GUEST COLUMNIST: City needs stability, continuity in governance, more than ever

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On April 26, the City Council in Gardena voted to offer the job of city manager to its long-standing Chief of Police, Ed Medrano. The vote to offer Medrano this top job in the city was not a unanimous one – but it should have been.

Medrano has served our community tirelessly and with an abundance of competence since he was first hired as a police cadet in Gardena at the age of 18. After serving our country in the United States Marine Corp, he returned to Gardena, applied, and was accepted as a police officer.

On April 26, the City Council in Gardena voted to offer the job of city manager to its long-standing Chief of Police, Ed Medrano. The vote to offer Medrano this top job in the city was not a unanimous one – but it should have been.

Medrano has served our community tirelessly and with an abundance of competence since he was first hired as a police cadet in Gardena at the age of 18. After serving our country in the United States Marine Corp, he returned to Gardena, applied, and was accepted as a police officer.

His career with the GPD has been one of honor and professionalism, and he rose through the ranks to hold the top job as head of our police department for close to 10 years. Besides holding together the department through various budget crisis and social upheaval, he also has implemented a number of innovative programs.

He created the citizen advisory panel (COP-CAP) which established a direct line of communication between citizen advisors and the police department. He established the Gardena/Hawthorne Mental Evaluation Team (GHMET) to allow police officers to effectively, safely, and compassionately deal with the growing problems of homelessness and mental illness in our city.

Of the cities with mental health and outreach programs, G.H.M.E.T. is ranked No. 1 in the linking of people to social services, and the city of Gardena can boast that, unlike many other communities, there are no homeless vets in its city.

And, he began the Gardena Juvenile Justice and Intervention Program GJJIP, a cutting edge program that seeks to identify and work with at-risk youth before they venture too far down the wrong path.

As if that were not enough, in addition to his already critical duties as Gardena’s top-cop, Chief Medrano also has the responsibility for overseeing two other major departments in our city: Public Works, and Community Development. Between these two departments they are responsible for street maintenance, sidewalks, lighting, parks, tree removal and trimming, sewage, construction standards, planning, permitting, licensing and virtually every other aspect with regards to quality of life in Gardena.

In short, Chief Ed Medrano oversees the vast majority of what goes on in our city, and therefore is more than qualified to take over as our city manager.

That’s why it’s imperative that, at a time of upheaval and uncertainty in our city, we need someone with a steady hand and a proven track record of performance. It doesn’t take long to look around and find examples of other cities that have rolled the dice with new managers, only to find themselves in disarray a short time later. In 2014, Hawthorne fired its city manager after he had been on the job for only two years. In 2012, El Segundo fired its manager after only 10 months. Carson has gone through a whopping three city managers in only twenty months, and the Palos Verdes city manger has come under fire after only a year on the job, sparking an on-line group to be formed to demand his ouster.

 

Gardena cannot afford to take such a gamble with a job as important as this. We need someone with a proven track record, and someone who can offer the stability and continuity that our city needs now more than ever.

Christopher J. Lynch is a long time Gardena resident, and he regularly contributes to the GVN with his stories of Gardena Honored Veterans.

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