By Dan Haley
Allen J. Parker, an Oak Park village manager for a brief period during the 1990s, has resurfaced as city manager of the bankrupt community of San Bernardino, Calif.
Parker was hired in Oak Park and then forced out during the term of Village President Larry Christmas. A bit offbeat by Oak Park standards – he didn't wear socks, for instance – Parker resigned over a dispute related to his vacation pay and whether he had intentionally misinterpreted his contract terms.
Parker was hired in February by a unanimous vote of the city council in San Bernardino, a town of 200,000 made notable as the third city in California to declare bankruptcy in recent years.
Parker was promoted as an expert in managing cities in financial distress going back to his early career in Compton, CA. which Parker described as having been on the brink of bankruptcy in the 1970s. On his hiring in San Bernardino he said he would work quickly to force city expenditures into line with limited revenues.
There was a kerfuffle at the time of his hiring over news reports that Parker had declared personal bankruptcy twice. Once in 1991, just before he was hired in Oak Park, and again in 2011. In responding to press inquiries about the bankruptcies he said the first instance was related mainly to a divorce while the more recent filing was tied to the broad decline in the real estate market. "I got turned upside down on a house like thousands of others," he told the San Bernardino County Sun.