Good Bye City Manager Ochoa, You will NOT be Missed.
Mr. Ochoa’s tenure as City manager for Glendale was a turbulent one with Glendale citizens almost as soon as he started. Often Mr. Ochoa was condescending and insulting to the efforts, hard work, and engagement of Glendale citizens and activists. Mr. Ochoa took far too much credit for the accomplishments of Glendale and attributes very little to its citizens. He actively engaged in the politics of the city defending and buttressing arguments for council members who had voted for his employment or who had shown deference towards him. By doing so, he failed in his own definition of the city manager’s roll as the one simply puling the levers to accomplish goals set by council.
His behavior certainly did not correspond to his definition of his job. It was a feigned attempt at humility while at the same time caressing the ego of politicians who championed him. Alas, times have changed and the politicians who championed him are now a minority. He injected himself in the politics of the city and now he paid the price.
Make no mistake about it, Mr. Ochoa’s involvement in the city politics is what got him moving to another city. His pay differential is insignificant compared to the amount being paid for moving to Ontario CA. The Glendale Coalitions for Better Government was the catalyst that effectuated the shifting of the political landscape in Glendale. And by shifting the political landscape we are now seeing the beginning of those who have hitched their fortunes to the political careers of select council members and their diminishing influence.
There is a lesson to be learned from the experience of Mr. Ochoa, both for him and the next incoming city manager. Stay out of the city politics. Don’t pick sides between the public and the elected officials who are being questioned by the public. Elected officials should not need the city manager’s help and should be able to stand and fall based on their own knowledge of the issues of the city, commitment to the job they sought, and the diligence they put in doing their job. City managers should literally stick to pulling the levers and let the elected officials pull their own weight.