BY ALICIA ROBINSON
STAFF WRITER
arobinson@pe.com

Published: 10 December 2011 04:05 PM

For new Riverside City Manager Scott Barber, becoming head of the state’s 12th largest city in tough economic times will mean filling some key positions, pushing a smaller-scale public works “renaissance,” and facing a potential budget shortfall of several million dollars.

Barber, 52, was hired Monday as city manager after temporarily filling the job since August. The council will vote Tuesday on his contract, which includes a base salary of $280,500 but skips some of the perks given his predecessor, Brad Hudson.

In an interview, Barber said he has plans for improving the city, both inside and outside City Hall. He’s been with the city for six years as community development director and has another 19 years’ experience in county government.

Council members consider Hudson the man who made possible the five-year, $1.57 billion public works initiative known as the Riverside Renaissance. Barber isn’t aiming to outdo that achievement, but he does have ideas to continue the upgrades.

In January, Barber expects to report to the council’s transportation committee on his plans for “more of a neighborhood renaissance,” he said. It would include improvements such as new sidewalks and street overhauls, but he declined to elaborate until next month. As to how it would be funded, he said, “Stay tuned.”

Barber will have some hiring to do, after the recent departure of public works director Siobhan Foster and the retirement later this month of planning director Ken Gutierrez. He said he’ll use the opportunity to look at the city’s organizational structure to see if changes are needed.

“There’s a great mix of people here (and) there are some opportunities for some new people to come in,” he said.

Barber will also tackle budget issues. Property and sales tax revenues remain uncertain and city Chief Finance Officer Paul Sundeen said there is potential for a $5 million budget gap heading into the 2012-13 fiscal year, which starts July 1.

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