Menlo Park fills 31 job openings

Interim human resources director Dave Bertini explains why it's harder than it sounds to hire in Menlo Park

Since September, when Menlo Park police commander Dave Bertini began work as the city's interim human resources director, the city has hired or promoted 31 people, he said.

There are still 27 city staff positions to fill, he said. The city is in the process of hiring people to fill two high-level positions – the human resources manager and finance manager – and seven other positions.

New hires include office assistants, engineers, assistant engineers, teachers and tree maintenance workers. Nick Pegueros was hired as administrative services director and Justin Murphy was promoted to public works director.

Key challenges are making it difficult to fill city jobs, Mr. Bertini said.

First, he said, it's hard to find people with enough experience, especially in planning and public works.

Second, given the high cost of housing in the Menlo Park area, it can be difficult to find people willing to make a long commute from areas where they can afford to live. This is especially true for jobs like building inspectors and tree maintenance workers.

"On the amount of money we pay," he said, "people can't afford to live around here. They have to end up commuting really far."

Finally, people who do have experience in other cities are wary of relocating due to the California Public Employees' Pension Reform Act, which took effect in 2013 and changed the way that public employees receive retirement benefits. He said some job candidates decided not to accept a position when they learned that the retirement "tier" at which they accrue pension funds would not transfer to a Menlo Park job.

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6 people like this
Posted by Jose
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Dec 29, 2015 at 1:41 pm

Hmm. I had no idea there were so many open positions. Given that those are Menlo Park jobs, I would have expected to see them listed (gratis?) in the Almanac. Doing so would encourage Menlo Park area residents to apply thereby solving the commute problem.
The pension issue is a very different matter. Why would someone with experience and at a certain tier level give up something as vital as a pension level? The result for us is difficulty recruiting qualified employees.

I don't know the history behind that decision, however, I'm guessing it has something to do with people who grudge government workers a decent pension. Most government employees would love to have the huge bonuses and pension perks available to corporate employees.

12 people like this
Posted by Raylene
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 29, 2015 at 1:53 pm

This is interesting to me, and confusing. With the city shut down for the holidays and raises frozen for many of the part time employees, meaning no benefits, no wage increases for years, how are there funds to hire so many new workers? Shouldn't we be taking care of existing employees rather than cutting their hours and not giving cost of living raises? I'm not sure how you expect to keep any part time employees with housing so expensive in this whole area, let alone deny them normal benefits. How sad.

2 people like this
Posted by henry fox
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Dec 29, 2015 at 4:37 pm

Menlo Park has many more non-safety employees than any city our size on the peninsula. It is essential for our City to start contracting out more services, thereby reducing the need for staff and reducing our future unsustainable pension obligations.

Many contractors are unionized and many offer good salaries and benefits--to anticipate union response to this suggestion.

2 people like this
Posted by 2010's Measure L
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 29, 2015 at 5:02 pm

Menlo Park may or may not have more non-safety employees than any city our size on the peninsula, that information is not easily accessible. Regardless, people want to live here for the schools and amenities. Those amenities include two public pools, two childcare centers, a gym and recreation center. Many of the programs at these facilities are "cost recovery" from fees.

The whole point of 2010's Measure L was to make employee pensions sustainable. With a lower pension obligation for new employees, the city is likely to pay more salary, as you would with contractors. To argue that the city must now downsize to avoid unsustainable pension obligations is absurd.

4 people like this
Posted by Cost Cutter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 30, 2015 at 6:15 am

Sounds like an excuse for poor performance as the interim HR Manager. Why did he come to work at Menlo Park? It sounds like the city manager ran out of managers to fill key positions...How do you save 4 to 6 million dollars a year? Contract police services to the sheriffs office. How many of those current police employees could cut the mustard as a deputy sheriff? Also, how many could go through another background check, polygraph, medical screening, etc..Not many?

10 people like this
Posted by Facts, please
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 30, 2015 at 7:56 am

Cost Cutter, you need to cut the nonsense and, if you're going to make such reckless claims (not many could pass the screening???) you need to dish up the evidence.

It's so easy to spew out nonsense (and poison) on an anonymous board like this. But give the rest of us some credit for intelligence. All police agencies have screening of candidates, and MPPD officers had to have passed to be where they are.

1 person likes this
Posted by Cost cutter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 1, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Yes, you are correct, but if re hired by the Sheriff, they would have to undergo testing again. That means new background investigations, new polygraph, and new fitness standards. The sheriff would be within his rights to re test them. When were Current officers had another background check since their primary hiring? Not

Have you seen some of the overweight, older officers in Menlo now. Can they hold up to this new testing. All major incidents are handled by the Sheriff.

Menlo PD Officer, stop trying to save your bacon. You have a good thing here.

2 people like this
Posted by Menlo. Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 1, 2016 at 5:31 pm

Cost cutter:

you do know that when the SMCSD absorbed all the San Carlos PD officers, none of them were rejected, right?

2 people like this
Posted by Cost cutter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 1, 2016 at 7:25 pm

Menlo voter and Facts Please....

So what?

Maybe San Carlos had a better crew to turn over to the sheriffs office.. Stop the bull, and own up to that consolidation of police services will save millions of dollars for the citizens of Menlo Park...and other cities in San Mateo county.

The Real Question;

Will consolidation of police services save millions of dollars....YES....

5 people like this
Posted by Off the dole
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 1, 2016 at 8:11 pm

I'd love to get a job with the city! A few years ago i signed up on the city website, asking to receive notification whenever there's an opening. I get an email maybe once or twice a year, and it's always for jobs that require only a high school education and thus are very entry level. I'm amazed to hear there are so many openings. All that talk about not being able to attract employees because of the cost of living here is a scam given that they aren't informing residents of those jobs.

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 2, 2016 at 8:52 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

cost cutter:

I never denied that consolidation could save money. Why so nasty? Someone in MPPD give you a ticket?

1 person likes this
Posted by Cost cutter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 2, 2016 at 9:23 am

Menlo voter
No tickets, just facts

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jan 2, 2016 at 7:49 pm

Cost Cutter and Facts Please:

MPPD Officer Vasquez was arrested for criminal acts:

Web Link

I know there are many Menlo Park Officers that are hard working, honest, and professional. Maybe this is a way to get rid of officers like Vasquez? Are there any other officers within MPPD like Vasquez involved in misconduct or illegal activity after they have been employed as officers that our community is not aware?

Does MPPD do background checks after an officer has been an employee of the city? The federal government requires a re certification every 5 or 10 years?

Fact Checker:

Does the MPPD do re-certification background checks as the federal government requires? Does MPPD require a financial- credit check after employment? I do not think so?

1 person likes this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 2, 2016 at 8:13 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Menlo resident:

so we have one officer on our department with a checkered past. So we should tar all other officers with his scummy brush? Sorry, Vasquez is the exception not the rule. He shouldn't still be employed and I'd bet dollars to donuts that most of his fellow officers feel the same. Our officers are hard working and do a great job. remember that the next time you need to call 911.

3 people like this
Posted by Jenson
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jan 4, 2016 at 9:00 pm

Still in the ba humbug spirit cost cutter. Got any facts to support your speculation. No more sounds like or how many comments if you can't back them up.

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

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