By Mary O’KEEFE
Glendale City Manager Jim Starbird announced his retirement on Wednesday. When Starbird leaves the position in December he will have been with the city for about 14 years.
“It is a good time [to retire],” Starbird said. “I am at the age where my children are having children.”
Starbird said he and his wife have been contemplating his retirement for awhile but the timing wasn’t right until now.
“I didn’t want to leave in difficult budget throws,” he said.
The economy seems to be a little brighter, retailers are doing better and the city is seeing development interest, he said.
“We have had some rough budget years, this next will be easier,” Starbird said.
He admits it will be a slow uphill grind but signs seem to point to recovery.
The city manager leaves behind a 30-year career that included positions in Monrovia, West Covina and finally Glendale.
All the cities where he has worked were within a reasonable driving distance and in the same county – unusual traits for city managers, he said.
Throughout his career in Glendale, Starbird has seen big and small developments, fires and metro accidents. In the good and the bad times he said Glendale is still his dream job.
“I will miss everything,” he said. “[Glendale city] is an organization that works well and during those difficult times you see what people are made of.”
He will miss the people and organizations he has worked with over the years but the one thing he won’t miss are the Tuesday night city council meetings.
“I won’t be coming back for [the meetings],” he said.
He did like working with the city councilmembers through the tough debates and occasional agreements, adding that although the councilmembers would not always agree their focus was always for the betterment of the city.
“Jim Starbird is one of the finest city managers in the state and his departure will be deeply felt. Under his administration, Glendale has weathered the country’s most severe economic downturn in decades and he has been instrumental in overseeing the consolidation of departments and services that will benefit us well into the future,” stated Mayor Laura Friedman.
A transplanted northern Californian, Starbird earned his Bachelor of Science from Humboldt Sate University and started his career in Eureka. He moved to Southern California in 1976 and received his master’s degree from the University of Southern California.
“I am staying here. My sons and their families live here,” he said.
He doesn’t have any plans after retirement. He may do some consulting but doesn’t see himself working with a city. He does know he will be spending time with family, especially his grandchildren.