By Tim Reid
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Crisis-hit San Bernardino, California, picked a new city manager on Friday at a critical time in its quest to get bankruptcy protection from a federal court.
San Bernardino was forced to look for a new city manager after its acting city manager, Andrea Travis-Miller, quit.
Her resignation coincides with the departure of the city's finance chief. Both had been the key officials overseeing the city's bankruptcy application and their departures threaten the city's ability to achieve it. They had more knowledge than anybody else of the city's finances and the experience to answer questions from the court and creditors.
The city council voted to hire Allen Parker to replace Travis Miller. According to his resume provided to the city, Parker has been an economic development consultant since 2006.
From June 2001 until December 2006, according to his resume, Parker was chief administrative officer of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, a federally recognized tribe in California. Before that he was village manager of Maywood, Illinois.
The federal judge overseeing San Bernardino's bankruptcy application said in a court hearing on Tuesday that the new city manager would be confronted with a steep learning curve.
Various creditors are demanding a wealth of financial documents from the city. The city must also produce a detailed bankruptcy blueprint to explain how it intends to deal with its creditors, a key part of proving its eligibility for bankruptcy.
The city council considered two applicants for the job, and voted unanimously to hire Parker.
"Allen Parker brings a wealth of city management experience to San Bernardino," the mayor, Pat Morris said. "I have great confidence in his ability...to guide San Bernardino through the difficult decisions we must make in bankruptcy."
San Bernardino, a city of 210,000 about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, filed for bankruptcy protection on August 1, citing a $46 million deficit for the current fiscal year and little scope to meet its day-to-day expenses. It was the third California city to file for bankruptcy last year, following Stockton and Mammoth Lakes. Continued...