The Press

Former Carson official to serve as Bell interim manager

BELL — Jerome G. Groomes, a former city manager in the city of Carson who has 35 years of city government experience, has been hired as interim city manager here, replacing Doug Willmore, who has resigned to accept a city administrative position with Rancho Palos Verdes.

In a written report to the council March 11, Human Resources Director Sergio Ibarra said Groomes has agreed to serve and help find a permanent city manager. He will receive $84.13 an hour with a maximum of $174,990.

His contract extends from March 11 to Dec. 30, 2015, unless a permanent administrator is found before then.

As a retired member of the California Public Employees Retirement System (Calpers) Groomes may not work for more than 960 hours a year.

However, he is contracted to put in 40 hours a week in that time frame, between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, Ibarra said.

Groomes was president of the Southeast Economic Development Corporation in San Diego in 2011 and 2012. He served as city manager in Carson from 1998 to 2011 and before that in East Palo Alto in the Bay Area.

He earned a bachelor of science degree in sociology from Lincoln University in Lincoln, Pennsylvania, in 1970; and a master’s in social work from the University of Pittsburgh in 1973. He also attended Yale University in New Haven, Conn., in 1977.

Groomes earned a master’s degree in urban studies from Occidental College in Eagle Rock in 1978, worked for a private firm in Philadelphia from 1980 to 1982 and came west in 1982 to hold several management and municipal posts in the San Diego area including the Economic Development Corporation from 1988 to 1993, Ibarra said.

“I’m very excited to be here and look forward to working with the Bell council and staff,” Groomes told The Wave. “There is economic development potential here and I hope to pursue that.”

In other action March 11, the council contracted with the Torres Construction Company, the lower of two bidders at $90,800, to make several municipal buildings comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. The city engineer estimates the cost of repairs is $106,500.

City Engineer Terry Rodrique said funding will come from the federal Community Development Block Grant and, if needed, state gas tax rebates.

Work will include such things as automatic opening doors, installing handicapped parking spaces and lowering counters, Rodrigue said.

The upgrades will be installed at City Hall, 6330 Pine St.; the Community Center, 6250 Pine St.; Bell Police Headquarters, 6326 Pine St.;  and community buildings at Debs Park, 3700 Gage Ave.; and Veterans Memorial Park, 6500  Wilcox Ave.

Work will start in April and should be finished in early June, Rodrique said.