Spotlight On Barstow's New
Assistant City Manager
Assistant City Manager position effective February 7, 2012
Meet the new assistant manager.
• An editorial exposé. •
Oliver Chi rolled into Barstow with all kinds of big ideas. One was
reported that each city council member needed a new personal iPad to advance them into the
electronic age. Another idea appears to be his belief in roundabout intersections.
Photo: Claremont Insider
But who is Chi? A year ago he was initially hired by Barstow as an
Assistant to the City Manager/Human Resources (that's not the Assistant City Manager position).
That's something like a secretary. A go-for job. But then, a year later, the city council
voted to change his title to Assistant City Manager.
That is a huge leap from being someone's assistant, to a person who has been
retitled to possibly step someday into the position of managing the city. Was Chi's original
Barstow title planned as a probationary period? If so, the city had a year to further
check-out Chi's background qualifications.
When Chi's employment contracts came before the city council for approval,
all the council members (who unanimously voted in favor of Chi) failed in their
duty to the citizens of Barstow to perform a basic background check on Chi.
Who is Chi? Where did he come from?
To check the background of Oliver Chi isn't Gladstone rocket science.
Barstow's great city fathers, the overseers of city government, in a dereliction of their duty,
apparently didn't even bother to do a simple Google check; otherwise, questions would have risen!
Oliver Chi, when 27 years old a few years ago, worked briefly as an
Assistant to the City Manager of Claremont.
According to the Claremont Insider, "Some might attribute Chi's
miscalculations to his age and immaturity, but we think his behavior in Claremont betrayed a
fundamental character flaw: a willingness to place his ambitions over the good of the community."
He then, for reasons unclear,
vacated Claremont and was hired as City Manager for the city of
Rosemead. He held that position for only about a year-and-a-half. Planning issues
became so heated, and Chi so despised by that city's government, that the council decided to
In order to terminate Chi's contract, Rosemead had to pay his
demands (see below "Allred" in the link) of approximately
$300,000; and certain other benefit perks; such as reportedly turning over to him a city
owned 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited, by declaring it surplus.
All total, Chi's golden parachute
severance package, at age 29, for about a year-and-a-half of service, cost the small city of
Rosemead an extra $330,000-plus, according to newspaper sources. A bargain,
stated by some citizens, just to be rid of him; otherwise his contract would run well into 2011.
Chi started working for Rosemead in mid-September 2007 and vacated in April
After Oliver Chi accepted the huge buy-out of his contract, guess what?
He turned around and filed for state unemployment ! The city
apparently in disgust over Chi's "unscrupulous" action reportedly challenged his filing and Chi
later returned nearly $10,000 in benefits.
Where would a man like Oliver Chi then go? After the shameful exit from
Rosemead, who in the world would then hire Chi? Who other than ridiculous BARSTOW !
There is a well deserved reason why people living in other areas laugh at the
name of Barstow.
A Community Alliance early question was who in Barstow's city government
would recommend that Oliver Chi be hired? What made Chi standout over all of the other
qualified applicants who didn't bring such a bad reputation, that the small city of Rosemead
(population of 53,764 in 2010) would pay a third of a million dollars just to get rid of him?
According to City of Barstow employment documents acquired by the Community
Alliance under the California Public Records Act, Oliver Chi was introduced to Barstow
as one of five candidates by the employment recruiter Bob Murray and Associates. At the time,
Chi had been understandably unemployed for nearly two years.
A Barstow panel "interviewed the five (5) finalists recommended by the
consultant. Additional interviews were conducted with the top two (2) candidates as
recommended by the panel. Mr. Chi is City Manager Mitchell's recommendation for this
position," according to the Barstow city council's agenda of January 18, 2011.
City of Barstow Oliver Chi Community Alliance Barstow Newberry Springs Curt Mitchell Rosemead Claremont
Why did Barstow's city's council fail so miserably in their oversight to question
such a placement? Why was Chi first
hired (big 4.2MB PDF download)
in January 2011 as an Assistant to the City Manager/Human Resources (at a high
salary of over $11,000 a month, well above the posted salary on the city's website), and then
elevated a year later (258KB PDF)
to Assistant City Manager (with a salary of $12,219.62 a month; that's a base salary of $146,635.44 year;
again above the city's Web posted starting salary).
Barstow's City Manager Curt Mitchell was the critical key to Chi's
employment. Mitchell's reported salary is over $16,000 per month. None of
these salary figures include the very generous benefits that goes along with the salaries.
At $16,000-plus per month, that's over $192,000 per year plus perks.
In comparison, the city of Ventura, with a budget of over
"$200 million, with a general
fund budget of about $80 million" has a city manager "base salary of $174,158.04 a year."
Barstow's budget is far less, yet top management cost more.
In these economic times, why does a city the size of Barstow need an assistant
city manager. Why has the city manager delegated so much of his responsibility to the
Assistant to the City Manager and then the Assistant City Manager positions; and is Barstow's city
management too top heavy?
When driving through Barstow, does the city appear to be so well managed
that the citizens are getting the quality of management that they are paying for?
According a February 7, 2012, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Chi has been named in a $1.5 million developer's claim against the City of Rosemead.
City of Barstow Oliver Chi Rosemead Claremont Barstow Community Alliance Curt Mitchell Newberry Springs
Parents are concerned over children crossing at
roundabout intersections due to higher driver
distractions and some left turn vehicles having to stop within the
intersections for crossing pedestrians.
A New Zealand study has cited a higher rate of vehicles
striking bicyclists in roundabouts.
Vehicles need not stop but must yield before entering
into a roundabout.
Oliver Chi has brought to Barstow praise for roadway roundabout intersections
and he has failed as a consensus builder in his past employments. Barstow gets from its
officials what it tolerates.
Oliver Chi Community Alliance City of Barstow Curt Mitchell Rosemead Claremont Barstow Newberry Springs