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Doing My Duty

Following is the speech delivered by Eddie Greenberg, Promenade and Parking Structure Maintenance supervisor, at an event last Friday marking his 30th year as a City employee.

Good Afternoon & Welcome. My cup runneth over!!

I am very humbled to see all of you today, who have joined together here to honor me, and my staff on this Thirtieth anniversary of my employment with our cherished City of Santa Monica. I am equally honored by the support shown by so many of our long term customers, that have supported us for decades.

Unlike a race to the finish line where one might find me to be gasping my last breath, on what has been the rollercoaster ride of a lifetime; I can assure you all, that 30 years of service still finds me both physically and mentally fit. Thanks to my good Dr. La Brot here today, I wake each morning hale and hearty to do my duty.

Eddie Greenberg delivers speech as maintenance crew looks on. (Photo courtesy of the Bayside District Corporation)

You may ask what have I learned in my lengthy City service? I would have to answer that the first bedrock lesson, is that none of us can accomplish this job alone. All of us working together make the end result so much more successful. We should never forget the human touch without which any project is doomed to failure.

We should always strive for logical solutions, instead of mindless caos. We should always enjoy some autonomy as a team, as too many conflicting orders leave us in paralysis.

We should always respect our leaders & our ultimate bosses who are “We the people!” Promenade maintenance done by City service, (housed at the Solid-Waste Dept. for the past 23 years,) has been the glue that has kept this diverse mosaic the Third St. Promenade, respected and emulated around the world.

If I said to you that this job was accomplished without personal sacrifice, it would not be true! Unlike other civil service jobs we never close. We are in business 24/7. Each of us may be called upon to go the extra distance, to be a first responder in any number of emergencies which may, and often do, develop. One City employee Tony Ardizzone gave his life while on duty here to make this a better place. He is not forgotten. The fabric of continuity is alive and well at Promenade Maintenance.

Please understand that in each year of our quest to maintain this place properly, our research for the right tools, machines and training when granted, kept us ahead of the technological curve. The private sector and other cities across the USA have consulted us about what they consider our superior efforts to achieve the ultimate results they are seeking. Both the cities of Tokyo, and Beijing have sent delegations to share a frank exchange of views on our maintenance techniques.

I ask you today to look this place over thoroughly, from property line to property line. When the ultra violet rays of the sun meet the environmental green solutions that we use in our scrubbers, the result is similar to what Ronald Reagan once called our “SHINING CITY ON THE HILL!” We are all here today to bear witness to that fact.

Many of us were called upon during sudden & split second emergencies after hours, when loved ones were ill or dying and yet performed to the highest standard expected of committed City employees. Our leaders never had to be awakened in the wee hours, to respond to a catastrophe that we failed to take care of. That includes the earthquake of 1994 and numerous Edison power shortages.

Therefore I preside over a team that cleans, washes and deodorizes some 1 million square feet per day. Cross training is the norm, and in all of the time of my stewardship I am humbled to say, that not a single act of corruption or impropriety has ever been attached to any member of this team! Accountability is our signature trait.

It should be understood that our operation thrived even though budgets were always shrinking. In fact I have no recollection in decades where our budget was entirely adequate. Our employees much to their credit worked harder and smarter to do so much more, with so much less.

We have a safety record second to none. In fact, for eighteen consecutive years this experiment of where City service and the private sector come together, so many owed so much to so few. The economic gains complimented the quality of the service. Think about it, sales were $29 million in 1989, becoming $2.5 billion in 2003. Total operations costs for Promenade Maintenance is $1.5 million per year. Not bad!!

I am grateful for the support I receive from my staff.

Ms. Susan Trier is the inspiration of our customer service effort to the 300 major businesses and local restuarants in the Bayside District. She is the “Doyenne,” of our environmental program.

I could never deny my gratitude to Susan for her support, her wisdom and her loyalty.

Mr. Jay Aguilar worked with me in his teens during the summer as he attended school. Now nearly finishing a university education, Jay has the ideal temperament, drive and personal integrity to play a major role with me in our merger into the new Community Maintenance Department.

Our night time crew-leader Robert Dorsey who has guided the shifts where most of our customers show up, and where most of the money is made, is also an ordained minister. Therefore, not only is he adept at insuring the bottom line, he is also proficient at saving souls, and we all enjoy spiritual and moral guidance, from him.

Ray Lee came close to the ultimate sacrifice, when a mother and her two twin sons were walking the Promenade toward Santa Monica -- A fire engine with siren on full blast, frightened one of the boys, who ran into the road, onto the path of an oncoming vehicle. Mr. Lee rescued the child within seconds of both of them being killed. To see that mother awash in tears of gratitude in broad daylight was to capture the essence of what Promenade Maintenance is all about.

I especially want to thank John Harris, Sammy Romo, (who have 1 million safe miles of city operations behind them), Linwood Fenderson, O’Dell Barrett, Javier Maravilla, Mark Moreno, Steve Hernandez, Carlos Alamillo, Mike Roth, Micheal Morrissey, Dan Eubanks, Angel Frias, and the rest of my faithful staff.

I wish to thank Celeste Peele our division manager at Solid Waste, who always urged us to do our best.

I wish to thank our most respected political community for their support of labor rights, and our team, and Councilman Kevin McKeown in particular, who is here today. Thank you to our hands- on Police Dept. and Chief Timothy Jackman, that have saved our lives many times. Thank you Chief for your eloquent tribute! And to our fire dept. to whom we are in debt. I am deeply touched to see former Mayor Michael Finestein, and city hall staff, and all of you that have come here today. Thank you for being our colleagues, our friends, and our neighbors!!!

My deep thanks to the honorable Ernie Kaplan, and Barbara Tenzer, two of our most esteemed business leaders, who have been my patient mentors for at least 25 years. Long life Ernie, and Barbara, and Thank you!!!

Thank you Kathleen Rawson of Bayside, for uniting us all in the common purpose of making this the outstanding place it is!!!! Thank you Andrew Thomas for this fine plaque, and your great words.

To Jerry Rubin we love you! You are the moral conscience of our city. All of us need you. Thank you Broadway Deli. for a great cake and your fabulous restaurant that we all enjoy.

Let us leave here today united in our resolve that we will build the future on the collective gains of our productive past. Let us acknowledge each others contribution to this place, and let no one trivialize anothers best efforts. Let us seek prosperity, while respecting each others dignity and humanity. Let us celebrate each other’s diversity and strive for our collective unity.

Let us never fear to be held accountable, but let us in turn demand accountability for principled leadership. And fair adjudication of employee rights!!!

Now entering the new Community Maintenance. Department under Elaine Polochek, we intend to contribute our best efforts as is the creed of all SM city employees.


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