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O’Rourke, City Manager Through Turbulent Times, Resigns

Kevin O’Rourke, who has held the city manager’s post for 11 years, resigned Monday.

O’Rourke, 45, will leave his job at the end of February to become city manager of Fairfield, which is midway between Sacramento and San Francisco.

He said that Fairfield’s reputation for progressive financial management and the challenge of heading a city that is growing at 4% per year persuaded him to accept the new job.

“Fairfield has an excellent reputation in our business,” said O’Rourke, who was city manager of Stanton from 1981 until he left for Buena Park in 1985. “Their financial system is renowned throughout the United States. From a professional viewpoint, it is a good opportunity. I’m very excited about it.”

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O’Rourke said he will be handling a $131-million budget, along with issues surrounding Travis Air Force Base and the rapid spread of both Sacramento and San Francisco.

In Buena Park, he has overseen a $38-million budget and felt constant pressure from drooping revenues that threaten to cause a $2-million deficit next year.

“It’s sad and it’s worrisome,” Mayor Art Brown said about O’Rourke’s resignation. “He was a good friend, and it’s going to be worrisome with labor negotiations coming up and the projected deficit.”

Brown lauded the manager for being fair and having “no hidden agenda.”

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“He always had the best interests of the city in mind,” Brown said.

O’Rourke prevailed over turbulent times, including the sale of the city’s Fire Department and the Orange County bankruptcy.

Early in the county’s 1994 debacle, he urged the city to reject the county’s settlement offer and to join the “Killer Bees,” those agencies that opted for Settlement B and sued the bond agencies on their own. To date, the city has recovered about 80% of the $28 million it had invested in the county pool before it collapsed.

O’Rourke said he will help the City Council get started with recruiting firms to search for a new manager. The experience will not be all bad, he added.

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“One of the things I’ve learned is that there is never a good time to leave,” he said. “There’s a good staff here and a council that’s new. This will bring the council even closer together because it’s one of the most important decisions they’ll make--hiring a new city manager.”


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