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Menlo Park hires consultant to study city's administrative services department

Original post made on May 21, 2013

Now that a $25,000 review of the police department's internal operations is done, Menlo Park City Manager Alex McIntyre has hired a consultant to take a look at the city's administrative services department.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 8:39 AM

Comments (10)

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Posted by Scholar
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 21, 2013 at 12:13 pm

I want to offer a $49,000 study of the duck pond, pay me in advance thanks. Council approval not needed.

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Posted by Investigate, please
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on May 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm

What needs to be studied (investigated) is the city's planning department. Top to bottom. The specific plan that cost the city a near $3M was created with way too much involvement with Stanford University. The result is that Stanford and the parcels south of ravenswood got more floor area ration than parcel owners north of ravenswood. Why? Because Stanford was like a partner with the planning department. Whatever Stanford wanted, it got. Sure, sure, it was all transparent except no one can find exactly when and where council voted to have this lop-sided distribution of density. And no, the community didn't come up with this concept nor did it approve of this concept at any of the community meetings.

When will a "study" be conducted to find out how many meetings took place between staff and Stanford? How many phone calls and emails were exchanged between staff and Stanford? Add the shocking fact that the consultant hired was also working for Stanford on another even larger development in Redwood City and what Menlo Park got was the Stanford Plan, not the specific plan. Come on Alex, come on council: bite the bullet and tell us what really happened in the 5 years that this travesty took place.

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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on May 21, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Hope this isn't City Manager's MacIntyre's attempt to justify inflating staff. Actually, it's his performance that needs to be studied and acted upon by council. He's a short-termer.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 21, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The result is that Stanford and the parcels south of ravenswood got more floor area ration than parcel owners north of ravenswood. Why?"

First, the above statement is wrong. the Downtown Area D (2.00), Station Area West (2.00) and Station Area East (1.35) all have higher FAR's than does the ECR-SE (1.25).

Second, there are very clear answers in the Specific Plan:

"The allowed development intensities vary with the lowest intensity
on the far northern end of El Camino Real, moderate
intensities on the southwest end and highest intensities
on the southeast end of El Camino Real, where parcels
are separated from adjacent uses by El Camino Real (to
the west) and the railroad right-of-way (to the east)."

"The allowable FARs and densities refl ect the community
preferences and comfort as explored through the planning
for this Specific Plan."

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Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of another community
on May 21, 2013 at 3:13 pm

It is very fortunate that all the Menlo Park conspiracy theorists have Stanford handy to blame for everything. What the consultants did in Menlo Park is very consistent with what every other community is doing along the El Camino Real/Caltrain corridor. If you want to investigate anything, look at the Grand Boulevard Initiative and the One Bay Area Plan sponsored by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG)and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). Senate Bill 375 (also known as the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008) requiring EVERY community to address future growth while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. That means greater densities (both jobs and housing) near along transit corridors (like El Camino Real). Did you know, for example, that the Sierra Club endorsed the El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan? Ever think to ask why? Of course not, it is easier to cling to allegations that have already been proved wrong.

I apologize if the realities of life in a growing region (including Menlo Park) conflict with your attempt to find a "conspiracy" behind everything. But you keep on looking for boogeymen (boogeypersons?), as I am sure you will, because it is easier to blame Stanford for everything than try to address the real problems of our region. And yes, Menlo Park, you are part of the Bay Area, and should be part of the solutions.

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Posted by Tin foil hats
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 21, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Not a conspiracy. A business venture. An effort by some well-heeled, well-connected folks to capitalize on inflated real estate prices in the Bay Area by concocting projections that have no real substance and using those to strongarm cities into submission.

It's not about growth or about what's best for our communities going forward. Plan Bay Area represents the worst in crony capitalism, making the rich even richer at the expense of the rest of us. Our legislators, catering to their biggest donors, have been complicit in this effort.

Other cities are fighting back against Plan Bay Area. See, for example Web Link Anyone in Menlo Park (or the rest of the mid-peninsula) who cares about the future quality of life here should join the effort.

It would be great if all "residents of other communities" indicated how they will personally or professionally profit with implementation of Plan Bay Area. I'm not holding my breath though!

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Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of another community
on May 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm

I have no more or less professional or personal "profit" motivation in Plan Bay Area than anyone else. I believe that we all would benefit from a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and having every community make some level of effort to provide a range of affordable housing near transit. I am not a social engineer, but I do know that concentrating growth around mass transit makes more sense that people driving long distances to and from work.

Luckily, I have an open mind and don't see "crony capitalism" and "well-heeled well connected folks... concocting projections that have no real substance" behind every planning effort.

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Posted by Unhappy Taxpayer
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on May 23, 2013 at 10:55 am

When private companies pay a manager $219K/yr. plus free healthcare, provide a pension and loan a million $ at below market rates, so that he can buy a house in a certain town, they expect that he will bring the skills necessary to evaluate each and every department that reports to him...without the aid of an expensive consultant!!!! This is ridiculous!!!

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Posted by Value investor
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 23, 2013 at 11:27 am

Another way of looking at Unhappy taxpayer's comment:

What value does City Manager MacIntyre bring to the city?

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Posted by Consultant
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Major corporations, headed by people who make a lot more than the city manager, do indeed hire very expensive management consultants to evaluate their operations, audit their books, conduct security audits, give them marketing advice, human resources advice, real estate advice, etc.

A city manager manages people who manage departments and shouldn't micromanage each department. The department managers are the ones who should have intimate knowledge of their domains. Even the best of them must admit that there are people out there who have broader experience in their fields and can be of help when needed.

Additionally, city departments have had their numbers reduced and the remaining staff has often had its hours cut, increasing the need for outside help.

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

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