Temple City Parks and Recreation Commissioner Tom O’Leary has been appointed to serve as the City of Temple City’s newest Planning Commissioner. O’Leary, a long time resident of Temple City was one of five applicants for the position.
On Thursday, July 31, 2008 the City Council conducted interviews with candidates seeking to become a Planning Commissioner. Of the five candidates, three appeared before the entire City Council: Chamber Board Member Manuel Valenzuela III, resident Pamela Yugar, and Parks and Recreation Commissioner Tom O’Leary.
The City Council first interviewed Manuel Valenzuela, the youngest of all five applicants.
“I am not going to intrude in any political battle” assured Valenzuela to members of the City Council. Valenzuela, who is employee of the City of Glendale’s Planning department, expressed knowledge of zone variances. When asked what type of relationship the City Council and Planning Commission should have, Valenzuela responded “close.”
Next, the City Council interviewed Pamela Yugar, a Parks and Recreation director for the city of Bell Gardens.
Yugar stated she has lived in Temple City twice; first as a renter and currently as a homeowner. She has worked for the cities of Alhambra, Azuza, and Bell Gardens. She is also fluent in Spanish.
“I have 16 years [of experience] as a civil servant and have a good understanding on what is needed and required for new developments ore renovating existing [ones]” wrote Yugar in her paper application.
The third interview conducted by members of the City Council was with Parks and Recreation Commissioner Tom O’Leary.
O’Leary, a general contractor for 22 years, has served on the Parks and Recreation for 8 years. “[I] tend to stick to my own thoughts” acknowledged O’Leary during his interview. He also posed questions to the City Council about the expectations of a Planning Commissioner.
“Someone that is fair” stated Mayor Pro Tempore Dave Capra.
“Consistent” added Councilman Fernando Vizcarra.
The two remaining applicants, former City Councilmember Chuck Souder and Peter Zovak, were not present but submitted paper applications.
“They’re both qualified guys” said Capra.
The City Clerk conducted the secret ballot election and tallied the results. Tom O’Leary received three votes and Peter Zovak received two votes.
After the vote count, Mayor Cathé Wilson proclaimed, “Tom O’Leary will be our new Planning Commissioner.”
“I feel very good” commented O’Leary after learning about his appointment. “I’m happy.”
The City Council also voted to re-appoint Chris Goad to the Parks and Recreation commission and Jerry Seibert to the Planning Commission.
O’Leary’s appointment will be ratified on August 19, 2008. When O’Leary officially takes the position of Planning Commissioner, a new vacancy will be created on the Parks and Recreation commission.
This article was written by Matthew Wong. It was published in the Temple City Voice on November 5, 2008.