Looking back on her first 100 days as city manager, Mary Alvord said
her background with the city made the transition an easier one.
“Sometimes I think, ‘How could someone come from the outside and
figure out this maze of characters?’ ” Alvord said Monday.
Appointed by the City Council, the former assistant city manager
was sworn in March 25. She took over for Bud Ovrom, who spent 17
years as city manager before accepting a position as director of the
Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency.
A Burbank native, Alvord spent 33 years with the city before
becoming its chief executive. She was handed a budget that was
projected to be $9.5 million in the red, and she said the bulk of her
first 100 days was spent looking at necessary cuts.
With the financial situation expected to remain bleak for the next
few years, Alvord said her major goal would be to continue to
streamline local government.
“My legacy may not be brand-new projects just because we don’t
have the money,” she said. “My task is figuring out how we deliver
great service but scale back the budget.”
Several major projects in the works before Alvord’s tenure have
already come to some degree of fruition on her watch. In addition to
the groundbreaking of the Magnolia Power Project, Alvord has overseen
the opening of the AMC Entertainment Village -- which she believes is
a major piece of her goal to revitalize downtown.
“That’s really going to be a cornerstone to turning around
downtown,” she said.
After 100 days of working with Alvord, Councilman Jef Vander
Borght said he has absolutely no regrets about selecting her for the
“It’s been an uneventful transition, which means it’s been a good
transition,” he said.
While Alvord shares many of the same priorities as Ovrom, Vander
Borght said her leadership style is different.
“Mary is more careful and aware of others in a meeting -- she pays
deference to others,” he said. “Her style is more gentle.”
While she acknowledged that many would see her time as city
manager as an extension of Ovrom’s work, Alvord said she does not
mind the association because the city was already on the right track.
She gives much of the credit for the city’s success to the members
of the executive team.
“I look at the existing executive team as one of the finest casts
of stars ever assembled to manage a municipality,” she said.