Civic Managerial Prodigy Chi Departing Barstow To Head City Of Monrovia

BARSTOW  (October 7) —Barstow Assistant City Manager Oliver Chi is departing from his position with San Bernardino County’s fifth smallest city.
The 34-year-old Chi  on Monday will move on to become the city manager of Monrovia. He will be one of the youngest city managers in the state. That distinction is less impressive than one he already attained. In 2007, when he was 27, he was hired as city manager in Rosemead. He was at that time believed to be the youngest city manager in California. He did not last terribly long in that billet, however. His hiring in Rosemead had been spearheaded by then-mayor John Tran, who gambled on hiring the prodigy. In 2009, Chi was let go, a victim of the political fallout that attended the ousting of Tran.
In February 2012, Chi was brought in as assistant city manager to assist city manager Curt Mitchell in Barstow.
There were challenges from the start, though Chi weathered them well. A month after he arrived, Dianne Burns, the first female police chief in San Bernardino County history, returned from an extended leave of absence that had been brought on by dissent over her leadership of the department. She returned to the helm of the force, but the dissension continued and five months later, she resigned.
Chi proved to be a workhorse in functioning under Mitchell in Barstow, a railroad town that had once been one of the county’s major cities but which for more than fifty years has seen its stature diminish.
Chi was on hand for the relocation of Barstow Community Hospital into a newly constructed facility in October 2013.
Chi is now returning to the San Gabriel Valley, where he grew up and attended high school in Arcadia and where his experience as a boy wonder of municipal management took place.

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