Menlo Park: City manager awaits contract renewal


City Manager Alex McIntyre's employment contract is scheduled for a renewal vote on June 2, prompting residents to offer the council their opinions on his performance.

Mr. McIntyre's contract expired on March 7. According to City Attorney Bill McClure, the city manager is currently an at-will employee under the same terms as his employment agreement, including a clause requiring a 30-day notice of termination. There are no unilateral options for either party to extend the contract, he said.

Menlo Park is not an easy-to-please community, and some aspects of Mr. McIntyre's job certainly deserve to be called thankless -- sitting through council meetings that start on Tuesday and end on Wednesday comes to mind. That said, he has also not done himself any favors.

Former council members and Measure M advocates Steve Schmidt, Heyward Robinson, Jack Morris and Mary Jo Borak took the city manager to task in an email to the city, alleging that Mr. McIntyre stonewalled public records requests related to his hiring of public relations consultant Malcolm Smith during the heated battle over the Measure M voter initiative that sought to change the city's downtown/El Camino Real specific plan.

The San Mateo County district attorney and the state's Fair Political Practices Commission concluded that the consultant was not used to illegally influence the election's outcome.

City Council members, who had not been told about Mr. Smith's contract prior to Mr. Robinson's public records requests, made it clear during a Jan. 27 meeting that in the future, they expected to be notified whenever a consultant is hired.

Other residents reminded the public that Mr. McIntyre was overheard talking about a confidential personnel matter with a former city manager while in a bar in 2012. The inadvertent leak led to a story in the Almanac about how the city was forced to rehire a veteran police officer fired for allegedly soliciting a prostitute while on duty.

The city manager's response at the time? "You overheard a conversation between two colleagues," Mr. McIntyre told the Almanac. He said he didn't remember precisely what he said at the bar, and stated that it's not unusual for a city manager to consult his predecessor. As for the case itself: "(City Attorney) Bill McClure said I can't say anything."

Residents also mentioned his review of former city gymnastics instructor Michelle Sutton's firing. Prior to hiring a third-party investigator to look into Ms. Sutton's allegations of harassment by a supervisor, Mr. McIntyre said he had reviewed the circumstances to his satisfaction. However, he hadn't talked to the instructors who made the allegations, including Ms. Sutton.

The investigator interviewed 18 people and concluded no illegal harassment or retaliatory firing had occurred.

Mr. McIntyre joined the city in 2012. He told the Almanac he's most proud of:

■ Rebuilding and hiring professional staff.

■ Working with Facebook and other landowners in the M-2 industrial zone to help temper their development plans.

■ Initiating the general plan update.

■ Completing and implementing the Belle Haven visioning plan.

■ The adoption of the downtown/El Camino Real specific plan and completion of the housing element.

"My frustrations continue to be limited to the organization's inconsistent efforts at clearly and concisely communicating what we do and how we do it to our constituents," he said.

Mr. McIntyre has also received praise, particularly from the council, for hiring Police Chief Bob Jonsen.

Asked whether there was an option to extend his contract, rather than having it expire, he said, "I think this is all in the semantics. Extending it versus a new contract essentially results in the same thing. Getting me back under contract again."

With two council members frequently out of town dealing with family emergencies during the past couple of months, getting all five together to do Mr. McIntyre's review has been hard, according to Mayor Catherine Carlton. All five were finally present for a closed-session performance review on May 20. The council will take a public vote on his contract next month.

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2 people like this
Posted by Clarification
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 27, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Please explain 'The council will take a public vote on his contract next month.' Does that mean at the June 2 council meeting? Any additional information would be appreciated.

I am personally very disappointed with city staff and the poor communication on key projects between the city staff and the Menlo Park community.

1 person likes this
Posted by Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff Writer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 27, 2015 at 12:16 pm

The contract is expected to be on the agenda in June. Tentatively, June 2, but that is subject to change and the agenda has not yet been released for that meeting.

8 people like this
Posted by Disappointed
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on May 27, 2015 at 1:48 pm

Mr. McIntyre's contract should not be renewed. His performance in many matters, some quoted in this article and some of which are employee and labor related, are unfair and not what should be expected from a City Manager. (But of course, the Council always takes the path of least resistance, and not the path that is right.)

6 people like this
Posted by Let him go
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 27, 2015 at 4:43 pm

The City Manager has been ineffective communicating with residents and seems flippant about issues that are mentioned in the article above. I know, he's not an elected official but those on City Council who continue to stand behind him and make excuses for his poor performance and decisions surely can find someone better for the job.

8 people like this
Posted by Enuff
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 27, 2015 at 5:53 pm

Don't forget his three luxury weekend staff spa retreats: one to Napa and two to Half Moon Bay on the taxpayers' dime. The last one clocked in at over $18,000.
Or the way he's been building his empire by hiring more full time employees rather than hiring contractors when needed. Kirsten Keith got after him on that during a City Council meeting some time back, accusing him of going back on his statements before they hired him, saying initially that he'd be happy to hire consultants rather than full time staff members, which cost much more in the long run: salary plus benefits plus retirement benefits. He did a 180-degree turnaround on that one.
Lots of waste of our tax dollars under his administration, including $30,000 or so for a new version of the city's logo.
But he was quick to favor raising salaries, including his own, as I recall. And he wants a $1.3 million dollar remodel of his digs in City Hall.

Anyone see a pattern here?

By the way, he didn't stay too long in his last post in Lake Oswego either...

6 people like this
Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 27, 2015 at 8:13 pm

Bye bye, please. MP can't afford this person whose flubs have cost us too much money & damaged the reputation of this town. None of us trust the cop who played with prossie while on duty & not being able to dismiss him permanently because of McIntyre's flapping lips is a shame.

I hope whoever next considers giving him a job actually investigates his past work & reputation.

1 person likes this
Posted by terrible decision
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 29, 2015 at 3:13 pm

On the June 2sd, Council meeting, under the consent items, the Council will vote on a 2 year contract extension for McIntyre, with about a 10% salary increase and more pension benefits.

Why this guy is not being terminated is hard to understand.

4 people like this
Posted by Council Watcher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 29, 2015 at 3:16 pm

We should hire Gail Slocum to be our next city manager. She is fiscally conservative with no political biases. I can't think of a more qualified person to be our next city manager

Like this comment
Posted by Morris Brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 1, 2015 at 8:39 am

Monday's (June 1), DAILY POST has a front page article on McIntyre's contract extension.

The headlines are:

Controversial official up for raise:

Ex-mayors question his integrity.

Like this comment
Posted by Power Washing side
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 1, 2015 at 11:39 pm

Why is Menlo Park power washing downtown sidewalks? This water use is prohibited under CA emergency drought restrictions.

This water use is wrong and is yet another failure of City Manager McIntyre's management of city staff. We can do better!

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 2, 2015 at 6:27 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

power washing:

from what I've found steam cleaning, if that's what was being done, uses a lot less water than power washing which uses a lot less water than a hose.

Web Link

2 people like this
Posted by morris brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 3, 2015 at 9:57 am

Well the Council on a 4 YES to 1 NO voted to extend McIntyre's contract, complete with a very nice raise.

Only Ray Mueller voted NO; congratulations to him for sticking up for integrity in Menlo Park Governance.

Video of this Issue can be seen on YouTube at:

Web Link

Council members Carlton,Cline,Ohtaki and Keith all voted for the extension, and spent about 20 minutes explaining their votes.

The POST today (6/03/2015) has a front page article with a headline of

"As one city councilman put it, it's not like he embezzled money"

Shame on these 4 councilpersons. Yesterday was a very black day for those who expect integrity in Menlo Park governance.

1 person likes this
Posted by Faint praise
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 3, 2015 at 12:22 pm

When the best things you can say about your city manager are that he could be worse, and that he actually does good stuff but no one can tell -- we get it. But couldn't and shouldn't our city be getting better value for that kind of salary?

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