After budget deliberations concluded Monday, Mayor Steve Del
Guercio made a point to praise Alexander for his diligence and hard
work during the budget process, a sentiment echoed by the rest of the
council. Council members consider Alexander a budget whiz, and they
seemed impressed by his presentation of the 2003-04 budget, which
included an additional reduction budget to account for potential loss
of revenues due to the state budget crisis.
"One of the things that was evident as we went through the budget
process is how smoothly it was done and how well Mark Alexander did,"
Councilman Anthony Portantino said. "We haven't missed a beat. He's
been a great asset to the community."
City staffers were also impressed by Alexander's work lately, and
one important staff member gave Alexander an impromptu endorsement to
the council on Monday after budget deliberations.
"I don't think I've ever seen anyone work as hard as Mark
Alexander," Public Works Director Steve Castellanos told the council.
"This guy worked about 30 days without a day off."
Castellanos said later that it wasn't meant to be an endorsement,
"it was just a true statement of fact."
The city has not hired an outside search firm or consultant to
look for viable candidates. It used an outside firm to find Fulwood
in 1999, and a consultant convinced Fulwood to apply for the Culver
City job earlier this year.
Alexander was a candidate for city manager job in 1999, and was
seriously considered, but he asked to be removed from consideration,
For his part, Alexander is staying mum on the issue, preferring to
focus on his work.
"The only thing I'll say to that, the budget isn't over yet,"
Alexander said. "We have a lot to do on the budget. Beyond that, I
don't have any comment on that at this point."
Council members Laura Olhasso and Greg Brown said that hiring a
permanent city manager is the council's top priority.
"That was, in part, put aside while we went ahead and got through
the budget process," Brown said. "But that will be a top priority, as
far as I'm concerned. I think it's important to have stability."
Fulwood was extended several perks by the council, such as
low-interest financing for a home loan. Brown said such incentives
for Fulwood's replacement would be part of a salary package, and
would not be determined until a hire is made. Olhasso said she hopes
that will happen within eight weeks.
Both Olhasso and Brown declined to comment on Alexander or other
candidates, saying personnel decisions are closed-session council