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South Bay Digest

P.V. Estates : Councilwoman to Be Clerk

May 21, 1987

In an unusual move, Councilwoman Barbara Culver will resign from the City Council seat she has held for seven years to become city clerk at an annual salary of $28,700. The job shift will occur in mid-June. The council has not decided what to do about the vacancy, which could be filled by appointment, special election or at the next scheduled election in April, 1988.

Culver, 49, has worked for 1 1/2 years as community relations representative at the Courtyard mall, a post she will resign on June 12. She declined to disclose her salary. Council members in Palos Verdes Estates are unsalaried.

City Manager Gordon Siebert said Culver was one of about 50 applicants for the job and that after screening, testing and interviews by a personnel consultant and technical panel, she was one of three candidates recommended to the council. One candidate, a senior administrative assistant at another city, was offered the job but turned it down because of financial considerations, Siebert said. Culver then was offered it and accepted.

Richard Carpenter, employee relations counsel with the League of California Cities, said a switch from elected to staff job in the same city is unusual but not unprecedented. He recalled that a Berkeley mayor once resigned to become city manager there.

Culver, who said she did not tell her council colleagues about her interest in the clerk's job until mid-March, prior to filing application, said government is her field of interest and she regards becoming clerk as a career advancement. Culver said she taught government at Santa Monica High School before quitting work 23 years ago to raise her family. She and her husband have four daughters.

Councilwoman Ruth Gralow said the council was concerned about being accused of bias in favor of Culver. "That's why we had extensive interviews," she said. "She had no different treatment."

Gralow described Culver as "a known quantity who has served the city well for over seven years in an elected capacity"--as well as someone who would accept a lower salary than the first candidate wanted.

Officials said the clerk's job, in addition to normal duties of record-keeping, preparation of agendas and running elections, includes personnel and public relations and communications, which are considered to be Culver's strongest skills.

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