Photo Gallery: New job for Andrea Travis-Miller
Andrea Travis-Miller, the acting city manager for San Bernardino, has been selected as the next executive director of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.
By a unanimous vote, the governing board on Thursday approved the hiring of Travis-Miller, who will lead the regional planning agency starting on Feb. 19 and who will be the first woman director in 17 years.
"It is another step forward for the COG. It gives us a measure of permanence," said Duarte City Councilman and agency board member John Fasana.
Travis-Miller was introduced to the board and received a round of applause.
"I'm excited about the opportunity, and I look forward to the challenges," she said.
Before the historic vote, she apologized for being late - she had just returned from federal bankruptcy court on a matter for the troubled city.
She said during her time remaining as acting city manager, "I want to assist the new city manager so there will be a seamless transition."
Travis-Miller received a two-year contract and will earn a salary of $175,000 per year, the board announced. She will be a full-time CalPERS employee but will have to pay the entire 7 percent of her retirement. She will have 15 vacation days, 10 days of administrative leave and a maximum of 20 sick days, according to her contract.
For the past eight months, Travis-Miller has been leading San Bernardino's efforts to reverse a declining budget and emerge from a municipal bankruptcy filing. She's played a critical role in that process, leaving some San Bernardino officials to lament the loss to their city.
She said it will be hard to leave the people of San Bernardino, whom she said are smarting from the effects of a bad economy, a high crime rate and a crisis in government.
"The community of San Bernardino has been good to me. I want to do everything I can before I leave to assist them," she said. Kevin Stapleton, the mayor of Covina and a COG board member, admired her loyalty to the city.
"Even when the city manager bailed, she stuck it out. It is that kind of loyalty and integrity you want to see in an executive director," he said.
She will replace the San Gabriel Valley council's interim executive director, Fran DeLach, who will step down. DeLach, who has worked as city manager of Covina and Azusa, is semi-retired and said he did not apply for the job.
Travis-Miller took over as acting city manager in San Bernardino in May, when then-City Manager Charles McNeely resigned after almost three years on the job.
Before McNeely, an interim city manager and the former assistant city manager had led the city since Fred Wilson left the city in 2008.
Travis-Miller had been assistant city manager since June 2011.
She declined to accept a permanent position as city manager, Mayor Pat Morris said at the time - before bankruptcy was known to be on the horizon - that he expected to hire a new city manager in four to six months.
The city's charter gives Morris authority to appoint a city manager, who must then be approved by the City Council.
Travis-Miller said she had accepted the new position on the condition that she is able to continue working in San Bernardino for 30 to 45 days and whenever her input was needed afterward, according to Morris. Morris said he thinks a new interim city manager from outside the city can be found by then.
Travis-Miller's base salary as acting city manager was roughly $213,000, which after a 10 percent giveback and contributions to the California Public Retirement System brought her pre-tax pay closer to $180,000, according to Morris.
That's on the low end of the salary range the city had approved for the position, which according to the state Controller's Office maxes out at about $289,000.
Two months after becoming San Bernardino's acting city manager, Travis-Miller presented a 45-page report recommending the city file for bankruptcy protection.
She and Finance Director Jason Simpson, who started at about the same time, uncovered accounting practices and financial facts that City Council members said were unknown to them and convinced them to become the third California city to file for bankruptcy in 2012.
Travis-Miller's professionalism was often praised as she guided the city through that bankruptcy filing, but she was also criticized as being slow to provide information or respond to City Council requests.
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