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A Visit from Hermosa Beach City Manager Tom Bakaly

Published by USC Bedrosian Center on

by Jeremy Loudenback

In recent weeks, the Bedrosian Center has hosted an impressive slate of state and national leaders, and on Wednesday, November 13, the conversation about effective governance shifts to the local level.

Tom Bakaly, the newly appointed city manager for Hermosa Beach, returns to USC as part of the Bedrosian Center’s Lunch with a Leader series. A graduate of USC’s master of public administration program, Bakaly will discuss the challenges implementing policy on a city-wide scale and the lessons of good governance he’s learned during his lengthy tenure as a public administrator in California and Utah.

Tom Bakaly discussing the role of city managers in our round table Leading from the West discussion in April 2013.

Tom Bakaly discussing the role of city managers in our round table Leading from the West discussion in April 2013.

Before heading to the South Bay, Bakaly worked as city manager in Park City, Utah, where he earned a reputation as a smooth and professional administrator with a knack for garnering community engagement. Despite the distance between the two cities, Park City and Hermosa Beach share many similarities. Both are suburban cities within close range of larger metropolitan areas, and the two also boast reputations as recreational destinations with easy access to natural attractions—in Park City’s case, mountains and skiing, while Hermosa Beach draws multitudes of beach goers almost year-round to its popular stretch of sparkling public beaches. Aside from strong seasonal tourist crowds, the two cities are both well-known for the hallmark events and celebrations that drive large parts of their local economies; Park City is synonymous with the yearly Sundance Film Festival, and Hermosa Beach hosts large gatherings through its Fourth of July festivities on the Strand boardwalk and for beachside sporting competitions and celebrations. Prior to his time in Utah, Bakaly also worked for the city of Pasadena, where he grew up. During his time there, he helped the city manage several high-profile entertainment events, including matches for the 1994 World Cup held at the Rose Bowl.

During his first year on the job, Bakaly has already tackled some high profile city issues, including hiring a police chief, public safety concerns, and dealing with a proposal to drill for oil off Hermosa Beach’s coastline. Bakaly has made attempts to increase participation the city’s strategic planning process, creating the Hermosa 2020 & Beyond initiative to involve community residents and business owners in the decision making process for the future direction of the city. Going back to his time in Utah, Bakaly brings a strong background in sustainability and environmental issues, and as Hermosa Beach charts its course moving forward, Bakaly is expected to share his expertise on the ways in which the city can fashion a plan to minimize its carbon footprint, preserve its connection to the coastal ecosystem, and provide residents and businesses with a solid economic foundation moving forward.

Seats for Wednesday’s intimate Lunch with a Leader event are extremely limited. Register soon!

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