Warren Quits As Upland Public Works Director

(January 9)  Acquanetta Warren, the Fontana mayor who has for the past several years been serving as the city of Upland’s assistant director of public works, abruptly resigned her post with the City of Gracious Living Thursday.
Warren’s leaving comes as the city council and city manager Rod Butler appear to be girding themselves for a round of staff reductions, including the termination of some city department heads and/or higher ranking members of those departments.
Warren’s exodus comes as she was approaching an acceptable retirement age but while she was yet young enough to remain at her post for another five to ten years.
Her departure came as something of a surprise, in that the rumor mill in Upland suggested that the council had a higher priority in shedding the services of community development director Jeff Zwack and city clerk/administrative services director/human resources manager Stephanie Mendenhall than Warren. Mendenhall has announced that she intends to depart in July, though at least two members of the city council seem intent on foreclosing her tenure with the city prior to that.
Warren grew up in South Central Los Angeles and attended Locke High School. She graduated from Occidental College with a degree in political science and urban studies. She began working for the city of Upland in the 1990s, while living in the city of Fontana, where she was a member of the Village of Heritage Citizens Landscaping Committee and was later a member of the city of Fontana General Plan Advisory Committee. She was appointed to the city council in Fontana in 2002 and elected in her own right to that position twice. She has been Fontana mayor since 2010.
Her political position in Fontana did not hurt her professional advancement in Upland, where she acceded to the assistant public works director. A Republican, she became an ally of former Upland Mayor John Pomierski, endorsing him in his reelection bids and receiving his endorsements in her political efforts. She played a central role in the 2009 effort by Pomierski to censure then-Upland city councilman Ray Musser when he made remarks about the good behavior of the crowd at the first Barack Obama inauguration which were deemed insensitive and insulting to African-Americans by some. Both Pomierski, who had been opposed by Musser in the 2004 and 2008 elections, and Warren suggested that Musser had disgraced himself and the city and that he should resign. The tables turned, however, when Pomierski was indicted by a federal grand jury on political corruption charges in 2011. Musser was chosen by his colleagues to replace Pomierski after his resignation.
Warren survived Musser’s elevation to mayor, but there were recurrent calls for her termination, fueled by suggestions that she had been given the assistant public works director post on the basis of her standing as an elected official and her association with Pomierski rather than her ability.
Last year, with grumblings throughout the Upland community suggesting that a thorough housecleaning at City Hall would soon be under way, Warren began exploring her various options and gauging what the city would do to help her in leaving the city’s employ, in particular by providing her with an enhanced severance package. This was prompted in part by the consideration that the city was making cuts in the public works department that were increasing the work load on remaining staff. According to one knowledgeable City Hall source, Warren was informed that the city was not in a position to provide any early retirement inducements, leading to her making a “decision to go out on her own terms.”
Former Upland City Manager Stephen Dunn told the Sentinel “Acquanetta was a vital resource for the operations of the public works department. Her know-how, some of which was a result of her having served as an elected official in Fontana, proved valuable and she used her knowledge to do whatever it took for Upland. There were people who were critical because she held two government positions and was wearing two hats, but I know that while she was serving on regional government boards in her capacity as mayor of Fontana she would put a good word in for Upland at the same time.”

One thought on “Warren Quits As Upland Public Works Director

  1. Pingback: The Sentinel: Warren Quits As Upland Public Works Director - InlandPolitics.com :InlandPolitics.com

Leave a Reply