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El Centro throws surprise party marking City Manager Abdel Salem's 20th year

March 20, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

El Centro City Manager Abdel Salem has been on the job for 20 years, and people came out in force Monday to show their appreciation for all that he's done for the city.

City managers typically stay with the same city for an average of three to five years, Salem said.

"I've stayed this long with the city because I really do love this city," he said at a surprise celebration in his honor.

Besides having no reason to leave, Salem said he enjoys the heat and said he did not want to break up his children's friendships by moving to another city.

He was asked what his major accomplishments have been.

"I would say the financial stability of the city has been a major accomplishment for us under my administration," he said after the ceremony. "Over the years, we have been through ups and downs and lost funds that we used to rely on."

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He said fiscal adjustments and technology improvements allowed the city's finances to improve.

Salem also said an increase in business and an improvement in the quality of services offered by the city, such as water, sewer, fire protection and police services, are accomplishments as well.

"All of these didn't just happen," he said.

Salem said his priorities include increasing city services to local youths and seniors, improving the city's facilities and continued economic development.

"All of these issues we're going to try to continue to move forward on," he said.

Mayor Cheryl Walker said Salem possesses all the human characteristics one could seek in an individual holding such a position, such as honesty and personal integrity.

"You would not find a finer man," she said.

Salem was presented with several plaques and gifts from members of the El Centro City Council, city employees and the El Centro Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau.

Salem was born in Egypt and immigrated to the United States in the 1970s, eventually ending up in El Centro. In 1973 he became the city's assistant finance director. By 1980 he'd moved up to acting city manager, taking over permanently in 1981.

He has a bachelor's degree in business administration from Alexandria University in Alexandria, Egypt.

He is married and has three children.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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