Bankrupt Calif. Town Hires Twice-Bankrupt Manager

Allen J Parker San BernardinoBy Alan Farnham

On the theory, perhaps, that it takes one to run one, the bankrupt city of San Bernardino, Calif., has hired as its new manager a man who twice has declared personal bankruptcy. Allen J. Parker, 71, hired last week for the $221,000 post, first filed for bankruptcy in 1991, then filed again in 2011, Reuters reports, citing court documents. Court records also show that Parker and his wife, as a condition of discharging their debts, were required to take a course in personal financial management.

Parker declined to talk to ABC News but in an interview with the Press-Enterprise newspaper, says he made no secret of these facts and disclosed them at the time he was being interviewed for the city manager's job. The mayor's office confirms that. The mayor's chief of staff says neither the mayor nor the city council saw Parker's bankruptcies as any reason not to hire him to run the financially-troubled city.

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San Bernardino filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy last August. Unlike other California cities that have gone bust, including Stockton, it has stopped making payments on its pension fund obligations, which amount to $1.7 million a month, according to the Los Angeles Times. The California Public Employees' Retirement System, or CalPERS, sued to try to force San Bernardino to keep making payments, arguing that to let the city off the hook would set a precedent that could encourage other bankrupt cities to do likewise, endangering its solvency. The Times reported that a federal bankruptcy judge in December rebuffed the efforts of CalPERS, which is the largest pension fund in the nation, and has 1.65 million members and $148.5 billion in investments.

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San Bernardino's pension obligations, combined with high unemployment, a high foreclosure rate and a collapsing tax base, helped push the city into bankruptcy. It has cut municipal services drastically. Reductions in the police force have brought a spike in violent crime.

City representatives say Parker was hired for his success at turning around other troubled cities. Reuters quotes Jim Morris, son of and chief of staff to Mayor Pat Morris, as saying the city looked carefully into what Parker had accomplished at other California cities that he helped manage, including East Palo Alto, Half Moon Bay, Seal Beach and Compton. That record, Mayor Morris told the Press-Enterprise, showed Parker to be a man who had repeatedly proved himself.

Mayor Morris, Parker and the city council declined a request by ABC News for further comment. The mayor previously had told Reuters he had "great confidence" in Parker's ability and praised the manager's "wealth of city management experience." Parker, interviewed last week by the Press-Enterprise, said that he considered the issue of his own bankruptcies and the city's to be "apples and oranges."

City attorney Jim Penman told the Press-Enterprise that his office had done a thorough background check on Parker, including interviewing some of Parker's creditors. "Bankruptcy is something we don't take lightly," Penmen told the paper, "because we're in it."

Opinion: What to Expect After San Bernardino's Bankruptcy

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Ok, this is a prime example of how stupid our politicians can be. Certainly, I would not hold one against him, but two???? Come on folks! No wonder California is financially in the tank. What does this say about the intellect of the people in California?

March 04 2013 at 4:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Every town, city, county or state that can go bankrupt, should really consider doing so. We need to teach the wealthy lenders that their capital is not safe in the wasteful welfare state that is America. As a taxpayer, I am tired of paying for projects that are larger simply because money could be borrowed to pay for them.

March 02 2013 at 5:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Has the whole frickin world gone nuts.

March 01 2013 at 11:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steve & Daisy

Local, state or national, it seems that elected officials are so disengaged from their constituents that they can make decisions such as this without giving it a second thought. "Forget the taxpayers who elected us, we'll do whatever we want to."

March 01 2013 at 9:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A lot of people are not good with their own money, but are good with the money of others. I'm sure you have heard the story of the shoe maker whose children had no shoes. My dad, a veterinarian, forgot to give my cat one of its shots, and the kitty got sick. Most attorneys are terrible managers of their own money as are doctors. That says nothing about how good they are when taking care of you or your cat, law suit, or health care. They are people who put others first, and themselves second.

March 01 2013 at 8:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Got to be a democrat

March 01 2013 at 7:04 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply


March 01 2013 at 5:07 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to xprss.yrslf's comment

When Arnold Schwarzenegger became Governor, we were $6 Billion in Debt. When he left office, we were $25 Billion in Debt. We voted to re-elect Jerry Brown, or former two term Governor from the 1970's. In the two years he has been Governor, he has lowered our Debt to $1.9 Billion dollars. As a result, the voters rewarded him with a small increase in the tax rate of people making $200,000 or more, and raising our sales tax a little to share the pain. Because of that, we will not be raising the cost to go to either University system this year. It is now cheaper to go to Harvard than to go to the University of California. When Ronald Reagan became Governor, education was still free through a Ph.D. That is what drove our economy. Reagan began to tear that down, and now we see the final results of that. We hope Jerry Brown will be able to resurrect our school system so it will be close to what it was when his father, Edmund G. (Pat) Brown left office, and Reagan came in.

Jerry's Republican opponent in 2010 remarked how wonderful California was 30 years before when she moved to California, and that she would return California to those days. Jerry Brown had to remind her that HE was Governor 30 years ago when she came to California. Under Brown's administration, we are well on our way. Now, if Washington will only do its job, everything will be just fine. Btw, the unemployment rate in San Bernardino has dropped for the first time in years. The price of property has risen. The County is taking baby steps forward. Keep a good thought for them; they were hard struck by the Crash.

March 01 2013 at 8:39 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to madlyfem's comment

I don't believe a word you said! Why are people LEAVING such a great place if it's as great as you say? To decrease your STATE budget of $23 billion in two years would have had obama take notice and do something with the national debt. I also read over 51% of Calfornia's people are on the dole one way or another, along with NY and a few other blue states!

March 01 2013 at 10:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

No mention of the almost 1 TRILLION dollar in unfunded liabilities. City, County, State. Brown claims we have a budget surplus! Fuzzy math. Now we have a 68 billion high speed rail to nowhere. And surprise, surprise, we have been told that everyone hired to work on it will need to come through the union halls. Business is moving out everyday because they cannot afford to stay here. Yes Brown has been our saving grace. NOT. Your post is comical.

March 02 2013 at 12:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

oh boy. Well, what do you expect from the left coast? They even re-hired Jerry Brown. They are a bunch of losers who can't face reality. The whole state is going bankrupt. Too many give away programs, and the rich folks are all leaving because of taxes.

March 01 2013 at 4:33 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mike's comment

See my post just above. You are way too uninformed about important facts.

March 01 2013 at 8:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to madlyfem's comment

I thinks maybe you are in dream land! Your state has considered bankruptcy, and asked for stimulas!

March 01 2013 at 10:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

Why the surprise...who got appointed to Treasury? Who was retained at AIG? Who was paid more to stay on at all the financial instutitions during the "bail-out?" Like Denzel said in "Training Day" can't send sheep to chase wolves. I don't personally buy that mantra but it appears to be a popular mental disposition!!!!

March 01 2013 at 2:57 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

If they're bankrupt, 1) where are they getting the $221,000 + perks and benefits to pay this clown and 2) why are they hiring someone who does not have to answer to the voters?? Just like the dictator of Michigan (gov. snyder) is doing in Michigan by appointing emergency managers which was voted down by the people last fall so the republicans passed the same law again in lame duck!! If these people aren't voted into position then its unconstitutional, taxation without representation!! Where are all the so-called patriots on this?? Oh yeah, there out trying to buy guns and bullets to protect their guns and bullets because they've nothing else to protect, its all been stripped away by Decembers renewal and expansion of the Patriot act. The Government can now record and keep FOREVER your phone calls, tweets, text messages, skype, email... anything it wants to because the constitution is now trumped by the Patriot Act. Didn't know that? Thats just what the politico's wanted!

March 01 2013 at 2:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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