By Renee Batti
==I Almanac News Editor
The town of Atherton is poised to hire Interwest Consulting Group to provide services now performed by its building department staff, a move Interim City Manager John Danielson says will save the town more than $350,000 in the current fiscal year.
The Atherton City Council will be asked to approve a contract with Interwest at the council's meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 17. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.
The town currently employs one of the firm's partners, Michael Kashiwagi, as its interim public works director.
Current building department staff members, along with a finance department assistant and a public works supervisor, are being laid off, effective Aug. 19. Three other public works employees will be laid off Sept. 16.
Under a plan designed by the interim town manager, building and public works services are being outsourced. The Teamsters union representing the employees are fighting the layoffs and outsourcing of services.
The contract before the council this week would set payment to Interwest for building services at an amount not to exceed 58 percent of building revenues collected through fees.
In a staff report, Mr. Danielson said that the town will "incur additional cost for Interwest to take over building projects that are incomplete. (That cost) will either be paid out of current building revenues or from the building department operating reserve."
The building department reserve was estimated to have about $960,000 in fiscal year 2010-11, according to Finance Director Louise Ho.
The council meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the council chambers, 94 Ashfield Road in the Town Center.