By Natalie Kim
Walnut – The first Walnut Council meeting of 2017 began with the Council introducing a new award for the City. Jacqueline Yu and Jonathan Lee were the inaugural recipients of the City’s new Outstanding Young Citizen Recognition award, as the Council recognized and praised “home grown heroes” for pursuing innovating and unique paths. First to be honored was Jacqueline Yu, who graduated from Walnut High School by the age of 15 and enrolled in Mt. Sac’s honors program. She has pursued acting while studying forensics, and has been successful in both endeavors, earning a Bovero Top Speaker Award as well as featuring on Disney Channel and several music videos. Yu was named as Mt. Sac’s 2016 Student of Distinction and is currently enrolled at UC Berkeley. Jonathan Lee was unable to attend the meeting, but was honored as an Outstanding Young Citizen. Lee graduated from UCLA and interned at prestigious companies such as Merrill Lynch and the Disney Company, and is currently a revenue operations accountant for Netflix.
During the oral communications, residents expressed concern and confusion over the updated employment agreement of the City Manager, Rob Wishner. However, according to the Brown Act, the Council was unable to respond to the public at the time, and moved on to the public hearing.
Following the public hearing, the Council approved the minutes of the December 14 City Council meeting and a resolution selecting projects for the 2017-2018 Program Year of the Community Development Block Grant Program.
The Council then approved all items on the consent calendar, including a resolution allowing the City claims and demands in the amount of $1,095,816.93; a resolution allowing the City Council to establish a self-insurance reserve; the 2017 investment policy; the authorization to contract with MIG, Inc. to prepare and complete an environmental impact report and CEOA documentation for the Walnut Ranch Expansion Project; the amendment and restating the City Manager Employment Agreement; the final acceptance of Areas 1 & 2 Street Resurfacing Project; a resolution allowing the City as Successor Agency allowing claims and demands in the amount of $125,000; and a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report the year ended June 30, 2016.
Council member Tragarz as well as other residents brought up concerns and a question surrounding the City Manager’s amended employment agreement. However, several residents loudly declared their support for the City Manager’s new contract, and following the wishes of their constituents, the Council approved the amended employment contract.
Following individual reports and comments from Council members, the Council adjourned to January 25, 2017 at 2101 La Puente Rd.