Mary Bradley has traveled a rather circuitous and unorthodox route to becoming the director of finance in Pasadena, a position that makes her the highest-paid woman on the city payroll.
"The city manager used to say that I was doing pretty well for a librarian," said Bradley, who assumes her new post July 25.
Bradley, 40, began her career with the city in 1970 as a librarian in the business division of the Pasadena Public Library, a job that entailed many hours of research for City Hall staff members. Seven years later, she left the library to earn a master's degree in business administration.
It was a major shift in her life. "I think it's sort of a yuppie way," she said of her decision to quit the library and go back to college. "A lot of people are doing midlife career changes."
Bradley already had a master's degree in library science from USC and a bachelor's degree from Pomona College when she decided to enroll in USC's graduate business school.
While studying there, she approached City Manager Donald F. McIntyre with a proposal to become a part-time analyst, rotating among various city departments.
For four years she did that, working her way through several departments doing management analyses, cost-reduction plans and analyses of the city's annual budgets. Along the way, she dropped out of the master's program to get married.
During that time, she also worked as a consultant for several of the city's federal grant programs.
But Bradley found, she said, that working on a part-time, contractual basis with the city in several different departments consumed most of her time. "I decided I would be working less . . . if I was working full time," she said, "so I went back to the budget office."
In 1981, she became the deputy finance director, a job that includes determining the city's financial policy and "the kinds of things the city is going to do, what we're going to spend our money on."
"It's quite unusual to move from department to department the way she did," McIntyre said. "It's a fairly laudatory example of how you can pull yourself up by your own bootstraps if you've got the gumption."
Late last month, McIntyre named her to be director of finance, succeeding Harry Lauritzen. Lauritzen is retiring after 21 years with the city, the last nine of which he has been finance director.
"Mary is an excellent choice," Lauritzen said of his successor. "She's been a tremendous help to me over the years."
The appointment makes Bradley the highest-paid woman on the city staff, with a yearly salary of $60,000. Deputy City Atty. Ann Higginbotham and Judy Weiss, assistant to the city manager, are the next highest-paid women, with yearly salaries of about $57,000 and $55,000, respectively.
"I don't think that the city treats men or women any differently," Bradley said, "but obviously I've had a very unusual career.
"Basically, people hired me because I had worked in the library and I did a lot of research for City Hall. They knew my work habits and they knew I could handle the job."