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New Police contract -- Can the City afford this?

Original post made by just wondering, Menlo Park: Downtown, on Apr 11, 2008

That whopping increase in the police department salaries is going to cost the city each year after the third year $2.3 million. That is a big bite of the total city budget.

How will be be funded? There is no possibility that any tax increase can even begin to cover this expenditure.

Then the rest of the City's workers will, of course, be looking for their big increases.

Nothing was mentioned by the City as to how these increases are going to be paid. We deserve to know,how the City intends to pay for this contract.

Are we being led down a path similar to what has happened in IRAQ? Are We just going ahead without any plan for the future? This was a unanimous vote, so all the council is responsible as is the City Manager.

I admire Chuck Bernstein as being willing to get up and question this action.

just wondering

Comments (11)

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Posted by Bella Azzurro
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 11, 2008 at 10:41 am

I'm pretty sure a good argument can be made that the police are not engaged in an endless occupation of Menlo Park against the will of its residents, so I'd say the Iraq comparison may be a little off.


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Posted by just wondering
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 12, 2008 at 10:27 am

My comparison to Iraq was only to the economics of this new police contract. The connection is simply, "the City is now and forever obligated to paying around $2.3 Million more in police salaries at the end of the 3 year contract". From where are the funds going to come?

Is the City going to cut services? Is the City going to raise taxes? Is the City going to try and bring in more revenues from more expansion and higher density developments?

We need an open discussion and we need it soon.

just wondering


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Posted by Joanna
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 12, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Our hardworking and deserving employees who earn around $100,000.00 or more deserve a pay raise. Well, look at what San Whatever City pays their employees? We don't want our talented and *irreplaceable* staff jumping ship. We increased the City Manager pay from around $160,000.00 to $250,000.00 (including benefits). Let's raise that up too. The more we raise our salaries, the better they will perform. Are cops defecting too much because of the top brass? Heck, let them go and let's pay everyone even more.

I say, raise salaries first, then improve Menlo Park. The new "go between" person we just hired at $75,000.00 should get a raise to round it to $100,000.00.

Why you ask? Why not?

Hahahaha


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Posted by retired manager
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Apr 12, 2008 at 3:17 pm

I hope the city is looking very hard at the reasons for poor morale. Compensation is rarely the primary problem for that. In fact, employees often stay in an organization where they feel respected and where they feel they have growth opportunities, even though they do not earn the very top wages.


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Posted by menlo park resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 13, 2008 at 11:52 pm

Paleeze people. The city cannot afford NOT to pay our officers. We need to rebuild our force and quick. A good police force is our first priority. A well paid officer is an officer who knows he is valued. That goes a long way towards good morale. We can't pay them enough as far as I am concerned. What is it worth to a citizen to know that if they need a police officer, there will be one there. Priceless.


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Posted by Joan
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 14, 2008 at 7:56 am

I have to agree with retired manager. Sure, officers' salaries had to be raised. But to the level of the top 3 or 4 departments in the county?

Unfortunately, in this case, that's probably the way it had to be, but for one reason only: The city ignored tremendous morale problems under the chief (can't remember his name) in place just before Goitia. As the exodus of officers proceeded apace, Boesch and the council merely said "Heck of a job, Brownie" and pretended those red flags weren't waving. Of course morale is low and the department has next to no veterans. The city's "leadership" got us into this mess, and now probably the only recourse is to raise the pay scale to a level that wouldn't have been necessary if morale wasn't in the toilet.


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Posted by retired manager
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Apr 14, 2008 at 8:40 am

Thanks to Joan for describing more fully the situation. I erred in not stating that I do not oppose some increases in compensation. From what I've heard, the package is quite generous in a number of ways. It has implications for other union negotiations both here in Menlo Park but also with other cities who just might get into a bidding war. We need to look at the total long term picture.

Unlike MPR, I disagree that "we can't pay them enough" at least not until all of the taxpayers also get generous raises from their employers. Wouldn't it be ironic that we get into the situation that our budget can only afford to pay fewer employees?


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Posted by Mayhem in MP
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 14, 2008 at 9:39 am

My encounters with the Menlo Park police have almost all been negative. They seem to be surly control freaks who get their jollies from being rude to people and making veiled threats. (Note that I am a law-abiding citizen, long-time resident, never been arrested.) The last time I asked them to enforce the law (vis a vis the skatepark across the park from them--it has been taken over by bicyclists and non-helmet-wearing young adults, so it's not fun or safe for younger kids) I was told that it wasn't their concern. They don't seem to care about people speeding or ignoring stop signs in my neighborhood, not surprising since they themselves are the worst offenders.

Conversely, my experiences with the police from Atherton have always been pleasant. The dispatchers there are friendly, and they work hard to make positive connections with the community, even hosting barbecues at the elementary schools. (I realize this is not part of police work, but it reflects their overall attitude toward their jobs and the people they serve.)

If Menlo Park truly were in a crisis situation, would our police be protecting us? Or would they (since they're the ones with guns) be leading the looters and pillagers?

I would rather see our police protection outsourced. We're not getting good value now, and I don't think a few more dollars will transform them into model cops.


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Posted by Joanna
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 14, 2008 at 2:31 pm

Unfortunately, you just can't throw money at a problem and expect it to work... for long.

It is easy for the government to approve of pay increases. First because it isn't their money. Second because who would want to be known for shooting down a pay increase for our police officers?

I support our police officers and they do a great job. Like the person above stated, we don't have to be on par with other cities to get and keep talent. Spending 1/4 of a million a year on a city manager from Fresno was only the beginning I see.

Morale is more than pay. The police brass from the top down, needs to be audited. We have to maintain the safety and atmosphere of our city. We have the police officers to thank... but not necessarily the brass.


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Posted by The Phantom
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Apr 14, 2008 at 3:01 pm

How much time does the MP police spend assisting East Palo Alto police?

Maybe that's why there's a morale problem?




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Posted by Joanna
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 14, 2008 at 3:30 pm

I can't quantify opinions, but I know for a fact that quite a few Palo Alto cops hate dealing with the crowd on the other side of 101. I can't imagine Menlo Park PD being any different.

I remember reading back about cronyism and other office politics being a big deal in the MPPD. Anyone remember that?


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