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Burbank Mayor Says Manager, City Attorney Will Resign

Times Staff Writer

Burbank Mayor Mary Lou Howard said Friday that City Atty. William Rudell has said he will resign during a Burbank City Council executive session Tuesday.

Howard said the city also is working out details of the resignation of City Manager Andrew Lazzaretto. She said Lazzaretto told her that he could not work with the newly constituted council, and that an attorney for the city manager said Lazzaretto would resign soon.

Howard’s comments followed days of speculation around City Hall about the fate of Rudell and Lazzaretto, who have been criticized frequently by the new mayor. The jobs of both men were placed in jeopardy when three candidates endorsed by Howard defeated her two chief rivals on the council in the election last month.

Rudell, who was not available for comment late Friday, has repeatedly denied rumors that he would resign. Rudell said last week that the council had not asked him to quit, and that he had not talked with Howard about his role in the changing administration.

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Question of Severance Pay

But Howard said she spoke with Rudell late last month and that, “he told me he would prepare a letter of resignation. He said he felt it would be in his best interests.”

Rudell also told her that he wanted severance pay, “but that will have to be discussed in executive session by the council,” Howard said.

Lazzaretto would not comment Friday on Howard’s prediction.

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After the April 9 general election, when the three Howard allies defeated incumbent Mayor E. Daniel Remy and Councilman Larry Stamper, Howard had called on Rudell to resign before the council voted to fire him.

Howard has clashed repeatedly with Rudell during his three years as city attorney. The conflict was spotlighted during the campaign when Rudell forwarded to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office an allegation that Howard and her husband violated state law prohibiting conflicts of interest by public officials. The district attorney’s office ruled there was no evidence to support the allegation.

‘Philosophical Differences’

The council, including new members Mary Kelsey, Michael Hastings and Al Dossin, is scheduled to meet in executive session Tuesday morning. “We’re expecting Mr. Rudell to be in that executive session, and he knows we’re expecting his resignation at that time,” Howard said.

Howard said that, during her talks with Lazzaretto, Lazzaretto had told her that there were “philosophical differences between him and the new council.”

The mayor said details of Lazzaretto’s resignation are being worked out in negotiations with Lazzaretto’s attorney. She said Lazzaretto’s contract stipulated that he receive four months of severance pay if he were fired. Lazzaretto receives a yearly salary of $69,996.

Lazzaretto lost a job once before because of a political dispute. He was fired as city manager of Alhambra in January, 1983, during a squabble between the mayor and two other newly elected council members.

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The Burbank council met in executive sessions last week to discuss “personnel matters,” but council members declined to comment on the meetings. Kelsey said Friday that she could not confirm or deny Howard’s statements. Dossin said he had no information on the future of the two officials.

Howard said the resignations would be effective immediately. She said a senior assistant city attorney would run that office until a replacement is found. Assistant city manager George Nony will assume Lazzaretto’s post until another city manager is hired, she said.

Howard said the new City Council was a “people-oriented council,” and that both Rudell and Lazzaretto were not “people persons.” She complained that they had been rude to both staff and residents.


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