Claremont Insider: Solis and Friends Honored

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Solis and Friends Honored

U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis (pictured, right) was back in the San Gabriel Valley last week to accept an award from the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership and the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.

Solis, and three others each received Jack Phillips Awards for their "outstanding contributions to the betterment of the San Gabriel Valley." The ceremony took place in the City of Industry last Thursday evening.

One of the other award winners was none other than former Claremont city manager Glenn Southard. We don't know about any betterment Southard contributed to the SGV, but ol' fellow was never shy about the betterment of Glenn Southard, at least in terms of his public compensation.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune covered the awards ceremony and had this to say about Southard's award:

Former Claremont mayor Judy Wright gave an award to Southard, who currently serves as city manager in Indio.

A founding member of the COG, Southard worked hard in the organization's early years to make sure it got off on the right foot, Wright said.

One thing is for sure: no one worked professional networking as well as Southard (left). He and his staffs exploited these things to no end in tireless efforts to get appointed to boards of organizations like the Municipal Managment Association of Southern California or the California City Management Foundation, which Southard also helped found.

You notice, when you look at some of these groups, that there are an awful lot of municipal vendors - like engineering and law firms - that either have employees on the groups' boards or that donate money to the associations. Once on the boards of these groups, Southard and his staff would leverage those networks to do things like find a new job if they wore out their respective welcomes, as Southard did when he fled Claremont for Indio.

Southard's betterment program for the City of Indio hasn't fared well, incidentally. The desert city faces a deficit of $14 million. Southard and Indio also face a $10.5 million lawsuit by the developer of a regional transportation center, and a recent Desert Sun article indicated that Southard may be up to his old tricks, promising one thing but meaning something else with the project. Here's a hint to our friends in the Coachella Valley: Compare notes.

In any event, it won't be long before Southard wins another award for his betterment of Indio. In the meantime, he and Hilda Solis can savor their Jack Phillips Awards.