Minutes from November 28, 2017 Open Board Meeting-Andrea Miller, SB City Manager

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Open Board of Directors Meeting

Norton Event Center
1601 E. Third St., Suite 138
San Bernardino, CA 92408



Present:  Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Tom Brickley, Ann Bryan, Mike Burrows. Ken Coate, Kevin Dyerly, Sandra Espadas, Carrie Gilbreath, Louis Goodwin, Scott Hofferber, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, Bill Lemann, P.T. McEwen, John Mirau, Dan Murphy, Brian Reider, Kristine Scott, Steve von Rajcs and Ray Wolfe. 

Guests: Matt Kane 

Announcements: 1) Members were reminded to let staff know if you are attending the holiday party that will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. 2) A holiday reception honoring the California Transportation Commission will be held on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 from 5-7p.m. at The Atrium at the Riverside County Administrative Center.  Inland Action is a co-sponsor of this event. 

M/S/P: Minutes of November 21, 2017.

Carrie Gilbreath introduced Andrea Miller, San Bernardino City Manager and Assistant City Manager Teri Ledoux.

The current goals and vision for San Bernardino City are aggressive and will need teamwork. Change will take time but the default of “it’s always been done this way” is now being questioned and challenged. Progress is steady but there are many areas that can run more efficiently.

The City experienced an exodus of key competent City staff during the bankruptcy. These leaders sited their departure based on the City needing a change in its culture which included changing the City Charter.  Since that time the community has done just that by voting to update the charter and their elected leaders.  The charter now, as it should, relies heavily on state law.

Ms. Miller is focused on bringing the best practices to the city. Siting the surrounding success of cities like Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario and Riverside, she believes there is no reason San Bernardino cannot be a world class city.  There is still a good deal of work to be done in educating and creating a better understanding for the City Council to change and embrace their prescribed role in City governance.  She has scheduled numerous Strategic Planning meetings that educate and stress hiring the right people and systems for the city’s needs.  The next planning meetings will focus on issues such as ethics and economic development.

The city is addressing code enforcement issues which are a major deterrent to developers and the cities profile, in addition to undermining the morale of its residents. To address this, the city has elevated code enforcement to a priority.  Increasing the monetarily fines to fix code violations have not been effective. Many land owners do not reside in the city or county and simply pay the fines but do not correct the problem. In order for real change, the penalties will need “teeth” which may include criminal misdemeanor charges for the habitual offenders in the future.

Other visual blemishes in the city that they are steadily working on include:

  • Graffiti
  • Lack of street lighting
  • Pot holes in the streets

The city’s has had a reduction of crime in the last year but the perception remains. Since losing hundreds of officers during the bankruptcy, they have hired 32 in the last two years.  They have also upgraded the department’s vehicles and equipment.  Now three years into their five year plan for the Police Department, they are ahead of scheduled goals.  They will continue to increase safety, and with time, will change the city’s negative reputation.

The city’s charter is much improved; however, some “hiccups” continue. One priority is the time consuming process of working through and the excessive set of municipal codes.  The codes attempt to address all situations, of which many are out dated and not applicable; creates an unnecessary bureaucracy; and causes a struggle for businesses to open and/or remain open. There is great potential for economic development with the amount of available land, but it is important to “fix” the codes before they talk to the council about attracting development. A page by page review is being undertaken.

The city will also begin work on a strategic plan. They must continue to move closer to a whole city view and get away from political thinking that is focused on the individual wards.  They look forward to developing a collective vison that includes the community.

The initial estimate of $24M to bring the San Bernardino City Hall building up to code is prohibitive at this time. The building has issues that include seismic retrofitting and compliance with ADA.  Recognized architecturally, the building is iconic for the city and county.  They will continue to seriously examine economically feasible options to update the facility.

San Bernardino continues to pay bankruptcy claims, is working within their $120M budget, and now has $30M in reserve.

There is a different political dynamic now. Moving forward, it will be critical to identify and elect the best candidates for the progress of San Bernardino to continue.

A Q & A period followed.

The meeting adjourned at 8:40 am.