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Original post made
by Mr. Varden, Atherton: Lindenwood,
on May 23, 2009
Another lawsuit?? Seriously, what's wrong with this town? Why are there so many lawsuits for such a small community? Strange.
I echo the comments of "Not again...". It seems there's one lawsuit after another. I've never seen anything like this. City Manager Jerome Gruber has been in the position long enough at this point that he can't blame it on past administrations. Something needs to be done to clear the deck of all of these lawsuits and commence a governmental environment in which lawsuits are not a monthly occurrence. It will merely take some humility on the part of the Atherton municipal government.
In early 2008 when Gruber was hired I seem to recall reading about some problems he encountered while at Big Bear lake. A hostile work environment complaint I believe.
If such is the case then he is an awkward position to have to deal with this most recent development.
According to last month\'s closed session agenda, there are three lawsuits in progress.
The pleadings associated with all three are a matter of public record.
To a lay person, these three lawsuits all have a common theme, a Town government that has forgotten to respect the rule of law.
Unless the Town takes decisive action we as property owners and tax payers will bear a sizeable financial penalty I fear.
Watching Atherton and its legal troubles is like watching a train wreck. One cannot help feeling a certain sickness combined with a grim fascination as the spectacle unfolds.
Of the three cases listed on the closed session agenda, two are employment related. Perhaps the Town Council, City Manager and department heads should attend some risk management training with an emphasis on HR. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Let's realize one big point: all the money being spent on the lawsuits ISN'T COMING OUT OF THE POCKETS OF THE PEOPLE MAKING THE DECISIONS (Gruber and the council). They have no particular incentive to settle them, particularly if personalities get involved.
The more interesting question, again, is why Atherton is having way more than its "fair share" of these lawsuits.
First off, when the town has decided to tango with a few of the residents over various mini-scandals, it's not hard to imagine that residents in the richest town in the world, or something like that, many of whom are business owners and/or CEOs, are going to push back. Easy enough to understand, but not so easy to digest why the town council would permit these types of entanglements in the first place, given they are also residents and represent the residents. Atherton's image is one of engendering the utmost respect for its residents by the town employees, police, etc., and in general this is true, but there have been a handful of notable and disdainful exceptions. My guess is when the town council hasn't intervened decisively to cut these off, it's in the interests of maintaining "good relations" with the town manager and police chief. This of course should NOT take priority over the well-being of the residents, most of whom are paying a huge amount of property taxes to live here.
How about the litigation with the employees? My guess, and it's only a guess, is that after working in the town for awhile, the police chief and the town manager figure they're more or less residents, complete with all the hubris that comes with it. Again, the town council should curtail this.
For some insight on one of the lawsuitspending, the news article below may be of interest.
It might explain why the Town Mangager did not act more quickly and more forcefully.
Mademoiselle Colette opens second location in Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 8 comments | 5,054 views
I AM THE GOD OF HELL FIRE AND I BRING YOU
By Laura Stec | 15 comments | 1,164 views
Couples: Initiators and Implementors
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 639 views
Don't be a ghost
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 419 views
Are We Really Up To This?
By Aldis Petriceks | 0 comments | 267 views
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