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Excellent report by Menlo Park staff on public employee compensation

Original post made by peter carpenter, Atherton: Lindenwood, on Apr 3, 2011

The City of Menlo Park staff has done a superb job in preparing the report "Presentation of Information Regarding Employee Compensation and Receipt of Public Comment Relating to Upcoming Contract Negotiations with Safety Units". While I take exception to the recommendations regarding blind acceptance of CalPERS' projected 7.75% return (since the entire risk of falling short falls not on CalPERS but on the participating agencies) and the alleged inapplicability of private sector compensation comparisons, it is otherwise a superb document. Other local agencies would be wise to follow this model.

I note that the report states " After public comment, staff will schedule a closed session for April 12, 2011 in order to obtain negotiating parameters from Council. After parameters are given, staff will engage the two bargaining units in contract negotiations in compliance with State law."

Under the Brown Act general personnel policies may NOT be discussed in Closed Session and I hope that the Council will hold a public session before the closed session to receive the public comment on this document called for by the report and to have an open discussion of the content of the report. The discussion of this report is too valuable to be hidden in a closed session

Here is the guidance on this matter from the League of cities (Open & Public, A guide to the Ralph M. Brown Act - California League of Cities):
"A legislative body may meet in closed session to instruct its bargaining representatives, which may be one or more of its members, on employee salaries and fringe benefits for both union and non-union employees. For represented employees, it may also consider working conditions that by law require negotiation. These sessions may take place before or during negotiations with employee representatives. Prior to the closed session, the legislative body must hold an open and public session in which it identifies its designated representatives."

During its discussions with representatives on salaries and fringe benefits, the legislative body may also discuss available funds and funding priorities, but only to instruct its representative."


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