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Burbank city clerk faces election contest

Burbank city clerk faces election contest
Interim Burbank City Clerk Zizette Mullin faces two challengers in the February primary election.
(Courtesy of Zizette Mullins campaign)

The office of city treasurer is one race Burbank residents won’t have to worry about, with Debbie Kukta — the former school board member who was appointed to fill the vacated post — facing no opposition for her seat. Interim City Clerk Zizette Mullins, however, will face two challengers in the Feb. 26 primary, Nonna von Sonn and Maria Gloria Salas.

Mullins was also appointed to fill the vacancy, and so is running for the first time.


Zizette Mullins


Age: 50

Occupation: interim Burbank city clerk

Zizette Mullins was appointed as Burbank city clerk in June after a 25-year career working in multiple departments for the city of Glendale.

In Glendale, the 30-year Burbank resident served as the community relations coordinator and held positions in the finance, economic development and the city’s utility.


Prior to that, Mullins worked as a banker at Wells Fargo in Burbank.

When former City Clerk Margarita Campos retired early, the vacant post “was a great opportunity to say, ‘I’m coming home again,’” Mullins said.

“My love has always been being a public service employee,” she added.

Mullins — who immigrated to the United States from Egypt at 13 — touted her experience working with diverse communities.

In the past, she’s served on Burbank’s Civil Service Board and the Human Relations Council.

In 2006, Mullins — who holds a bachelor’s degree in business management — and her family opened the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Burbank, which they operated for six years.

Nonna von Sonn


Age: 55

Occupation: Executive assistant in the city’s Financial Services Department

Nonna von Sonn moved to Burbank about 15 years ago and has worked for the city the last 10 in assisting the finance department and City Council.

As an executive assistant in the Financial Services Department, von Sonn’s duties include time-keeping, departmental record-keeping, scheduling and working with the public.

The single mother raised three children in Burbank. While her children attended Burbank schools, she joined the PTA and headed the Baseball Booster Club.

She currently serves on Burbank’s Relay for Life Committee, and in the past, served on the city’s Centennial Committee.

She touted her experience modernizing Thomas Jefferson Elementary’s library as the school’s librarian in 1998 — her first job after moving to Burbank — where she digitized resources and materials and restructured the layout to be more accessible to children.

She subsequently worked as an office manager for a real estate company, and later dabbled in the market after getting licensed.


If elected, von Sonn’s goals include maintaining the city clerk’s role as the “window to the city,” she said.

“When I was in college, I used to think I wanted to be an ambassador to another country,” she said. “Now I would like to be ambassador for Burbank of good will and integrity.”

Maria Gloria Salas

Age: 58

Occupation: Office administrator at a law firm

Maria Gloria Salas — a 14-year Burbank resident — manages office operations for the Polsinelli Shughart law firm, which specializes in municipal law.

After working for different law firms for more than 30 years, Salas said she’s well-versed in election law and the Brown Act, and emphasized her ability to interact with the public.

“I’m a hard worker, I’m organized, detail-oriented,” she said.

Her interest in public service kicked in early after she volunteered at polling locations for presidential elections in the 1960s and ‘70s.

During the holiday season, she collects food and puts together holiday gift baskets for needy families on behalf of the Burbank Coordinating Council. She’s also served on the Burbank Human Relations Council.

Salas noted that since she comes from the private sector, she’d be joining the city after the state law that scales back the public cost of employee pensions kicks in.

“I would be coming with really no pension for them to meet,” Salas said. “I’m a bargain. Aside from my qualifications, I’m still a bargain.”


Debbie Kukta

Age: 54

Occupation: Burbank city treasurer

Debbie Kukta — the sole candidate for city treasurer — was appointed to the interim post in June after former City Treasurer Donna Anderson retired with a year left on her term.

Prior to the appointment, she served on the Burbank Unified School Board and was president of Glendale-based property-management company, KO Properties.

“This job just seems like it was meant for me,” Kukta said, adding that the lack of competition has given her a head start on planning her next four years in office. “I feel a little more relieved and comfortable making changes because I know I’ll be able to see them through.”

Her main goals include using technology — such as implementing a remote deposit system and fraud-prevention software — to streamline city processes.

Kukta has served on the Verdugo Workforce Investment Board — which identifies job and training opportunities for Burbank, Glendale and La Cañada Flintridge residents — since 1999.


Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.