Craig J. Cornwell, City Attorney
Charles Evans, City Manager
Compton Keeps Rising
As the second decade of the new century begins, the city of Compton continues to display signs of progress in all areas
By Francis Taylor
Sentinel Contributing Writer
There are certain elements in the life of a municipality that calls for strong leadership, and adherence to a steady and purposeful direction. Such are the offices of city attorney, the city’s top legal representative and the city manager, who directs the city’s day-to-day management much like the CEO of a corporation. In the city of Compton, the persons charged with those responsibilities are: Craig J. Cornwell, the city attorney and Charles Evans, the city manager.
CRAIG F. CORNWELL
Prior to becoming city attorney, Craig J. Cornwell was familiar with the office having provided legal advice to his predecessor on various matters as a private attorney. In addition, he previously worked as a deputy city attorney and the chief deputy city attorney for the city. Cornwell also brought experience from his time in the private sector as founding partner with the firm of McClain-Hill, Cornwell, LLP.
He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara; and his law degree from the Whittier Law School, Costa Mesa. As the city attorney, Cornwell provides legal counsel for the city council and the administrative staff, as well as prosecutorial services for misdemeanors and infractions. He also represents the city in claims against others; and all claims brought against the city, as a general rule, unless there is a conflict of interest. In such instances, the city attorney will recluse his office and the city will most likely hire outside private counsel. In addition, the city attorney keeps the city council up-to-date on such matters.
Cornwell is a longtime resident of Compton, the son of Pastor Raymond R. Cornwell and Maple J. Cornwell a retired elementary school principal. He is married and has a three- year-old daughter. According to his biography on the city web page, his daughter is a soon-to-be United States Supreme Court Justice; and with her daddy’s push, she already seems to have a jumpstart.
As the city manager, Charles Evans manages the effective delivery of city services and sees that it is done in an efficient and professional way. As he puts it, “One of the goals of the City of Compton is to serve, and Mayor Eric Perrodin and the Compton City Council are committed to making it as easy as possible to obtain the city services residents need.” According to his web page, the City Manager is responsible for the administration of City services and programs, enforcement of the City’s Municipal Code and ordinances, and preparation of the annual budget.
He has been with the city since 1980, starting as the risk manager for the city, handling their workers compensation, safety and loss prevention program, all the other elements that went with the risks that happen in the municipal environment. “I’ve been the city manager for about two years,” Evans explained, “and we’ve had three goals: initially we wanted to increase the housing market here; we wanted to increase economic development and create jobs; and we wanted to take advantage of our location as the Hub City. We sit between about five freeways; the Alameda Corridor runs through the city and we think there’s great potential for economic growth.”
His role as the city’s CEO is prominently displayed in his biography on the city’s web page. It states that Compton City Hall is at your service 24 hours a day, seven days a week thanks to a new program called “City Hall At Your Service.” Residents can phone into City Hall after hours by calling the City Hall At Your Service Hotline. For more information regarding our Council/Manager form of government and to view the City’s 2007-2008 Budget click on the budget link on the home page.
All his efforts seem to demonstrate a service-friendly city manager, within the city and beyond the city. “We’re reaching out to the countries in Southeast Asia including China; we have a Chinese company that is located here. They’re on a mission on our behalf going back to China looking at opportunities to have companies re-locate here. And we’re also looking nationally at companies located on the East Coast.”
With Evans as the CEO and the leadership team in Compton, “birthing a new Compton” is no longer just a slogan, it is the new reality.