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‘Planning' is buzzword of new Imperial city manager

April 05, 2001|By ANTHONY LONGORIA, Staff Writer

IMPERIAL — City Manager Vincent Long seems at home in his new office.

The flawless white shirt he wears somehow accentuates how fresh this newcomer's face is to local government. The way he eases back into his chair during an interview Tuesday seems second nature in his new environment.

Yet the environment is not at all unfamiliar to him. Several degrees and a résumé of experience attest to his ease in his office.

Long is the new city manager, picked from 32 applicants the city reviewed during its several months-long search.

Imperial had been without a permanent city manager since August when Jeannie Lenefsky resigned. Lyle Alberg, a former Hemet city manager, was interim city manager in her stead.

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Before moving to the Valley, Long worked as a city administrator in the suburbs of Chicago for 15 years. His move comes as a welcome change as he said he was looking forward to moving back to California, where he completed undergraduate and graduate study.

Now in his second week of duty, Long said his first week involved discussions and meetings with staff and the council regarding goals and directions for the city.

"When a manager comes in, there are many things that are going on that can be done better," Long said.

"Planning" was a recurring buzzword Long used in describing the needs of the city.

Regarding staff, Long said he isn't planning on expanding extensively but does plan to reorganize the staff to "better accommodate the city." He said he is working with the finance office to determine financial feasibility for staffing options.

Saying the city will face continued growth issues, Long said he wants to ensure that the city's infrastructure and public facilities will accommodate growth over the next 20 to 30 years.

Reviews of the city's service area plan and possible expansions of the sphere of influence also are under way, said Long.

Among his plans are steps to revitalize the city's core, meaning the downtown area along Imperial Avenue.

"The key is revitalizing the historic area of the city," Long said.

He said a revitalization would bring subdivision residents to the city's core by offering more community events and community services. The revitalization ideally would create a market area that could attract commercial interest to the city, said Long.

Long plans to seek grants to provide a higher quality library and revitalize some of the city's parks. He plans to implement a redevelopment agency. Sometime in the future he plans to begin a city newsletter in hopes of stimulating interest and communication within the city.

Long said he wants to "help Imperial realize its vision of changes for the future."

"This is a community that can capitalize on its assets and I think its exciting to be a part of it," Long said.

Long has bachelor's degrees in history and political science from the University of California, Santa Cruz, as well as a master's degree in international affairs from Sacramento State University. He has a master's degree in public affairs from Northern Illinois University.

He is a former United States Marine and a Vietnam veteran, having served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1973.

Staff Writer Anthony Longoria can be reached at 337-3452.

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