Almanac

News - January 9, 2013

Menlo Park: CalPERS nixes interim police chief's extension

• State agency also investigating retired city employee's contract.

by Sandy Brundage

Contract issues are troubling Menlo Park lately, with the state's retirement agency refusing to allow an extension of interim Police Chief Lee Violett's employment on the one hand, and investigating former personnel director Glen Kramer's continued employment as a contractor on the other.

A California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) spokesperson confirmed that the agency is looking into Mr. Kramer's employment. She declined to release further details at this time.

He retired in December 2010 before returning as a contractor the next month as interim personnel director at an hourly pay rate of $68.40 per hour on top of his $10,877 monthly pension. CalPERS limits retired employees from working more than 960 hours per fiscal year as contractors.

When the city hired Gina Donnelly to head human resources, many expected that would be the end of Mr. Kramer's contract. But not so fast.

According to City Manager Alex McIntyre, Mr. Kramer, whose duties included running payroll, is assisting with the transition from a manual to an automated payroll system, as well as making other contributions.

"We can't mess up payroll," Mr. McIntyre said, and noted that the former director reports to work once a week. "I've asked to have (the work) done sooner rather than later."

The Almanac was not able to determine by press time how many hours Mr. Kramer has worked as a contractor to date.

Both Mr. McIntyre and Ms. Donnelly said they were unaware of the CalPERS investigation.

"CalPERS law has changed a couple of times. He's not working very much for us, but I wouldn't be surprised if they had an issue. They rejected Lee (Violett's) request," Mr. McIntyre said.

In December the Menlo Park City Council asked the agency to extend the interim police chief's contract beyond January to allow for a smooth transition when a new chief is appointed sometime in February. Chief Violett stepped in after Bryan Roberts left Menlo Park in July after serving as chief for 23 months.

The city is searching nationwide for a permanent chief, using a process of multiple review panels that included community representatives such as Facebook's head of security, Joe Sullivan.

"(Mr. Sullivan) got invited after a presentation to the city manager and staff. He has a background in law enforcement, and the city is looking for innovative ways to improve their services, so they asked (him to attend interviews)," a Facebook spokesperson said.

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