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.
“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.”
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
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
The jokes were mixed with kudos for Ovrom attracting businesses
and shopping hubs like the Empire Center. Such developments helped
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
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.