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Greater accountability is needed in Atherton

Original post made by John P Johns, CPA on Feb 6, 2012

Dear Readers:

The following is a reply I received from the Town of Atherton in response to my requests for copies of Mr. Danielson's time records.

The bottom line is that there are no records as to how Mr. Danielson spent his time last year. Mr. Danielson it appears did not submit a single timesheet.

In my professional opinion, the failure of the top appointed official in Atherton to provide even the most rudimentary accounting of the time spent in service to the Town is an internal control weakness that is unacceptable.

There's a saying in our business "the tone starts at the top".

If Mr. Danielson refuses to be held accountable for the time he spends on town business, then it seems unreasonable to expect the rest of the town to do the same.


From: Theresa DellaSanta []
> Sent: Thursday, February 02, 2012 3:40 PM
> To: john johns (
> Subject: RE: Atherton City Manager
> Mr. Johns-
> This message is in response to your Public Records Act request dated
> January 27, 2012 seeking "copies of any writings prepared by Mr.
> Danielson that would provide any evidence that Mr. Danielson has,
> during the past 12 months initiated a search for a permanent City
> Manager for Atherton, and copies of any writings which would indicate
> the number of hours expended by Mr.
> Danielson in performing his duties as acting City Manager during
> calendar year 2011. Please provide this accounting of hours on a
> monthly basis."
> The Town is unable to release any records because no such records
> exist.
> Thank you,
> Theresa DellaSanta
> Interim City Manager/City Clerk
> 650-752-0529

Comments (6)

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Danielson was paid per month and not per hour, and as an exempt employee (exempt from wage and hour regulations) he was not required to record the times that he worked nor did his contract require him to do so. His contract only called for him to notify the Town when his total hours exceeded 860 hours.

Posted by Huh?, a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm

How is he supposed to notify Atherton his time went over 860 hours if he didn't keep track of how many hours he worked?

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The contract specifies that Danielson has the 'discretion to determine his work schedule'. There was no requirement that he report hours worked. Any personal records that he may have kept would not be subject to the FOI request by Johns.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 6, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This topic begins with the rebuttable presumption that the Interim Town Manager is required to file time cards and then asserts that because he did not do so that there was a lack of leadership.

Since the presumption is incorrect so then is the assertion.

Posted by The Math, a resident of another community
on Feb 6, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Assuming Danielson worked just 1 calendar year, there's 253 working days between 1-3-11 and 1-3-12. If CALPERS limited him to 860 hours, then he could only average 3 hr 25 minutes per working day as Interim City Manager.

Atherton paid him $14,000 / month. Assuming he worked only the 860 hours, he would have made $195 / hr.

Expressed another way, if he were to have put in an 8 hour day, he would have completed his 860 hours in 107 work days and would have had to stop working on 6-3-11.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Executives are paid for job performance not for hours worked - and that is exactly what the Danielson contract stated.

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