South Pasadena to Appoint New Acting City Manager | Bungled Budget Work Sinks Chaparyan

PHOTO: South Pasadenan News | City Manager Arminé Chaparyan
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | News | City Manager Arminé Chaparyan

Frustrated with ongoing budget struggles, the South Pasadena City Council will hold a closed meeting Tuesday to appoint a new acting interim city manager, at the same time ending the tenure of South Pasadena City Manager Arminé Chaparyan, who has held the position for just over three years.

It is unclear who will appointed acting city manager, but Luis Frausto is currently the city’s acting deputy city manager.

The Council is also slated to discuss the hiring of both an interim and permanent city manager.

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The meeting was scheduled Monday after Mayor Evelyn Zneimer held meetings with the city’s executive team, which includes the city attorney, Mayor Pro-Tem Jack Donovan and city department heads. The Mayor told the South Pasadena News the city attorney will issue a press release Tuesday after the meeting.

Tomorrow’s agenda will feature the sixth closed session performance review the Council has scheduled for Chaparyan over the past several months. It comes days after the Council failed to adopt a budget for the fiscal year that began July 1, opting instead for a resolution of continuing appropriations that extends the existing FY 2023-24 budget for up to another two months.

But Zneimer said she wants to adopt a budget “well before” that and outlined plans to meet with a group of the city’s finance officials to determine “where we are” and arrive at a set of “verifiable numbers the Council can be comfortable with.”

Though originating before her arrival, the city’s inability to bring stability to its Finance Department has been a feature of Chaparyan’s tenure. Tensions between her, the Mayor and other members of both the city council and finance commission expanded this year with the presentation of large, unexpected budget deficit projections, frequent minor and substantial errors in budget documents, and what the mayor has described as the city manager’s failure to execute publicly adopted council directives concerning budget presentations.



Ben Tansey
Ben Tansey is a journalist and author. He grew up in the South Bay and is a graduate of Evergreen State College. He worked in Washington State as a reporter in a rural timber community and for many years as an editor for a Western electric energy policy publication based in Seattle.