Armenta Says He Really Is Not Giving up Public ServiceBy Ari L. Noonan @ 4:00 PM May 01, 2012
Second in a series
Re “Armenta’s Legacy – He Was the Ideal Teammate”
Christopher Armenta Three certainties during former City Councilman Chris Armenta’s 10-year career, which ended a week ago last night, were a cheery smile, a nearby laugh and an agreeable attitude toward doing an interview.
As the most consistently sunny Councilman of the century, he said that his resignation for career reasons – his job schedule makes continuing impossible – is not really the end for him.
“Indirectly, I am continuing my public service,” Mr. Armenta said, “just in a different venue, through the state Board of Equalization,” his employer for more than 20 years.
“What we do is collect the No. 1 sales tax revenue for the City of Culver City. That local 1 percent the city gets, for the most part my agency collects that, administers it and makes sure all of the cities get what is coming to them.
“We will always have that inter-relationship between what I do for the Board of Equalization and the City of Culver City, amongst the other 73 cities in the County.”
Perhaps it is ironic that Mr. Armenta, who established him as an outgoing public personality during his six years as City Clerk and the last four on the Council, has devoted the bulk of his professional life to auditing, where a sparkling persona may not necessarily be required.
“I was going out to the field, examining books and records, making sure the businesses were complying with sales tax laws,” he said. “I did outreach and I conducted tax training classes. I did everything a rank-and-file person could do.
“Luckily for me, my good friend Jerome Horton was elected to the Board of Equalization,” and now he is state chairman. “He knows my background and experience,” and the result was, Mr. Armenta was promoted to Deputy Advisor, based in Monterey Park. For 17 Years, he was much closer to home, the intersection of Bristol Parkway and Green Valley Circle.
“As an auditor,” he said, “I had the flexibility I don’t have now.”
Mr. Armenta insists he is not returning to private life. “I always have been a public servant. Just a different capacity. Even when I was a cab driver. There’s no change. I will always be serving the public. Those are my customers.”