Menlo Park: City manager's contract renewed, salary increased 9%

Council vote is 4-1 with Mueller dissenting

With Ray Mueller casting the dissenting vote, the Menlo Park City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve a new two-year contract for City Manager Alex McIntyre.

Under the contract, which runs through March 2017, Mr. McIntyre's annual salary will increase by 9 percent from $199,000 to $217,500. The city will also add $7,500 to the $9,500 payment it makes annually to his retirement fund, and pay an amount of deferred compensation each year that equals what Menlo Park would have paid for his health insurance premium.

After pulling the item from the consent calendar, the council members each took a few minutes to explain their positions.

"This is something I struggled with," Mayor Cat Carlton said. Mr. McIntyre has agreed to do better at communicating with the council and residents, and has recognized his mistakes, according to the mayor.

Along with council members Kirsten Keith and Peter Ohtaki, she also commented on "what's been done right. He's done a good job of hiring people," such as Finance Director Drew Corbett and Police Chief Bob Jonsen.

Vice Mayor Rich Cline acknowledged that while there were concerns, there were also a lot of pluses, so he wasn't at the point of "wanting to pull the rug out and start over." Mr. McIntyre had been hired in the hopes of providing some consistency and continuity for Menlo Park. "A lot of times, it gets overlooked how hard the job is."

During public comment, former councilman Heyward Robinson spoke about the city manager's hiring of public relations consultant Malcolm Smith during the heated Measure M campaign, alleging again that the city stonewalled public records requests.

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. Likewise, several council members on Tuesday night said they came to the same conclusion after reviewing documents provided by Mr. Robinson and other Measure M supporters, and talking with District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Still, "I'm voting no tonight," Mr. Mueller said, adding that he had concerns about fiscal philosophy and some issues that arose while he had served as mayor, without going into further detail. He said he had discussed the decision with the city manager and credited Mr. McIntyre for his professionalism.

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13 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 3, 2015 at 11:11 am

Four disgraceful votes by council members. Not only extending a contract for questionable work ethics but a 9% pay a salary increase of 9%, more than doubling of retirement benefits, and money for unused health plan.

And the council member excuses - "easier than trying to find a replacement" and "it's not like he embezzled."

We should be looking for not only a new city manager but also a few new city council members who understand ethics and their responsibilities to the city's citizens.

4 people like this
Posted by Morris Brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 3, 2015 at 11:47 am

Video of the Council meeting which dealt with this issue can be seen at:

Web Link

8 people like this
Posted by Ol' Homeboy
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 3, 2015 at 2:35 pm

WooHoo. He renegotiated the Recology contract and saved the city $50K, so we'll give him $18,500 more per year? What are all these mega-challenges that Menlo Park faces that today's City Manager needs to be paid $217K? Otaki referenced the salary is inline with CEOs of companies with 250+ employees. Most companies of that size produce something — even non-profits. The 230 M.P employees produce nothing, they maintain.
I've lived in this town for 55 years, and believe me, it's not better than the way it was (and maintained) in 1960. I'm not retired and have spent my entire career negotiating with some of the biggest global companies CEOs, but I'll do this job for half of what this City Manager is being paid — and my door will always be open, my emails will be open and I'll answer every phone call personally. All I ask is that I never have to attend one of these moronic, self-pontificating, council meetings. Oh, and I want a life-size bronze statue of me erected in the center of the proposed Middle Plaza, so our nouveau riche residents and growing murders of crows can deface and curse a city official while stuck in the biggest quagmire this town will ever see.

5 people like this
Posted by Egads
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 3, 2015 at 3:48 pm

"He's done a good job hiring people" Wow. Maybe he can hire a replacement for himself.

6 people like this
Posted by Concerned Citizen
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 3, 2015 at 6:35 pm

Disgusting! Mueller proves once again that he's the only one with integrity on this council. If anyone doubts that, they should watch the discussion regarding the budget that occurred late yesterday evening after McIntyre's contract was approved. Otaki, Keith, Cline all supported a budget that call for deficits in the city's finances for the next three years and massive increases in staff headcount. Mueller unsurprisingly objected. What happened next, I could not believe occurred before my eyes; Otaki suggested skewing the numbers to appear like the budget was balanced. In classic boyscout fashion, Mueller objected yet again. Finally, McIntyre of all people stepped in and agreed with Mueller and warned the council not to "be clever" with the numbers. I presume this event is all on tape to view on the city website.

3 people like this
Posted by Egads
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 3, 2015 at 9:28 pm

The luke warm endorsement that McIntyre received from the Council might be enough to get him to find employment at some other City that isn't so "difficult." A City where the community doesn't expect their City Manager to have ethics and integrity. Hearing the excuses as to why the Council is extending McIntyre's contract is laughable. Yeah, we get it, you people hired him and don't want to deal with turnover nor admit what failure he's been. And he's a bargain, a decent City Manager would expect to be paid more. So let's all celebrate that our City Manager is better than the criminals that run some other Cities. For intelligent people, the Council comes off sounding like a bunch of bumbling fools trying to defend their decision to keep McIntyre on staff. Sounds like they couldn't even convince themselves that they did the right thing for the City. Being on the City Council may be too tough a job for them.

7 people like this
Posted by Independent
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jun 3, 2015 at 9:37 pm

Thanks to Ray Mueller for being an independent thinker and caring about things like deficits. If only we had several more on this one.....

2 people like this
Posted by Sour Grapes
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jun 4, 2015 at 7:48 am

The Measure M people lost the battle to keep Menlo Park back in the Dark Ages and now they want to make Alex McIntyre their whipping boy. This is nothing but the Measure M people being sore losers with emphasis on losers.

5 people like this
Posted by Egads
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jun 4, 2015 at 8:20 am

Fact is Alex would be a dismal failure long before Measure M, just ask the former mayors, including Ray Mueller - and even the current Mayor can list all of his 'mistakes' and all,very good reason not keep Alex. He's bad news for the residents,the staff and the City Council.

1 person likes this
Posted by failure
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 4, 2015 at 9:54 am

@Egads, Ray Mueller has never publicly used the designation "dismal failure" to describe another person.

3 people like this
Posted by Egads
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jun 4, 2015 at 1:11 pm

True, not those exact words - but the list of mistakes Ray was so kind enough not to rehash at the council meeting add up to failure. Dismal at that. Gotta give Ray credit for voting against McIntyre. hard to believe that his no vote had anything to do with position on Measure M, so when you add up all the mistakes, they equal failure..but worthy of a 9 percent raise in Menlo Park!

Like this comment
Posted by mistakes
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 4, 2015 at 5:33 pm

The last state of the city was fun and memorable, but we can forget all the wonderful things that happened last year to focus all our energy on these "mistakes" people are upset about.

5 people like this
Posted by whopper
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 6, 2015 at 7:41 am

The City Manager's latest whopper is to propose a deficit budget. Here we are in a booming economy, and Menlo Park can't run itself in the black? The reason is not overdue capital improvement projects that make life better for residents and businesses. It's so he can hire more full time employees to serve developers, after hiring 8 new ones already.
What's wrong with that you might ask? Try this: city fees are supposed to recover every single penny of support for development. If they don't, we taxpayers are subsidizing developers who are already getting "free" greatly increased development rights.
If the City Council approves this, then THEY are the culprits and would show their true colors of favoring developers over residents.

2 people like this
Posted by Big picture
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 6, 2015 at 9:31 am

This city manager's priority is to build an empire, so developers with projects won't have to wait as long as they do now (except there isn't any evidence of delay).

The deficit budget is simply mindblowing. I have to believe that most residents are unaware this is happening. He wants to bring in more companies who contribute nothing to Menlo Park's finances because they don't generate sales tax, who cost our city in terms of resources used, and whose employees live elsewhere. How exactly does that benefit Menlo Park, other than giving our council members an excuse to globe trot in the interest of developing new partners? (No wonder they're on board with his plans.)

Meanwhile, we're saddling the city with loads of long-term debt: dozens of new employees and more pension obligations. Every dollar spent now may cost thousands later. If the city can't balance the books during a booming economy, it's not hard to predict bankruptcy when the economy inevitably dips.

4 people like this
Posted by Water
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2015 at 11:02 am

McIntyre certainly comes across as a tone-death lame duck. But you all are luckier than East Palo Alto was at this time last year: we were stuck with Magda Gonzalez, who was colluding with the largest landlord. She was also angering people left and right - regular residents who don't get easily upset. She even tried to interfere with the lunch program for senior citizens, in order to save money.
But residents were galvanized and clamored for change.

She goose-stepped her way right on over to Half Moon Bay as soon as our elected officials decided not to renew her contract. In so doing she proved she'd been trying to curry favor with developers all along.

So many of these people are cut from the same cloth. So did residents send snails and show up at meetings requesting that his contract not be renewed? Or did people just not take action?

2 people like this
Posted by Big picture
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 6, 2015 at 12:32 pm

As erratic as the EPA council may seem, my impression is that they are willing to listen to residents.

In Menlo Park, there could be 200 people showing up at a meeting or sending emails, and the city's stance would be: only 200 complaints? That must mean that the other 31,800 residents support us. I have actually heard the phrase "silent majority" used by council members! Any resident who dares speak up more than once is labeled a NIMBY or "one of those people opposed to everything" and thereby ignored.

I don't think residents are apathetic, just that people are busy with work, family, other commitments. Residents just assume and hope that everything is running smoothly. I used to be one of those unaware people, and I miss that ignorance. It's painful to see the level of corruption and incompetence that passes for business as usual.

Like this comment
Posted by Water
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2015 at 1:52 pm

Erratic? Why do you think our city council is erratic? I know Peter Evans was difficult. But, in recent years we've made progress as a city while facing daunting constraints.

We've unfortunately had a lot of weirdness with city managers. But with tenant activism, anti-crime efforts, concerns about resident displacement, NGOs' agendas and other kinds of civic engagement we have robust interaction with our elected officials. Recently, as residents were being appointed to city commissions, I noticed how many applicants there were. They ranged from new residents to those who've been here for decades. I wasn't there for this process but saw all of the applications online. But my point in my last post was that when necessary, you can fight city hall successfully. Did Menlo residents make their opinions about McIntyre's performance known to their elected officials?

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

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