said the top three issues in Burbank are an impending budget deficit, improving and maintaining the city's infrastructure and increasing voter participation and interaction with the City Council.
When asked about which infrastructure and capital projects should be addressed, Murphy said streets, as well as the city's sidewalks, need to be maintained. Additionally, he said the Starlight Bowl is an asset that should be maintained.
On Tuesday, Murphy said his goal during his time on council will be to see Burbank grow, not out of control, but in a smart and planned manner that will help boost the economy in the city.
"I'm all about reasonable and planned growth that makes sense," he said. "I think we need to say what do we want, where do we want it and be upfront with the development community so that they're not sabotaged when they come up to the council and find out that the residents don't want it."
Although Murphy was the candidate the City Council ultimately selected, there were two other finalists who council members highly considered for the position.
John Bwarie, executive director of the San Fernando Valley Council of Governments, said during his interview that addressing the anticipated budget deficit, maintaining the same level of service to residents during the city's expected economic hardship and creating sustainable housing were the top issues he thought Burbank is facing.
He suggested the city consider using a zero-based budgeting system to see what expenses and services were absolutely necessary, and added that the city should start looking at different ways of creating revenue sources.
The other finalist, Carolyn Jackson, was focused on the budget deficit, housing density and city services. In order to address those issues, Jackson, a 34-year employee with the city of Los Angeles and a longtime volunteer in Burbank, suggested the city start making difficult but necessary cuts to the budget.
Jackson added that, although traffic may be a nuisance to residents, congested streets are a good sign regarding the city's vitality.
Murphy is scheduled to be legally sworn in by the city clerk this week, and he will be formally sworn in before the public during the May 22 meeting.