PASADENA — William Bogaard, a former mayor and an eight-year member of the Board of City Directors, has decided to step down from his post to meet the growing demands of his job as executive vice president and general counsel for the expansion-minded First Interstate Bancorp.
Bogaard said at a press conference Thursday that, because of work requirements, he has missed more board and committee meetings in the past three months than in all the previous eight years.
"It has been virtually impossible for me to fulfill my obligations as a city director," he said.
Bogaard has been absent from five of the past nine weekly board meetings.
First Interstate, which operates 12 banks and 30 subsidiaries as far away as North Dakota and Hawaii, is in the midst of a $3.4-billion merger bid to acquire financially troubled BankAmerica Corp. As the bank holding company's chief legal officer, Bogaard reportedly is a key player in the back-and-forth acquisition effort.
Bogaard will step down effective Nov. 30. The board then has 75 days to appoint a successor. Bogaard, who was scheduled to stand for reelection in March, said that he would not endorse any candidate to succeed him.
It is a tradition in Pasadena, he said, for resigning board members to remain neutral in the appointment of their successors. "I intend to be bound by that tradition," he said.
The Iowa-born attorney himself was appointed to fill a board vacancy, replacing Charles McKenney in June, 1978, after he won a special advisory election in the district. He then won election to a full term the following March, representing the 6th District, one of the so-called "old money" sections of the western part of the city. He held the office of mayor in 1984 and 1985.
Bogaard, a middle-of-the-road Democrat, has shown in board actions and statements a concern for the city's underprivileged, pressing, for example, to make redevelopment of northwest Pasadena a top priority of the city government. On occasion, he also has alienated downtown business interests by opposing government economic subsidies and eminent domain actions.
In fact, Bogaard, a tall bespectacled man with a buttoned-down, lawyerly look, cited as one of his major accomplishments the fact that "the principal responsibility for economic development has been returned to the private sector."
Mayor John Crowley, who was in Kansas City last week at a meeting of the National Municipal League, said in a telephone interview that he was concerned about giving "the advantage of incumbency" to an appointed successor to Bogaard's seat in the election next March. Crowley said he hoped he could persuade Bogaard to change the effective date of his resignation.
"To choose someone now would be awkward, with the elections so imminent," Crowley said.
He suggested that, if Bogaard stayed in the post until the March election, the board then could immediately appoint the 6th District winner without waiting for the May inauguration.
Bogaard said that he had selected the Nov. 30 date with hopes that his successor could be appointed in time to participate in the board's annual retreat in early December.