The situation at Westminster City Hall is as fractious as it’s been in decades. City staff has been gutted by financial problems and political battles on the city council, recall campaigns are practically as perennial as the Angels posting losing records and ethnic fissures are ever-present.
But there’s one facet of city leadership that’s been – as far as we can tell – beyond rancor, and that’s the work done by interim City Manager Christian Cordon.
She came to Westminster as assistant city clerk in 2016 and took the city clerk job in 2018 on the death of Amanda Jensen. As the new city clerk (and communications director) she has demonstrated a deft hand, being competent, friendly, candid and accessible. When the city council, going through the spasms generated in part by whipsaw re-alignment, stumbled through the process of picking a new city manager, it finally landed on a smart choice: Cordon.
The city’s top leadership has been in turmoil for years. Eddie Manfro resigned in February 2020 – and who could blame him? – and then-city finance director Sherry Johnson took on the role of “acting city manager” while a search allegedly began for a permanent top city executive.
After a few months the council majority came up with a name – Chuong Chu Thai – who would have been the first Vietnamese American to serve in that kind of role in the U.S.
But a close look at his resume showed he had fired from management positions in Monterey Park and Stanton, and he was dropped like third-period French (see “Good Will Hunting” for the reference).
A supposed “national search” for a new city manager ended up by elevating Marwan Youseff, the public works director and city engineer, to the top spot. He was clearly out of his depth, and stumbled badly by hiring former councilmember Tyler Diep to serve as a lobbyist without informing the council.
He “retired” as city manager after six months. Cordon became “acting city manager” (and now “interim”) in September 2021 and has impressed many observers. There’s supposed to be another “national search” process for a permanent replacement, but why bother? Westminster has had four city managers in two years. It appears to us that they may have finally found the right person already there at 8200 Westminster Blvd.
Unmasking the unmasked man
The fellow who prompted the adjournment of the Feb. 15 meeting of the Garden Grove Unified School District Board of Education meeting by refusing to either a) wear a mask or b) leave, has come forward.
He’s Ian Jameson, who says he is founder of Los Angeles Leftists for Choice and Unity. We believe he is the same fellow who protested a vaccination mandate for employees of the Los Angeles Unified School District in October and protested outside a meeting of the Orange Unified School District school board in January.
He’s been photographed at both events wearing a “Bernie” T-shirt, presumably referring to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont). What would Bernie say?
“Usually Reliable Sources” is usually posted on alternate weeks, switching places with Jim Tortolano’s “Retorts” column, but – hey – we’ve been busy.