The Glendale City Council’s first meeting after Thanksgiving was both busy and bittersweet.
Jim Starbird attended his last City Council meeting as Glendale’s city manager on Tuesday. As he was called up to the podium, his City Council colleagues praised his many years of work.
“He has served this city for 13 years and served it well,” said Mayor Laura Friedman. “Certainly he has represented our city with dignity, a wonderful set of values, strength and wisdom.”
Mayor Friedman and Councilman Ara Najarian stepped up to the dais to present Starbird with a commemorative plaque and award.
“You’ve been a great mentor and benefit to this city,” said Friedman as she prepared to present Starbird with his plaque. “You’re going to be missed.”
“I think I speak for all my colleagues when I say we’ve had a lot of fun, felt a lot of pain [and] argued and been on the same side,” said Najarian. “But the important thing is that you’ve always put the interests of the residents of Glendale first and foremost – and I don’t think we can ask anything more from a city manager.”
“This is a rather surreal position for me to be in,” smiled a humbled Starbird. “At the reception yesterday, I found myself almost repeating the very same words I said here nearly 14 years ago. [I expressed] my sense of gratitude to the City Council [and] the many City Councils that I have worked for. But I found yesterday about the successes that Glendale has had over the last 14 years. I have to say, with all modesty, that those accolades should begin and end with the City Council. You all have the roughest jobs in the city. All of us [in the city staff] do get paid for our work, but you all get far less than what you deserve. Yet the responsibility begins and ends with all of you. I want to thank the Council that hired me, and I’ve always that faith and confidence that Council placed in me and future Councils continued to place in me.
“Few city managers in their young career think of the city they would like to have the opportunity to end their career in,” he added. “I did that almost 30 years ago – and it was Glendale. I had that opportunity to fulfill that dream not in a city like Glendale, but in the city of Glendale.”
Speaking of his successor, Scott Ochoa, Starbird praised Council for their “fine choice.”
“I’m even a little envious of him that he’ll be working with this fine organization,” he quipped.
Ochoa, currently serving the remainder of his term as Monrovia’s city manager, will succeed Starbird in January. Yasmin Beers, assistant city manager, will serve in the interim period.