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Atherton Police Negotiations -- Status Please?

Original post made by My oh my on Apr 7, 2013

It's been awfully quiet from the APOA and the progress of the negotiations over Atherton's dominating budget item, police costs. The police union contract is up for renewal this year, and if I'm not mistaken, right about NOW.

The APOA union was very loud and belligerent last election season about what they wanted and demanded. They're very quiet now. I assume this is because Lewis and Wiest told them to keep a low profile, they're going to get what they want, so don't attract attention to the situation.

But this article CHANGES EVERYTHING, even for the troika of Lewis, Wiest and Carlson.

Web Link

CALPERS will be billing Atherton more than 50% higher for police union pensions over the next six years.

Where will the money come from?

If Atherton residents stay asleep, right from their wallets, since Lewis and Wiest will make sure cops get RAISES instead of the MASSIVE REDUCTIONS that are necessary to balance the budget.

Comments (26)

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 7, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Atherton citizens, given their insistence on having their own dedicated private security force..errrr..police force, will be paying a larger parcel tax to pay for their insistence.

Contract with the Sheriff's department for police services and a private security service for all the non-police nonsense you have your police department doing and save two million dollars a year. Doesn't seem too complicated to me. Of course, the Sheriff's deputies aren't going to let DUI Atherton citizens to go home. Ah! Now it makes sense.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Apr 7, 2013 at 11:09 pm

What MV said. Plus, Atherton residents are amongst the wealthiest on THE PLANET. My heart doesn't bleed for them. If they want to get together & change the way their city - & private butler/security force - are run, they will. No one is holding their breath, but it can be done.

Posted by So?, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 8, 2013 at 1:46 pm

So what is the status of this?

Posted by Renee Batti, news editor of The Almanac
on Apr 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Renee Batti is a registered user.

City Manager George Rodericks said that last week the town asked the police union (APOA) to begin the bargaining process, and he's expecting the first meeting to be set up soon.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 8, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Any negotiation where you ask the other side to set the stage by putting only their proposal on the table is a huge mistake. The council should publicly debate what should be the elements of the the town's starting offer, then formulate an offer in closed session as is allowed by the Brown Act and then both sides should put their proposals on the table at the same time.

And when a tentative deal is struck it should be brought by the council to their membership, the taxpayers, at the same time as the police negotiators take it to their membership.

Posted by Menlo Park, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 8, 2013 at 6:46 pm


while your suggestion is apt, I don't think it's likely as the AOPA bought at least two council members. Bottom line, most citizens of Atherton seem insistent on maintaining their own police department at all costs. God only knows why. Oh! Because they expect they will get special treatment from their own police department. Ah, if it were so. I can think of several Atherton citizens that can vouch for that not happening.

Wake up Atherton.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 8, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" as the AOPA bought at least two council members."

I think that is a baseless allegation - what evidence to you have to support it?

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 8, 2013 at 7:41 pm


They endorsed two of them for election. As you well know, they expect something for that endorsement. I'll be pleasantly surprised if they don't deliver, but, frankly, I'm not holding my breath.

With all due respect, what you have in Atherton is a glorified private security force. You could pay bubkus and you'd still have people like a certain Sgt., who's family lives in Atherton continuing to work there. He couldn't get a job as a cop anywhere else to save his life. Yet, there are many in Atherton that seem to think that if they don't pay a "competitive" wage they won't have a good police department. They don't have one now. They have a glorified private security force. But hey, they can get stopped for DUI and expect a ride home, so they want to maintain their own police force. So, why pay more than they have to?

If that's what the citizens of Atherton want, then they can expect to pay for it. A lot more. Here comes an increase in the parcel tax.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 8, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Lewis and Wiest received far more financial support and more endorsements from citizens than they did from the police union and I am certain that neither of them have been 'bought'.

I would prefer that candidates for public office refuse endorsements and financial support from the unions whose contracts that must approve but, as the firefighters' union has discovered, such support does not always prove profitable to the unions.

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 8, 2013 at 8:10 pm


as I said, I will be pleasantly surprised if the APOA's endorsements didn't buy Lewis and Weist. I know the Fire union's endorsement didn't in your case, much to their chagrin, but in general, it usually does.

Also, as I've said before, Ms. Lewis is ethically challenged in my mind and not fit for office. So, I don't have much hope for her not bowing to the APOA.

Posted by My oh my, a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 9, 2013 at 8:57 am

Peter is setting himself up for being quite disappointed by Lewis and Wiest, in my view. The largest SINGLE contributor was the APOA, far more than any one citizen. Does the corruption Menlo Voter refers to have to be Rod Blagojevich style? Of course not. It's just human nature to want to treat others well who have done favors for you. That's why the correct ethical decision was not to accept the endorsement and money in the first place. A major leader in the Wiest and Lewis campaigns? "Pappa" Hall, the father of the Atherton cop Menlo Voter refers to. I guess that's all A-okay also.

I understand that in prior years the council "negotiator" brought back the APOA's demand as the end result of final negotiations! Wonder why Atherton is in such a budget mess?

What's Atherton going to do now that costs we already can't afford are going up 50%?? It sounds from Ms. Batti's report that the answer is more of the same. Asking cops what they want, and giving it to them.

Posted by Want To Know, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 9, 2013 at 6:53 pm

How much did Kupperman spend on her campaign? Was it more than the AOPA? How come the town never published this information?

Why did the JPA Council representative allow the JPA to spend Atherton tax money on general expenses not related the operation of Atherton's facility? Did she have the authority to do this? How much was spent??

Were these funds spent to support the campaign to put Atherton's library in the park?

Posted by George Rodericks, a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 10, 2013 at 7:37 am

The APOA MOU expires September 2013. The Town has issued a request to begin successor MOU discussions and expects to begin those discussions in the next few weeks. It is anticipated that there will be several meetings before a tentative agreement is reached.

The City Council established a set of objectives for the discussions consistent with those set and adopted for the local miscellaneous (non-safety) employees. Negotiations will not occur at public meetings. The City Council members will not be involved in the actual negotiations. As discussions move along, the City Council, as a body, provides continuous direction to its Chief Negotiator during updates and discussion in Closed Session. Once a tentative agreement has been reached, the City Council is the body that approves any agreement and that discussion will occur at a public meeting.

Campaign materials for election candidates have been and continue to be publicly available at Town Hall. Contact the City Clerk for more information. All funds expended from the Library fund have been lawfully spent, and not used for campaign purposes.

With respect to the CalPERS article, it states that "...under the five-year phase in ("Method 5" in the charts), the current employer rate for most state workers, 19.7 percent of pay, would increase to 29.2 percent, schools from 11.4 percent of pay to 18.9 percent, and public agencies from 14.9 percent to 23 percent..." The Town's net normal rate for public safety employees is approximately 17% of pay and 8% of pay for non-safety. The Town does not participate in Social Security and has paid off its additional pension liabilities so there are no additional pension costs beyond the base rates. The Method 5 increases projected by CalPERS to bring the overall CalPERS pension system to 103% funded status from its current 75% funded status would raise the preceding rates by another 8 to 9 percent and 4 to 5 percent respectively. The details of the CalPERS actuarials are public documents and available at Town Hall and via email.

Should you have any questions regarding the status of the APOA negotiations, or any other Town issues, feel free to call or email me directly. My office phone number is 650-752-0504 and my email is


George Rodericks
City Manager
Town of Atherton

Posted by My oh my, a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 10, 2013 at 7:51 am

Don't confuse people with math, Mr. Rodericks. I know you're an important part of getting a foolish contract in place with the cops so Lewis and Wiest can reward them for their support. They're rewarding you for doing so by paying you more NOT to live here (instead of reducing your salary based on your refusal to be a full-time member of the community). So one hand washes the other.

The "8 to 9 percent" and "4 to 5 percent" raises you speak of may not seem high to some people, because you are using incorrect terminology. You should be saying "8 to 9 percentage points" and "4 to 5 percentage points". The original claim stands of an overall increase of some 50 PERCENT (compared to baseline) of money ATHERTON DOES NOT HAVE.

In fact, if the Atherton rate for cops is 17% now, and will increase 8 to 9%, that's potentially MORE THAN 50 PERCENT.

P.S. – Change your community to "another community." You've chosen not to live in Atherton.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 10, 2013 at 9:24 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Sadly what the Town Manager describes is a totally closed door process where the FIRST time the taxpayers will have any inkling of what the Town is using as its negotiating principles will be 72 hours before the council meeting at which the already negotiated contract will be voted on by the council. On the other hand the police negotiators will have kept their membership fully informed from start to finish. Why are not the council's membership, called taxpayers, given the same consideration?

Why not a public discussion of the " set of objectives for the discussions" that the council has decided in secret BEFORE negotiations begin and why not give 15 days public notice of the terms of the PROPOSED agreement, as does San Francisco and the MPFPD, before the council entertains a vote on that agreement?

Posted by Because, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 10, 2013 at 11:13 am

Because this why it's easier to shove a contract unfavorable to taxpayers down their throats to pay back political favors?

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 10, 2013 at 11:18 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The council should not expect taxpayer support for a continuation of the parcel tax if the council refuses to allow those some taxpayers a role in getting to a new police agreement - which is the biggest item in the budget.

I.E., don't expect us to be there for the (crash) landing if we weren't on board at takeoff.

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 10, 2013 at 11:54 am

Seems Lewis and Weist are doing exactly what was expected. Looks like the APOA got what they paid for.

Posted by Michael G Stogner, a resident of another community
on Apr 10, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Peter asks a great question....".Why are not the council's membership, called taxpayers,"

Posted by astonished, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Apr 11, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Why are the members of the Menlo Park community even commenting on what Atherton does or doesn't do? Jealousy perhaps?

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 11, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The fact is that Menlo Park IS holding a public meeting to discuss compensation issues BEFORE it begins its labor negotiations.

Atherton should do the same.

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 11, 2013 at 3:07 pm


I'm not jealous at all. I just happen to live right over the border and drive through your town frequently. I also do work in your town on a regular basis. So, I have at least a passing interest in what happens in your town as it cannot help but have impacts on me and my town.

It's always amazed me at how apathetic the citizens of Atherton are, especially when it comes to the transparency (or lack thereof) of its city government and the misdeads of its police force.

Posted by Michael G Stogner, a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2013 at 3:31 pm

MV it looks like Astonished is from Menlo Park.

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 11, 2013 at 3:59 pm


maybe astonished is jealous?

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2013 at 9:48 pm

astonished - I live in EPA & even I'm not jealous of Atherton & Athertonians. I do miss the Atherton of my youth, where I spend a lot of my time w/wonderful friends. Maybe it's selective memory, but things seemed more communal there at the time.

I'm a Menlo/Palo Alto native, & I'm also in your town frequently. My numerous friends there also have concerns about how the town is run, but they're not involved w/trying to improve it.

For years, people have made fund of your police dept., not due to jealousy at all. Can you figure out why? Even here in EPA, w/such challenges to budget, public safety, growth issues, etc., the city council & city gov't runs much better than it used to. Atherton today reminds me of a wealthy version of EPA 15+ years ago, when we had many more problems w/city gov't & trust in leadership was incredibly low. I've been able to, in the recent past, call the chief of police on his cell phone to alert him to serious issues that required his immediate attention, not w/a request to help me figure out what's wrong w/my mechanical gate. Yes, the latter really did happen in Atherton - I know, because I saw it happen - a resident called 911 when she had problems w/her mechanical gate.

The bottom line is that you're a town filled w/people of incredible wealth, education, privilege, entitlement & opportunity who can't find your collective feet w/both hands & a flashlight - or even when a police officer is holding the flashlight for you. It's pretty sad because there seem to be too few people trying to change things. Don't you all believe that you deserve better? Here in EPA, we *knew*, in our marrow, that we deserved better than we had w/our leadership, & that's when things began to change. Heck, now we have a big grocery store, an organic farmer's market & CSA boxes!

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Ooops! Sorry, doh, astonished is from MP. Ok, Athertonians can apply what I said to themselves.

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