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Original post made
on Jul 26, 2011
How in the world did we agree to pay for child care for any employee? No doubt it is a tax free benefit. How many other benefits are undisclosed to the public? Is it true city employee children may attend our public schools without any form of contribution through residency?
Perhaps the citizens of Menlo Park might wish to ask the City Council to adopt a Compensation Philosophy similar to that of the Fire District:
MENLO PARK FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
PROPOSED REVISIONS TO BOARD POLICY AND
PROCEDURES MANUAL SECTION 5.11
EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION PHILOSOPHY
The Board of Directors of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District ("District")
hereby adopts this policy concerning the compensation of its employees. The District's
Board of Directors shall observe this policy when adopting compensation plans and
contracts covering District employees.
Principle No. 1 Recruitment and Retention: Compensation should, when
economically feasible, be set at a level sufficient to recruit and retain employees who are qualified and committed to provide high quality services to the community. One critical measure of whether compensation meets this criterion is whether there are a sufficient
number of qualified applicants for advertised job openings.
Principle No. 2 Fairness: The Board shall strive to ensure its compensation program is fair and equitable from all legitimate perspectives, including the perspectives of the community, labor and management. The District may choose to survey public and private employers to evaluate the appropriateness and fairness of its compensation program. The Board is directly accountable to the District's constituents, and the Board accordingly retains the discretion to determine the fairness of all compensation
Principle No. 3 Transparency: Compensation for all District employees should be 100% transparent i.e., the public should be able to see all pay elements, including the cost of all health, pension and welfare benefits, applicable to each employee. District pay packages should be simple and easily understood. Safeguards must be in place to prevent abuses such as pension spiking and maximizing overtime through manipulation.
Principle No. 4 Fiscal Sustainability: All compensation commitments must be made consistent with principles of fiscal sustainability and to ensure the District's long term success in achieving its mission. Compensation adjustments must not compromise the District's ability to successfully meet its ongoing and future financial commitments.
The Board shall observe its Labor Relations Policy and Plan.
Principle No. 5 Accountability: All compensation commitments must be expressly delineated and are subject to formal approval by the Board of Directors. The Board will not abide "implied" or unwritten contracts, or unspecified "past practices," that purport to require employee compensation.
Principle No. 6 Performance Based Pay: Whenever reasonably possible,
compensation shall be tied to merit and performance. The District shall not permit pay increases based merely on the length of employment.
Principle No. 7 Economic Climate: The District shall consider the overall economic climate and condition affecting the District and its constituents when setting compensation levels, including regional economic indicators such as the rate of unemployment, inflation, current and projected revenues, and the District's anticipated
ability to pay in the long term.
Principle No. 8 Legal Compliance: The District will ensure that its pay practices comport with the Fair Labor Standards Act and, to the extent legally applicable, State law. The District renews its commitment to negotiate in good faith with labor pursuant
to the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act ("MMBA"), and to abide by all requirements of the MMBA.
Principle No. 9 Flexibility: The District shall strive to remain flexible and innovative in light of changing conditions and improving technologies, and shall continually re-evaluate its pay practices to ensure they are consistent with best practices.
The Fire Board also makes public the full text of any new proposed labor agreements for 15 days before it is allowed to vote on such proposed agreements in order to allow the citizens, who pay the bills, to comment on those agreements.
Negotiation is a give and take. Perhaps the Officers gave up something in exchange for child care. It's difficult to know how that came to pass without having been involved in the negotiation.
Though the benefit appears extraordinary on its face, its speculative to suggest the City gave it away because it was nice and for nothing in return.
If the full agreement is made public then there would be no need to speculate.
"reduces the work schedule 100 hours per year"
How does this work? Does the City of Menlo Park only respond to calls when they have Officers on duty?
The answer is probably found in the asking the neighboring agency for help. I'm sure Atherton, EPA, and the Sheriff aren't too thrilled about having a built-in reliance on their willingness to help.
More concerning is what happens if Atherton, EPA, and the Sheriff also reduce hours? Then, there's nobody available ...
So much for Government's primary obligation to provide safety ...
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