Guest opinion: City is 'No. 1' — but that's not a good thing | February 5, 2020 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Viewpoint - February 5, 2020

Guest opinion: City is 'No. 1' — but that's not a good thing

by Mickie Winkler

Menlo Park has staffing problems, as demonstrated at the City Council meeting on Jan. 14. But neither city management nor council members are addressing them.

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Posted by Mark Z
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 6, 2020 at 3:42 pm

Menlo Park City Council needs to address this issue of excessive staff. What are all these staff members doing with their time? Looking at last years Council Priorities, none of the items on the list were completed. Our roads and parks aren't in any better condition than other neighboring cities. What are we getting for our sizable investment with all this staff?

Anyone who has reached out to staff with a request for service knows how unresponsive they are.

The City Manager (who will be retiring again shortly) clearly is not interested in addressing this problem before she leaves.

3 people like this
Posted by clear out overhead
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 6, 2020 at 4:05 pm

There's been a significant increase in top layer positions over the past 5 years. Why? That's where attention should be focused.
It is dangerous to compare Menlo Park with other cities unless the comparison takes into account city services provided. Inappropriate conclusions could be drawn without a more detailed analysis. A discussion about desired city services relative to their cost to resident taxpayers could ensue. This blanket analysis is too superficial.

That said, Menlo Park needs to look very closely at whether it is getting full cost recovery, including all benefits, for staff in positions such as planning and construction. And to what extent are resident taxpayers subsidizing use of facilities by non-residents, including those who dominate the pool hours. A good cost accountant could help with fiduring out these things.

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Posted by Mickey Griffin
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 7, 2020 at 5:24 pm

Menlo Park's excessive staffing has been an issues since we moved here over ten years ago. We watched several City Managers add staff as soon as they were hired, to have a larger fiefdom, it would appear. I am astounded to read this is still the case, and hope the City's management takes the opportunity to reduce staff with the current multiple vacancies. How much better the City could be rated by lowering its pension obligations.

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