Menlo Park's dilemma: How to replace Rojas


When City Manager Glen Rojas announced his intention to retire in July, Menlo Park faced a dilemma.

Voters passed Measure L, a pension reform initiative, in November, but the changes won't take effect for at least another six months, until the contract with a union representing city employees expires in October. If the city hires a new manager from outside Menlo Park before the measure takes effect, that hire would fall under the current pension policy with higher benefits.

The council will consider its options during its regular meeting on Tuesday, April 26. Mr. Rojas offered to stay on for another six months under a contract that would pay the same $18,369 monthly salary he makes now, but saves the city an estimated $4,700 per month in benefit costs, according to the staff report. He would also earn no vacation or sick leave hours.

Personnel director Glen Kramer confirmed that Mr. Rojas would receive both his pension and a monthly salary -- as does Mr. Kramer, who retired Dec. 29 before returning as a contractor on Jan. 3 and who makes $68.40 per hour on top of his $10,877 monthly pension. Retired employees are limited by CalPERS to working 960 hours per year as contractors.

Other options include selecting a manager from within the city ranks, which would save the most money, based on the staff report, or recruiting from outside Menlo Park.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in council chambers at the Civic Center, 701 Laurel St.

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 26, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Double dipping?
BTW how many pensions will Rojas be receiving since he's worked in a number of civic positions throughout the state. And just how much is his Menlo Park pension?
Rojas is retiring, so let's make sure he stays retired - find an interim city manager.

Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 26, 2011 at 4:29 pm

There is great value in having an outsider serve as Interim City Manager - she/he would bring a fresh perspective, has no ownership for prior decisions, would not be a candidate for the permanent position and could make politically difficult decisions without regard to his/her long term employment.

Like this comment
Posted by looking on
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 26, 2011 at 10:39 pm

I agree with both Peter and Bob.

With some many very important high level decisions coming up, why have a "Lame Duck" City manager making decisions. Please also note that Glen Kramer, who wrote the report, is retired, on pension, and been hired back as a consultant. Sounds a bit like the "old boys" network to me.

At least from a financial point of view, an overview of Rojas' tenure will reveal a string of deficits budgets, raises to City workers, safety officers huge contract wage raises, more people in his immediate staff. No effort to control costs, but a constant effort to raise revenues with fees, traffic fines etc.

It has not been nice.

Like this comment
Posted by Joanna
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 27, 2011 at 10:43 am

1) That is a shameful amount to pay a PUBLIC employee
2) Cut ties with Rojas once and for all

Like this comment
Posted by hopeful
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm

The council should figure out what the city needs before starting a search. I believe what is most needed is someone who understands that the city manager's and business development manager's primary roles are to ensure the city has a sustainable budget. This is achieved by managing costs, which Rojas never would do, and by encouraging businesses that generate sales tax revenue, not by promoting development that only produces property tax revenue that won't grow much over time. The Council also must ensure that the skills of the new manager in a town of our size and type warrant the pay, with room to provide more IF the new manager performs (not pay the exorbitant salary granted to Rojas). Leadership skills (over staff and with peers), and the ability to work with a highly involved community also are important.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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