Posted by What the heck?, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 11:13 am
I echo the comments of "Not again...". It seems there's one lawsuit after another. I've never seen anything like this. City Manager Jerome Gruber has been in the position long enough at this point that he can't blame it on past administrations. Something needs to be done to clear the deck of all of these lawsuits and commence a governmental environment in which lawsuits are not a monthly occurrence. It will merely take some humility on the part of the Atherton municipal government.
Posted by al voels, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on May 27, 2009 at 10:44 am
Watching Atherton and its legal troubles is like watching a train wreck. One cannot help feeling a certain sickness combined with a grim fascination as the spectacle unfolds.
Of the three cases listed on the closed session agenda, two are employment related. Perhaps the Town Council, City Manager and department heads should attend some risk management training with an emphasis on HR. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Posted by F. Lee Bailey, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on May 27, 2009 at 11:41 pm
Let's realize one big point: all the money being spent on the lawsuits ISN'T COMING OUT OF THE POCKETS OF THE PEOPLE MAKING THE DECISIONS (Gruber and the council). They have no particular incentive to settle them, particularly if personalities get involved.
The more interesting question, again, is why Atherton is having way more than its "fair share" of these lawsuits.
First off, when the town has decided to tango with a few of the residents over various mini-scandals, it's not hard to imagine that residents in the richest town in the world, or something like that, many of whom are business owners and/or CEOs, are going to push back. Easy enough to understand, but not so easy to digest why the town council would permit these types of entanglements in the first place, given they are also residents and represent the residents. Atherton's image is one of engendering the utmost respect for its residents by the town employees, police, etc., and in general this is true, but there have been a handful of notable and disdainful exceptions. My guess is when the town council hasn't intervened decisively to cut these off, it's in the interests of maintaining "good relations" with the town manager and police chief. This of course should NOT take priority over the well-being of the residents, most of whom are paying a huge amount of property taxes to live here.
How about the litigation with the employees? My guess, and it's only a guess, is that after working in the town for awhile, the police chief and the town manager figure they're more or less residents, complete with all the hubris that comes with it. Again, the town council should curtail this.