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Ovrom picked to lead L.A. agency

Laura Sturza

The mood at City Hall remained gloomy Friday following the news

that City Manager Bud Ovrom has accepted another job.

“I’ve worked for him for almost 18 years ... and I’ve just been in

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tears ever since I heard that he was leaving,” said Kathy Barcus,

Ovrom’s secretary. “I see how devoted he is and how important Burbank

is to him.”

Ovrom was picked to lead in the revitalization of the city of Los

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Angeles as the head of its Community Redevelopment Agency -- a task

officials say he excelled at in Burbank.

“Bud meets all of the qualifications -- his creativity in Burbank,

his reputation as being one of the best city managers and his ability

to work with communities,” L.A. City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel said

of the decision to hire him.

The Burbank City Council is scheduled to discuss the process for

replacing Ovrom at its Tuesday meeting. Assistant City Manager Mary

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Alvord is expected to be the acting city manager when Ovrom leaves at

the end of February.

The L.A. agency’s board approved Ovrom, 57, as its chief executive

officer Wednesday, choosing him from a national pool of 50

applicants.

Ovrom joked that accepting the post is probably the result of

“some genetic defect -- I’m excited by challenges.”

The search committee sought a CEO to work with the mayor’s office,

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15 council districts, politicians, developers and communities in

rebuilding blighted areas, including parts of San Pedro, Watts and

North Hollywood, said Shu Kwan Woo, vice chairman of the agency’s

board. Ovrom’s redevelopment, management and economic development

experience were also selling points.

Ovrom said L.A. Mayor James Hahn told him his priority is

“housing, housing, housing.”

By building housing for different income levels, people will be

able to work closer to where they live, traffic will be relieved and

jobs will be created, Ovrom said.

“Housing is the only segment of the economy where demand outstrips

supply,” Ovrom said.

Of his chief accomplishments in Burbank, Ovrom cites leading the

city’s transition after Lockheed Martin Corp. and other aerospace

companies left -- depleting Burbank of 20,000 jobs. Ovrom helped to

fill the void by attracting studio-related businesses as well as

shopping hubs -- including the Media City Center, Empire Center and

Costco -- which helped boost the city’s tax revenue.

The L.A. City Council is expected to approve Ovrom’s appointment

next week.


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