Town Square

Post a New Topic

Atherton: Staff compensation cuts OKd, but council likely to reconsider next month

Original post made on Nov 29, 2012

The vote may have been unanimous, but the outcome of the Atherton City Council's approval last night (Nov. 28) of compensation changes for about 10 town employees is far from certain. Two council members unhappy with some of the proposed changes promised to call for reconsideration of the matter next month, when a new council member is seated.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, November 29, 2012, 11:54 AM

Comments (10)

Like this comment
Posted by Truthful Report
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 29, 2012 at 3:24 pm

On October 25, 2012 Mayor Widmer sent out a press release with the following paragraph:

"The City Council has not, held any discussions at any Council meeting regarding plans or potential plans to outsource our police department services."

This was misleading, because last night the Mayor admitted that for months discussions were taking place on police salaries.

It could have stated what was being discussed: "The council has been working for months in closed session on a Compensation Reduction plan instead of outsourcing...."

It is hard to believe that during those six months Outsourcing was not mentioned in any discussion. If two or three officers suddenly leave due to the Compensation, will backups be "outsourced" from the Sheriff to cover shifts.

Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Nov 29, 2012 at 3:44 pm

In 2010 Atherton's unfunded pensions were reported to be $8,000,000 last night it was said to be $12,000,000 and according to the mayor Moody's said its a lot more like $24-30 million.

Like this comment
Posted by I was there
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 29, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Truthful Report, I don't remember Widmer saying that for months discussions were taking place on police salaries. He said discussions on the unrepresented employee compensation had been going on for months. Your post is confusing on many levels.

Like this comment
Posted by Truthful Report
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 29, 2012 at 4:28 pm

I would think the Mayor's recent Press Release would have informed residents of the $12-24 Million debt Atherton has. The council should have been working on this the last two years.

Like this comment
Posted by Truthful Report
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 29, 2012 at 4:46 pm

TO: "I Was There"

Although The Police Chief and Lt. are unrepresented they still work in the Police Deptartment.

The issue is confusing, and it would be great for council to clear it up. Police officers retire at age 50, but if they are promoted to Lt. or Chief it will now be age 57. Is that what the council is proposing?

When the council was discussing the matter over the last several months did they ever address this scenario?

Are you thinking that during all those council meetings, no one ever asked if the unrepresented employee's plan would have an impact on the APOA contract?

Do you think that regular police officers now are factoring that Atherton retirement is likely to go to age 57?

Like this comment
Posted by Gimme a break
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 29, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Widmer says two things:

1. Discussions have been taking place about compensation reductions.
2. Discussions have not been taking place about outsourcing.

And the net result is he must be a liar? That's just not logically true. It's not even misleading. For example, companies have implemented salary reductions with no plans to "outsource" their employees. These are simply mutually exclusive concepts.

>>Do you think that regular police officers now are factoring that Atherton retirement is likely to go to age 57?

Why not? And what's so bad about that? The arrogance is astounding...complaining about a retirement age of 57 when everybody else works to well past that?

Anyway, Flint is past 57 at any rate, by my guess.

Like this comment
Posted by Truthful Report
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 30, 2012 at 7:23 am

November 2010 Almanac
Residents getting nervous over police outsourcing option
by Renee Batti

"In what could be a sign of things to come if Atherton's elected officials decide to outsource police services, a number of Atherton residents attended an early morning meeting of the City Council and town's Finance Committee on Nov. 18 to hear a presentation on another city's experiences in turning over police operations to the county Sheriff's Office.

In spite of the 8 a.m. start time, about 15 residents attended the session, Councilman Jerry Carlson estimated. A number of them spoke, he said, and to his recollection, they all were against farming out police services.

The council has not actively explored outsourcing police services, but it has been struggling to find ways to fix the town budget's $1 million structural deficit, and had directed the Finance Committee to look at options that include outsourcing a number of town services.
The committee had scheduled a presentation by Jeff Maltbie, interim city manager of San Carlos, who was to talk about his city's outsourcing of police services to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office. When Councilman Carlson learned of the presentation, scheduled for the committee's Nov. 18 meeting, he requested that the meeting be held jointly with the City Council, he said....

Councilman Dobbie said if the council ever decided it wanted to turn over police operations to another agency, he would push for putting the question on the ballot.

Bill Widmer, who will take a seat on the council in December, also said voters should be the ultimate decision-makers on outsourcing.

Mr. Maltbie's presentation included an overview of San Carlos' move from its own police force to its outsourcing to the Sheriff's Office, a transition that became effective Nov. 1. The process, Mr. Carlson said, included a paring down of services over a number of years in an attempt to reduce costs and retain the department; but after a time, only core services were available and financial problems remained."

Atherton has begun the first step that San Carlos did. Services have been pared down. Furloughs, the SRO is gone, etc...

Outsourcing has been discussed at Council meetings, on this web site, and other places for years.

Like this comment
Posted by Bill Widmer
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 30, 2012 at 7:36 am

We did not and I did NOT say Wednesday that for months the Council had been discussing Police salaries. I did say that the discussion on benefit packages for non-safety employees had been discussed for many months.

It would be nice if someone with a handle of Truthful reporting would actually do it.

Like this comment
Posted by Gimme a break
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 30, 2012 at 8:37 am

I share your criticism of Widmer. This council NOT discussing outsourcing was a dereliction of duty to the taxpayers. But the presentation by Maltbie doesn't amount to a discussion about outsourcing. The APOA has used outsourcing in its propaganda to residents to intimate the council has been considering and deliberating whether and how to outsource (their use of the word discussions). Unfortunately, and inexplicably, this has not happened.

It is really funny to watch this, though. Atherton is the only community in the Bay Area where cops have been able to put council members on the defensive about doing their jobs when it comes to police compensation. In any community where the council had its act together, cops wild not get away with this. The police chief would not be allowing cops to behave this way. The two long-standing problem officers who are the Pres and VP of the APOA would have been gone by now.

Widmer, man up and start to stand up to these bullies.

Like this comment
Posted by Truthful Reporting
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 30, 2012 at 9:06 am


Thanks for responding.

Maybe the misunderstanding is that I consider the Police Chief and Lt. part of the Police Dept and part of Public Safety. If Atherton outsources the Police Dept, they are part of that decision. The Almanac Reporter wrote, "Most of the Police Dept" will not be affected.

Do you consider the Police Chief and Lt. part of the Police Dept and involved with Public Safety?
Do you agree with the Almanac Reporter's Statement: "Most of the Police Dept" will not be affected?

Since we have this opportunity would you answer a few more questions and post answer to Don Way's Guess Opinion, regarding your Press Release?

My comments on your Press Release is that it did not mention that Salary Reductions which include the Police Chief and Lt. have been discussed for months and as Council Member McKeithen stated: "set the stage for police negotiations..."

I agree with Council Member McKeithen. Do you?

So for months the council has been discussing the salary of the Police Chief, Lt. and others with the knowledge that it will "set the stage for police negotitations."

Why didn't you make that statement in your two-page Press Release?

Which leads to other questions:
You wrote the "Council has not held meetings on outsourcing"- Yet two years ago there was one public meeting. After that it appears the Council avoided the topic- publicly. Why?

Your statement does not mean that Council Members have not had discussions on Police Salaries and Outsourcing. It just means no meetings have been called, which would allow the public to comment on the topic. Why not?

Have you, the Police Chief, City Manager, or other members of the council considered that the salary reductions could result in officers leaving without enough Atherton officers to fill those spots so the Sheriff might need to supply Atherton with Deputies?

Could the word "Outsourcing" be used to describe this activity?

Quoting from the Almanac:

"Unexpected timing
Steve Tyler, the town's public works supervisor, told the Almanac that the town had kept employees informed about possible changes in their compensation, and the employees did participate in discussions....

"Councilwoman McKeithen's statement that the resolution will create a policy that will set the stage for police negotiations prompted Mr. Tyler to abruptly leave the meeting.

... Calling the future police negotiations the "elephant in the room" no one wants to talk about, Ms. McKeithen said, "This is a policy issue. ... That is why we have the APOA here.....

Ms. McKeithen, Mayor Bill Widmer and Councilman Jim Dobbie pushed for acting on the resolution that night, saying that the council had been discussing the proposal in closed session for more than six months before unanimously accepting it."

From that is reported of how staff and the public have responded; Can you understand the perception is that you, Jim Dobbie, and Kathy McKeithen had a plan to first reduce the Police Chief, City Manager, Lt, Finance Director, and City Clerk's pay and use that to set the stage for Police Negotiations next year?

That is the long version of why I feel your Press Release was misleading.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

The gift of time
By Cheryl Bac | 5 comments | 783 views

Ike's Place makes another go at Stanford; Palo Alto outpost stalls
By Elena Kadvany | 2 comments | 563 views

Anger and Conflict
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 350 views