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At an event designed like a Hollywood...

At an event designed like a Hollywood gala -- replete with

spotlights, a red-carpet entrance and former city manager Bud Ovrom’s

name on the marquee -- people attending Ovrom’s farewell dinner who

didn’t know his background got an earful.

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“He is, by far, the most obsessive-compulsive person I know,” said

Glendale City Manager Jim Starbird, who was Monrovia’s assistant

city manager when Ovrom was its city manager. “Coupled with that, he

is a tremendous hypochondriac.”

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The man who is credited with revitalizing Burbank gets regular

colonoscopies and full-body scans, Starbird revealed Monday at the

event at the Burbank Airport Hilton.

Starbird wasn’t the only one to roast Ovrom, who, after almost 18

years as Burbank’s city manager, started his new job as the head of

the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency on March 1.

Addressing a crowd of 400, master of ceremonies Jack O’Neill, an

NBC executive, wished the man of the evening success “as he drives

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across potholes to get to his new job.”

Police Chief Thomas Hoefel offered an alternative to naming a park

after Ovrom, as some officials have suggested. Pulling out blue

rubber gloves used by his officers during searches, Hoefel proposed

naming them for Ovrom, so officers would think of him in the line of

duty.

The jokes were mixed with kudos for Ovrom attracting businesses

and shopping hubs like the Empire Center. Such developments helped

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boost the city’s tax revenue after Lockheed Martin Corp. and other

aerospace companies left -- along with 20,000 jobs.

“Your visions and those supported by all the executives that

worked for you are now sprinkled all over this city in the form of

parks, new fire stations, housing projects, retail centers,

libraries, public art pieces, restaurants [and] performing art

centers,” Interim City Manager Mary Alvord said.

Alvord is negotiating a contract to take over as city manager.

Former mayor Bob Bowne highlighted Ovrom’s ability to build

consensus between council members and treat them all with dignity,

“no matter how obnoxious [and] self-destructive some of us have

been.”

In keeping with the evening’s splashy, show-biz theme, an

unannounced performance by the University of Southern California

marching band regaled Ovrom, an alumnus and big USC fan.

Among the farewell gifts bestowed upon the guest of honor were a

USC sweatshirt, multiple plaques, a photo collage of his

achievements, an honorary policeman’s badge and a firefighter’s ax --

the same as ones given to retiring firefighters.


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