West Covina creates two new city staff positions, budget questions loom

The meeting was cut short, but residents still express concerns surrounding the budget


Ruben Montoya

Attendees watch on as a resident delivers their public comments at West Covina City Hall.

On May 2, the West Covina City Council’s meeting briefly covered two agenda items, ending the meeting in less than two hours.

The two items generated discussion but both moved forward with 4-0 votes. Councilwoman Letty Lopez-Viado could not be in attendance as she is currently recovering from a recent car crash.

In an exchange with SAC Media, she said that her pain is manageable and has begun physical therapy.

Resolution 2023-26 came in two parts: first, to update the job description for the code enforcement manager position and second to create a description for a new code enforcement director position.

The changes are being made to remain consistent with the city’s “standards, requirements and qualifications,” according to the agenda.

As the name suggests, the code enforcer and director are tasked with enforcing West Covina’s municipality codes including zoning, building, health, fire and safety.

The updates to the manager rescind several of the job’s duties including participation in the development of the Code Enforcement Division’s budget, involvement in city committees and the ability to create and administer “large” program budgets.

Less experience will also be required, dropping from seven years of code enforcement to five and from two years administrative and supervisory responsibility to one.

The council debated the details of the resolution before moving forward and approving both of the new classifications.

Next, Resolution 2023-27 would update the job description for the economic development and housing manager. The position’s duties include assisting in the development of housing and economic development programs in the city.

Passed after short discussion, Resolution 2023-27 will update the qualifications for the currently unoccupied position to current standards.

The new job tasks include building relationships with relevant county and regional officials, advising city officials on local business promotion and marketing West Covina’s economic growth to local business, civic, civil and other relevant groups.

The contract with the city of West Covina and Athens Services was originally listed on the meeting’s agenda but was scrapped due to Lopez-Viado’s absence.

Public comments were brief, with familiar speakers using their speaking time to voice their grievances as per usual.

As the Council wrapped up the meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Brian Tabatabai requested for the city to give a presentation regarding the Quemetco, Inc. lead battery recycling facility located in the City of Industry and its environmental impact on West Covina residents.

In December 2022, Quemetco paid a $2.3 million dollar fine to the California Department of Toxic Substances due to the facility violating 29 environmental regulations.

“I just think that as a region, we got to make sure the public is aware that this exists in our community,” Tabatabai said.

Councilman Ollie Cantos also requested the city to explore the creation of new positions regarding social media and public relations, citing a need for more engagement from West Covina residents.

As the city moves forward in approving the budget for the 2023 fiscal year, a recent community meeting revealed that the Sportsplex formerly known as Big League Dreams and located on Azusa Avenue has cost the city $600,000.

The Next West Covina City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 16 at 7 p.m. at West Covina City Hall.