Members of the Beverly Hills City Council dove deep into approving a slew of wide-ranging measures during their regular meeting on Dec. 13. Agenda items ranged from police department signing bonuses to licensing agreements and commission appointments, among others.
But the session began on a sentimental note when Mayor Lili Bosse issued a proclamation to honor retiring City Manager George Chavez.
“You have touched so many lives,” a teary-eyed Bosse said to Chavez before presenting him with a key to the city – making him the first City Manager in Beverly Hills to have been honored with that gift. “You are the only human being that I’ve known that is able to get two people who disagree on everything to always agree on you.”
Members of the public also shared their memories of Chavez, whose 34-year career as a public servant in Beverly Hills made him a pillar in the community.
“I’m just so overwhelmed overwhelmed with love,” Chavez said. “I’m the luckiest guy on the planet.”
One of the handful of items Council members unanimously approved Tuesday night was a resolution that updates the list of city officials and employees required to file reports under California’s Conflict of Interest Code.
The resolution was spurred by staffing changes at nine city departments: City Clerk, Community Development, Community Services, Finance, Public Works, Police, Human Resources, Information Technology, Policy and Management and Public Works.
Impacted city officials and employees will be required to file a Statement of Economic Interest, also known as the “Form 700.” The form requires individuals to disclose and report personal financial information in order to ensure there is no conflict of interest. Depending on a person’s position or title some of that information might include investments, gifts or additional sources of revenue.
Council members also approved two new appointments to the Recreation and Parks Commission and one new appointment to the Community Charitable Foundation.
Deborah Termeie and John (JR) Dzubak, Jr. replace outgoing Recreation and Parks Commissioners Alissa Roston and Julian Javor, whose terms end Dec. 31 and June 30, 2023, respectively. Lisa Greer will replace outgoing Community Charitable Foundation member Allison Balson immediately after her term ends June 30, 2023.
The new commissioners will be eligible for reappointment at the end of their first two-year term.
The 17.4-acre development plan known as One Beverly Hills is also making progress.
Council members approved agreements and purchase orders to allow two consulting firms to submit plan review services for the visionary luxury project, which is set to include tall buildings ranging from nine to 18 stories and a botanical garden.
According to the staff report, the aim is to have the plan check for “Phase I” submitted and under review by Dec. 31 and will include comments and reviews on the project’s engineering plans, structural design and building code compliance.
Also, after much discussion, the Council approved a resolution to amend the Rent Stabilization Ordinance to remove provisions that allow landlords to evict a tenant for apartment remodeling purposes.
The Rent Stabilization Commission asked Council to review this matter because the eviction moratorium enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic is slated to end this month.
Lastly, in an effort to address the shortage in law enforcement, council members unanimously approved a Beverly Hills Police Department signing bonus program designed to attract young new officers.
According to the staff report, the program will include a flat bonus of $15,000 spread across a little over two years for pre-service police officers and $20,000 spread across three years for lateral police officers.
There are currently nine vacancies and at least two more expected by the end of the year. The move comes amid concerns of rising crime.
“Those actively recruiting strongly believe that the signing bonus will be a strong incentive and marketing tool in separating the city of Beverly Hills from other agencies,” said Director of Human Resources Shelley Ovrom.
Before voting, Bosse asked whether there was anything else the Council should consider when it came to addressing the needs of the police department.
“Do you feel everything you are proposing is what you want at this point?” Bosse asked Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook.
‘I think we’ve done a really good job this past year,” Stainbrook responded. “We are definitely on the right track.”