Amicable Departure Ends Rialto’s Bridge To Progress Venture With Woke Palm Springs-Based City Manager

What Rialto municipal officials are saying were “management differences over the past several months,” have prompted them to part company with Marcus Fuller, who was hired to serve as city manager of the 103,000-population city a little more than a year-and-a-half ago to what was an enthusiastic display of so-called woke temperament.
At this point however, Fuller is departing “amicably,” all parties maintain, because of a “stark” difference in vision over the future and developmental potential in what is the sixth largest of San Bernardino County’s 24 cities population-wise and its 17th largest in terms of land area.Fuller, who has a degree in civil engineering from Northern Arizona University and a master’s degree in public administration from California State University, San Bernardino, began his career as a public official in 1995 with La Paz County, Arizona in the capacity of assistant engineer. He worked in the engineering department in La Quinta in Riverside County and was later hired as assistant city engineer. He started as an associate engineer with Palm Springs in 1999, promoted to senior engineer in 2001, and became the assistant public works director/assistant city engineer in 2005. Beginning in 2012, Fuller began seesawing in his professional assignments between Rialto and Palm Springs. In May of that year, he was hired as Rialto’s public works director and city engineer. He returned to Palm Springs two years and six months later when he was offered the assistant city manager/chief operating officer position.
In June 2021, Fuller bounced back to Rialto as city manager. At that time, the Rialto City Council, composed of four Democrats and one Republican, voted unanimously to ratify a contract with Fuller that paid him a $275,000 annual salary along with benefits and perquisites of $118,500 for a total annual compensation of $393,500. A selling point for Fuller was that his lifestyle embraced perfectly the Democratic Party’s consensus that diversity and inclusion should be driving forces in empowering those who embody what was previously termed “alternative lifestyles.” Fuller said his acceptance by the Rialto would allow “the opportunity to continue delivering on Rialto’s Bridge to Progress.”
Fuller and his husband Noel have two children, Jordan and Jaidyn. Their household includes Noel’s parents.
Fuller in 2021 was the finalist in a recruitment that involved 85 applicants to take on the responsibility of running the blue collar Rialto, replacing Fire Chief Sean Grayson, who had served as the acting city manager since former City Manager Rod Foster was forced out from his position earlier that year after Mayor Deborah Robertson came to believe that he was in some fashion involved the previous year in sparking an investigation into her use of her mayoral position to steer more than $200,000 in city subsidizations to a nonprofit organization headed by Robertson’s daughter.
Fuller’s familial support network was a factor in his selection as city manager. His father retired from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department as assistant sheriff after a 30-year career, and his brother Jason is a member of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department in Thousand Oaks.
In recent weeks and months, Rialto, which lies between fast-growing Fontana to the west, the social problem-infested and financially-challenged county seat of San Bernardino on its northeast side and the transportation hub of Colton to its southeast with an open frontier at its northernmost end that is cut off by the 15 Freeway at its extreme tip, has been struggling with its identity. Last month, the city council approved a 45 day moratorium on truck traffic on seven street routes, a bold move given the degree to which the logistics industry has had an important presence in the city.
In November of 2021 an incident took place that weeks later would make Rialto the object of international obloquy when two of its city firefighters/paramedics, citing concerns and what they said was a COVID-19 safety protocol, refused to enter a local care facility after they were dispatched there in response to a call for assistance for a man suffering cardiac arrest. The man died as a consequence of the delay in care.
That incident followed by just a few months the contretemps in Rialto that greeted Fuller shortly after he became city manager which grew out of Rialto City Councilman Ed Scott filing a $1.15 million claim against the city alleging Rialto police officers and & firefighters accessed the State of California’s law enforcement database on multiple occasions to obtain confidential information which was used in an attempt to prevent his election and reelection to office as well as for political purposes in opposing the electoral or re-electoral efforts of other members of the city council.
After becoming Rialto city manager Fuller continued his commitment to maintain his residence in Palm Springs instead of locating to Rialto, requiring a daily round trip commute of 129 miles, which some council members and residents felt detracted from the focus that Fuller needed to bring to his job. That, together with what appeared to be a cultural difference between the city manager and the 51.21 percent Latino, 22.27 percent African American community, led to an untenable situation which resulted in Fuller electing to retire. He will now be eligible for a pension of roughly $164,285 annually under the California Public Employees Retirement System.
Fuller said he is now content to leave his professional commitments behind him and devote himself to his family.
Assistant City Manager Aaron Brown is to serve as interim city manager as the process of finding Fuller’s replacement takes place.

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