Menlo Park: Execs exit two top city posts


Menlo Park Assistant City Manager Starla Jerome-Robinson will retire effective July 31 and Finance Director Drew Corbett will leave Aug. 14 to take the same post for the city of San Mateo, it was announced July 24.

City Manager Alex McIntyre said he would assign others to fill the posts temporarily while the city conducts a search for replacements.

Starla Jerome-Robinson

Drew Corbett
As assistant city manager for the past seven year, Ms. Jerome-Robinson oversaw many administrative functions for the city. "She has done a good job, and her knowledge of the city will be hard to replace," Mr. McIntyre said in a statement.

Ms. Jerome-Robinson was assistant city manager in Los Altos from 1999 to 2008 and was Atherton's finance director from 1996 to July 1999.

Before being appointed finance director in 2013, Mr. Corbett was assistant finance director in Sunnyvale for three years. He also spent five years as a financial analyst for Intel.

"I am leaving with mixed emotions," said Mr. Corbett, who oversaw an annual operating budget of more than $60 million. "I am excited about my new opportunity, but I have enjoyed my time here."

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Like this comment
Posted by Compensation
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2015 at 1:09 pm

According to Public Records, the last Finance Director in the City of San Mateo was paid $201,000 and his total compensation was over $255,000.

That's almost equal to what Menlo Park pays it's City Manager.

Bigger City, Bigger Paycheck.

5 people like this
Posted by Welcome to Reality
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 24, 2015 at 1:35 pm

Compensation - that could be said for many of the city's professional and management positions. Menlo Park is falling behind other cities, and couple that with its crazy antics and often unprofessional-behaved city council make it a less than desirable place to work. Just look at some of the councilmembers' comments about the staff this year and the budget fiasco. Professional staff should be able to do their work without being degraded by individual council members trying to score points with a very vocal minority. Menlo Park is not a destination city, it is a pothole in the road of an up and coming professional's career.

12 people like this
Posted by Blame Game
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 24, 2015 at 1:47 pm

That's a silly argument.

Are you really trying to place blame on residents and the City Council members, because a staff member leaves a little city and a mid sized salary for a big city and a big raise.

No one's buying it.

4 people like this
Posted by expect turnover
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 27, 2015 at 8:18 am

Turnover is a reality for a town the size of Menlo Park. Bigger jobs, bigger responsibilities, bigger pay. Happens all the time in private and public sectors.
Menlo Park tends to attract those on their way up or those nearing retirement like Rojas. Get used to it.

Menlo Park should avoid basing compensation decisions purely on salary. City officials in other cities may be more experienced, and deserve more compensation. A wealthy suburb does not have the same problems as less wealthy. How hard is it to attract candidates? As any private sector executive can attest, compensation is not the primary factor regarding turnover. Good management does a lot. Menlo Park should not play into the vicious spiral of increasing compensation to stay above average. Think of Garrison Keillor's description of Lake Woebegone "where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."

IMO City compensation has gotten out of line with private industry when benefits are taken into account. It used to be that benefits had to be better than private sector to make up for low salaries. Not so now.

Like this comment
Posted by Pepperidge
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jul 27, 2015 at 12:16 pm

The pothole observation is interesting.

I find that Menlo Park is a stopover for those on their way up in their careers, or on their way down in their careers.

I a sense you want some level of turnover because you can't get rid of mediocre performance otherwise.

Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 27, 2015 at 12:36 pm

Does anyone else remember that Carol Augustine moved on to higher pay because McIntire/City Council would not give her a raise? Then hired Mr. Corbett at a higher salary than it would have taken to keep Mrs. Augustine in Menlo Park. Will the new Finance Director require an even larger salary to get them to come to Menlo Park? Would it not be wiser to keep our top management people?

3 people like this
Posted by smh
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 27, 2015 at 1:32 pm

Working for this city would be awesome if not for the residents. So annoying! How can we expect to hire anyone decent? Instead of replacing city staff, we need to replace the residents with people who will just pay their taxes and never utter a word of suggestion or complaint.

Like this comment
Posted by Master Plan
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 27, 2015 at 2:23 pm

City council does not engage in specific compensation discussions, but they do approve the range that the city manager is allowed to work within.

Augustine was on the old tier, so hiring Corbett at a higher salary, but with a lower long-term pension obligation, fits into the master plan of 2010's Measure L.

Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 27, 2015 at 3:22 pm

Total compensation package for Mrs. Augustine was LESS than total compensation package for Mr. Corbett. Now that he's leaving, doesn't seem to be a wise decision to let Mrs. Augustine go?

Like this comment
Posted by Master Plan
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 27, 2015 at 3:48 pm

Augustine was free to work any place she wanted. A quick search on the Almanac will tell you that Augustine has a BA in accounting, while Corbett has an MBA.

2 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 28, 2015 at 12:51 pm

I'm glad you understood my point - Why force someone out then hire a more expensive person? Yes she was! Ask around.

4 people like this
Posted by The. Voice
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Jul 28, 2015 at 6:07 pm

I'll tell you what the problem is. The city manager does not really care about his employees. The guy is out of touch and does not make himself available. The city council are armatures. They spend so much time on silly stuff and agendas it's silly! It is a waste of money for solar panels. Too many people complain about pet peeves rather that doing what's good for the majority.

4 people like this
Posted by The Truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jul 28, 2015 at 9:22 pm

Echo the thoughts about the incompetent city manager. He needs to go.

And now another shoe drops. The public works director was just hired is leaving. 3 of the city managers executive staff leave in one week as well as a multitude of additional staff has left in the last couple of months.

The city council should call a special meeting and fire this lame excuse of leader.

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