Michael Bierman, Former Fresno City Manager, Passes Away

Bierman had fought a long battle with cancer which unfortunately ended earlier this month.

His tenure in Fresno came during a tumultuous time that saw previous city managers average 3 years in the position. This is because the structure of government allowed the 7-member city council to vote them off with a majority.

Arriving in 1990, his resolve was immediately tested with a budget deficit. A police hiring freeze would come into place in tandem with a population boom that left the police short staffed and crime on the rise.

The cash strapped city explored and eventually adopted a strong-mayor form of government, with one councilman saying, “Right now the primary weakness on the council is that we have seven mayors.”

When voters approved the change in 1993, Bierman knew his days were numbered as the new mayor would pick the city manager. That change would come in January 1997.

Before the end though, the seeds of downtown revitalization were sewn with a new baseball stadium, a regional medical complex, and a new federal courthouse.

Bierman’s legacy is one that City Manager Bruce Rudd describes as, “[ironic] in the fact that a number of the issues that Mike had to address, including a recession, budget deficits and an increase in crime, are as relevant today as they were more than 20 years ago.”

Michael Bierman is survived by Roberta (Birdie) Bierman, his wife of 39 years, two children and a granddaughter. He was 66 years old.

The full story remembering Michael Bierman can be found here.