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Atherton residents address police contract issues, from outsourcing to pensions

Original post made on May 17, 2013

Should the town of Atherton consider outsourcing its police department? If not, how much should the town be willing to pay to keep residents safe, properties secure, and police officers feeling fairly compensated?

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 17, 2013, 11:15 AM

Comments (13)

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Posted by Outvoted
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 17, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Three residents spoke out against the insane police salaries and benefits in Atherton. Only two spoke out in favor of the APOA.

Since Elizabeth Lewis received money from the APOA, was endorsed by the APOA, and to quote Atherton sergeant Sherman Hall in a meeting with council members last year, actually is entitled to purchase and own council members, Joe Lewis' comment was just a way to pay the APOA back for their largesse to his wife.

Unfortunately Elizabeth Lewis probably thinks she's entitled to vote on this matter despite the enormous and clear conflict of interest.

The comment by Lt. Ruggeiro is the elephant in the room. Atherton cops keep demanding competitive pay, 70th percentile of other cops, etc., but try to sweep under the rug that since 10 to 25% of their salary ISN'T going to their pensions costs, they're already 10 to 25% higher than the highest paid cops in the peninsula.

And they're still complaining!

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Posted by longtimeatherontonian
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 17, 2013 at 5:08 pm

How is the city of Atherton planning on paying off the Atherton police salaries, pensions and medical care for the next twenty years? Would Atherton residents like to go bankrupt so that a police department can be funded that spends most of its time citing illegal aliens for driving without licenses through Fair Oaks, on El Camino and by Selby lane school? You ask yourself whether Atherton should pay to perform that function when both the CHP and San Mateo Sheriffs can pull over aliens to determine if they have valid drivers licenses.

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Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2013 at 5:50 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

The Atherton Police spend too much time out of their area of responsibility. I do not believe Woodside road is w/I the towns patrol area. Ya, I know, they are peace officers in Calif. and I use the term loosely.

W/o the special tax, how would the town pay for a police dept.

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Posted by Wondering why
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 19, 2013 at 7:43 am

Why did the city manager and Mayor insist that this was only a public input session and not allow the Council to speak on the subject? Could there be a differing opinion amongst them? Without knowing what could be gained in outsourcing, how can we agree a parcel tax to pay extra for this boutique service that without it we would be overrun with crime.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 19, 2013 at 8:45 am

You should be grateful that the City Manager and Mayor held Council Members at bay.

The public has such a limited opportunity to express itself. Those citizens who wish to talk should be able to do so without interruption, without confrontation, and without bloviating by politicians pontificating from the dais. Those politicians will have plenty of time to do that - without interruption - in the future as well as having the last word.

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm

You can bet the bought and paid for Lewis will have plenty to say when the time comes.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Subject: Item 16 on the 15 May agenda
Date: May 15, 2013 7:43:56 AM PDT
To: Elizabeth Lewis <>, William Widmer <>, Cary Wiest <>, Theresa DellaSanta <>, Jerry Carlson home <>, Jerry Carlson <>, James Dobbie <>, George Rodericks <>, Ed Flint <>

Dear Council,
I am in Wash, DC and unable to attend tonight's meeting so please accept these comments for your consideration regarding:


The Council faces an interesting dilemma — the APOA insists that its members receive even better compensation and benefits than they currently enjoy while the Town is already paying far more per capita for police services than Woodside, Portola Valley, Palo Alto or Menlo Park. While I have total confidence in Chief Flint's ability to provide the best possible services with the resources he has available he is severely constrained from doing that in the most cost effective manner by the APOA labor agreement and the small size of the department. It is certain that the Town's CalPERS obligations will rise significantly in the next five years and that will be exacerbated by any increases in the base salary levels.

If the APOA remains intransigent regarding making significant concessions then I do not believe the Town has any option but to begin discussions with a larger police agency regarding contracting out all or most of our police services. I believe that the Town could contract for a higher and a customized level of service at a significantly lower cost than we are currently paying. The residents don't care that the fire engines that respond to their 911 call are not operated by the Town of Atherton and, just as in Woodside and Portola Valley, they will not care what name is on the door of the police car that responds to their 911 call.

Peter Carpenter

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Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 20, 2013 at 1:47 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

I agree with Peter, who cares what name is on the police vehicle. I am sure that the Sheriffs Department can police Atherton for less money. Qualified Atherton officers should be able to be hired, or can they.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 20, 2013 at 3:40 pm

That's the thing - as with the San Carlos merger, if the event Atherton opts for police services from the Sheriff's Department, most of Atherton's police officers will be absorbed by the Sheriff's Department. That's usually how it works.

There are lots of advantages that have previously been discussed - the elimination of lots of layers of management, the ability to staff up quickly, economies of scale, better training and equipment, better coverage, etc.

If our experience in Woodside is any indication, Atherton residents should be assured that they will get excellent, personalized service from these deputies. We've had the same deputies for years and know most of them on a first name basis. They could not be more accommodating!

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Posted by Michael G Stogner
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2013 at 4:01 pm

San Carlos has had an excellent experience in going from SCPD to the Sheriff's Department.

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Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 20, 2013 at 4:30 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

The more I think of this, why is APOA have a dispatcher as the president. Should it not be a police officer? Atherton could also save money by having county communications take over the phones and dispatching of calls for service. This will reduce their retirement bill also to calpers

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Here's the problem, at least as I understand it. If Atherton brings in SMSD and the Atherton officers are absorbed, they will start having to pay their portion of their retirement contribution. The deputies pay that now. Can you say pay cut? That's the last thing APD officers want. Why? When they have a cushy, minimally demanding job and are getting paid a ridiculous salary? If it would be a good thing for APD officers to be absorbed into the Sheriffs Dept., don't you think they'd be helping push residents toward that? No, instead they using scare tactics to try to maintain APD. Wonder why?

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Posted by Outvoted
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 20, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Lt. Ruggiero and Menlo Voter have figured out why Atherton cops are willing to pay so much of their own earned money to influence Atherton politics so as not to outsource.

The days of Atherton making their pension contribution for them would be over.

NO OTHER police department in the bay area does this.

And Atherton cops have a much less dangerous job, no matter what they might say.

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