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Atherton: Compensation cuts OK'd, but reconsideration likely

Original post made on Dec 4, 2012

The vote may have been unanimous, but the outcome of the Atherton City Council's approval of compensation changes for 10 unrepresented town employees is far from certain.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, December 5, 2012, 12:00 AM

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Posted by BenchMark
a resident of Atherton: other
on Dec 4, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Posted by BenchMark, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, 20 hours ago

Notes from the meeting from the You tube tape.


Council & City Attorney Initial Comments.

Part 1 - Web Link Part 2 - Web Link The City Attorney disclosed last minutes changes to the resolution. The changes were prompted by the examination of an outside Attorney who found problems.

That attorney believes it's "bad form" to approve at this meeting.

The City Attorney says he would liketo have CalPERS review and approve a portion of the resolution and will reintroduce that part at the next Council meeting.

Dobbie observes few private sector jobs have the benefits included in this resolution andbelieves Atherton employees are being very well paid even with this resolution. Hewants Town employees paid at the same levels as the private sector. He says theCouncil has been looking at this for a long time.

He says "it wasn't complicated" to outsource the Public Works, Building, and Parkemployees last year.

Jerry Carlson asks if the unrepresented employees have seen the completed resolution.

The City Attorney says he doubts the unrepresented employees have seen the resolution being considered at the meeting.

Carlson notes there is no 5 years financialprojection and it would give the Council better information on the impact of the changesin this resolution. Carlson says the Council should listen to employee and residentconcerns regarding these changes.

Elizabeth Lewis recognizes the City Attorney's comment that CalPERS has not vetted the resolution and suggests it would be prudent to continue the item to the next meetingfor that reason. She suggests some of the elements are too aggressive (18 monthimplementation.).

She observes the rushed implementation does not provide theeffected employees time to plan for the changes. The Town is going to reducecompensation by 20% in some cases.

Kathy McKeithen says they are trying to reach parity with the private sector. She alsobelieves that the Town is not in parity with other public sector agencies. She says the Town pays the employee's entire 9% portion of their CalPERS contribution. (EPMC issomething used in the 70th percentile calculation; though the Town pays the employee's share, it is not extra compensation.)

Bill Widmer says the fringe rate in the private sector is 30%; he claims it is 100% (or greater) in the public sector. He believes the pension liability is $12 million. Based on a Moody's report, he thinks Atherton's is $20-36 million.Widmer recaps his opinion of the State pension problem and suggests these changesare meant to correct the issue. He notes Palo Alto requires their safety employees to paytheir full CalPERS pension requirement (9%). He believes these compensation reductions are "humane". He believes that the outsourcing of Public Works, Building,and Parks has been successful.Widmer says the Council has been discussing this since the end of the first quarter andthe employees have known since mid-year.

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