Bryan Montgomery: “Indio has a great history, but I’m convinced that it’s best days are ahead!”

INDIO — A new leader will be in charge of the Coachella Valley’s largest city Thursday, May 13 when Bryan Montgomery begins duties as the next City Manager.  He will replace Mark Scott, who announced his retirement last year, and has served as Indio’s City Manager since 2017.

Montgomery will earn $257,000 annually in addition to some other perks, including medical, dental and life insurance, moving expenses, car allowance and more. Read about them here.

Following is a Q&A that Uken Report conducted with Montgomery,

Uken Report (UR): What attracted you most about this position?

Bryan Montgomery: First of all, we love the Desert and have long felt it would be a great place to live. Next, it was important to learn that there was a strong City Council, a solid, professional team of employees, and residents that truly care about the community. All communities have opportunities and challenges, but Indio has a lot of positive momentum and a well-equipped team of the Council, City staff and residents to help take on the challenges.

UR: Indio is the largest city in the valley, quite different than what you might be used to. How do you plan to adapt?

Bryan Montgomery: The reality is that the principles of sound local government management apply and I came to learn that in working in cities of all sizes. The key is the people and Indio has great people. I will be there to add energy, hard-working, some innovative ideas and an incessant drive to get things done. I’m all in.

UR: From the outside looking in at this point, what is the biggest challenge you and the city face?

Bryan Montgomery: Indio is moving forward and has had some recent successes with job and business development, but more is needed and more is on the horizon. In the industry it is called “economic development” and that is a key priority that has already been set by the City Council. Within the realm of economic development, there are some great opportunities in revitalizing the historic Downtown, redeveloping the former Indio Mall along Hwy 111 and there are some major job producing opportunities along the 1-10 corridor.  Critical to economic development is a safe community and public safety always needs to be a priority.  Another challenge is addressing the State mandates and critical need for “attainable” housing.

UR: Top 3 priorities, why and specifically what will you do to address them? Let’s say housing is a concern for you. What will you do specifically in this area?

Bryan Montgomery: I always like to remind residents that the City Council sets the broad community vision and priorities, with input from and representatives of the residents.  I do look forward to helping to facilitate a strategic planning process whereby we can all work together to develop and then the City Council approve a clear list of strategic priorities and specific action items to address those priorities.   For me, my first 60 days is essentially a listening tour. Not that I won’t listen after, but it is critical that I learn more and become more informed of the items I think the solid team of employees should be addressing.

UR: Are you fluent in English and Spanish or did I misunderstand?

Bryan Montgomery:  I am fluent in English.  I consistently test a 4 out of 5 for speaking Spanish (the minimum for a Foreign Service Officer is a 3), but I don’t have “native” fluency (a 5).  I understand just about everything and can say whnt I want to say in Spanish.  I do want to say that being able to speak Spanish has been very helpful, but more importantly, being able to do so has helped me immerse into that special culture and understand the customs and struggles. I am always working to improve my speaking fluency, though I believe my cultural fluency is even more important and more impactful.

UR: Do you have a family?

Bryan Montgomery: My wife and I are empty nesters now, with both our son and daughter married and living out of state. We also had another baby girl that died shortly after childbirth, so we always say we have three. 🙂.   We have bought a home in Indio and my wife is there now while I finish up the last 7-10 days of my service in the City of Oakley.

UR: As you know, your hiring was a 3-1-1 decision? What did you make of that? How do you plan to work with the two opposing councilmembers?

Bryan Montgomery: I think a couple of the Councilmembers wanted to make a point, but all are very supportive now and are rooting for my success – all for the good of Indio. As Vice-Mayor Fermon stated, “We’re all wearing the same jersey now.”

UR: Anything you’d like to add?

Bryan Montgomery:  I really appreciated that in your voicemail that  you stated you loved Indio❤️.  I would just ask all residents to truly love Indio. Be proud of it and work every day to make it an even better community. There is no need to shop elsewhere – support your Indio businesses, shop local and keep in Indio those sales tax dollars we all pay. Love Indio enough to report any suspicious behavior – “see something, say something” and “no call is too small.”  Help our hard-working law enforcement officers to keep the community safe.  If you have questions, ask. If you have complaints and/or suggestions, please present them in a polite and professional manner.  Like the Lorax said, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, it’s not going to get better, it’s not.”  Indio has a great history, but I’m convinced that it’s best days are ahead!

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