https://almanacnews.com/square/print/2020/05/13/to-balance-next-years-budget-menlo-park-council-considers-cutting-child-care-programs


Town Square

To balance next year's budget, Menlo Park council considers cutting child care programs

Original post made on May 13, 2020

Facing an expected shortfall of $12.7 million in a sea of uncertainty in the upcoming fiscal year, the Menlo Park City Council, tasked with creating a balanced budget by the end of June, grappled Tuesday with what to cut.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 11:54 AM

Comments

10 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on May 13, 2020 at 11:56 am

Has Menlo Park eliminated defined benefit pensions for public sector employees? No? Then why is this even being considered?


7 people like this
Posted by 94025
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 13, 2020 at 12:53 pm

How do pensions fit into this? Bloated employee packages need to be on here.


6 people like this
Posted by West Menlo
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 13, 2020 at 2:33 pm

How about doing what most businesses do in these situations do, and give all managers 15-20% salary cuts, and regular employees 10% cuts. Put a stop on all hiring. Let attrition happen. This includes our over-compensated fire and police departments.


17 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 13, 2020 at 2:48 pm

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 2, 2020 at 5:58 pm

"MP residents need to realize that the city staff has totally captured the elected City Council.

The staff has de facto control of the Council agenda and nothing goes on the agenda that has not been vetted by the staff. Obviously in this arrangement the Council will only be given a very limited set of alternatives to consider.

A test question is - Will the staff recommend outsourcing police services to the Sheriff as is done in both Portola Valley and Woodside? This would save millions of dollars annually and would also improve the level of service. And it would avoid future increases in the city's liability for police pensions.

If not, then we know for sure that the Council is not in charge but rather is being led by the nose by the city staff


********************

Just as predicted - the staff is dealing with all of the nickel and dime issues and does NOT even discuss (much less recommend) the easiest way to save MILLIONS - contract for police services with the Sheriff:

Web Link

Note that the City spends over $22 MILLION on police services - twice per capita what other communities pay.

Obviously protecting the staff is more important than things like Belle Haven Child Care.


8 people like this
Posted by Nancy Reyering
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 13, 2020 at 5:40 pm

As a former resident of Menlo Park, and someone who is still proud of this beautiful city, I want to thank the council for deliberating on this challenging topic. I especially want to thank Vice Mayor Drew Combs and Councilman Ray Mueller who asked for clearer numbers before moving forward. As a society we institutionally undervalue women. We undervalue their contributions to society in the jobs that are predominantly held by females: teachers, nurses, caregivers, and childcare providers. Why can't we do a better job locally? It is staggering to consider how much this will hurt working women and families who most need childcare.


10 people like this
Posted by Mutti
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 13, 2020 at 5:49 pm

I like the suggestion to move employees from Defined-benefit to Defined-contribution retirement plans. No commercial company does Defined-benefit anymore. Contribute, along with the employee, to an IRA and then the employee lives on what they've saved in retirement. Guaranteeing a high percentage of salary for life is fiscally unsustainable.


10 people like this
Posted by Can't go backwards!
a resident of another community
on May 13, 2020 at 7:27 pm

Isn't it "rich" that with the highest taxes in the country (income+sales+property) Menlo Park can't provide services to its residents. They won't even think about rolling back the huge police salaries and benefits. That's what happens when the inmates start running the asylum and the city is run for the benefit of the police instead of the residents. Very weak town council, and a bully of a police chief make for a dangerous combination.


10 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 13, 2020 at 7:47 pm

What I found troubling during the council discussion was that Councilman Mueller commented multiple times that he does not know what to do (other than cutting the childcare service). That was very interesting because it’s the council’s job to actually run the city and find ways to make things work. Maybe you tried your best but you couldn’t figure it out, that’s fine. But if so, let someone else do the job. If your job is just a matter of addition and subtraction by looking at a couple tables, we can potentially elect a calculator to do your job.

It’s not an easy job, but please do your job! A community needs childcare. It’s not a cost, it’s an investment!


9 people like this
Posted by Ray Mueller
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on May 13, 2020 at 8:29 pm

Not sure who posted that, but it’s unfortuantely false. I never said the quote the last poster attributed to me. The article quotes me correctly. I did ask our colleagues to look through the budget with me to determine where the cuts to balance the budget would come from, as we have not yet identified them. I encourage people to watch the tape.


Like this comment
Posted by Ray Mueller
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on May 13, 2020 at 8:41 pm

Please excuse the typo in the spelling of unfortunately.


9 people like this
Posted by Can't go backwards!
a resident of another community
on May 13, 2020 at 8:55 pm

Ray Mueller, thanks for commenting on this thread to defend what you said. How about you go one step further and comment on when you are going to tackle the elephant in the room, the crushing public safety costs that are preventing the city from doing what residents need even though we are paying taxes as high or higher than anyone else. You're not going to find the money anywhere else. Your police dept is out of control. You don't need your own police dept, and you certainly don't need to be paying police officers hundreds of thousands of dollars per officer to keep people safe. I realize it's not "politically correct" to talk about this in the environment your city staff has created, but how about showing some courage? Most would say when you had to keep an officer on the payroll who was arrested for having sex with a prostitute ON PAID DUTY, that would be a tipping point to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! If turning it over to the county sheriff means you don't have enough personnel to keep the red light cameras running, so much the better. That's a stunt to fuel the police dept, not protect residents.


7 people like this
Posted by Ray Mueller
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on May 13, 2020 at 9:40 pm

Thank you for your feedback. This is going to be a very tough budget this year, with such a large deficit. It's understandable tensions are high. I imagine there will be many people asserting many different things to "gain" political ground for what they feel is important. I don't believe it prudent to commit to any position on the Almanac Town Forum with respect to the budget while still in deliberations with my colleagues and still gaining information from the City's professional staff.

To further set the record straight, on Tuesday night, not only does the article quote me accurately, but I also suggested ways to raise revenue, including a $3.6M property sale to the Fire District of property the City just acquired last fall, which more than covers the cost of the childcare centers. I also suggested re-purposing child care center employees for the time being, to do virtual babysitting for a fee. So the anonymous false accusations directed towards me regarding the childcare centers is just unfounded. I was however very direct with my colleagues that we need to balance the budget and that when we make decisions not cut in one area, it means we will need to cut another. If that makes people uncomfortable, it's understandable. But that's the position we are in.


28 people like this
Posted by Sir Toppham Hatt
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 13, 2020 at 11:37 pm

This is classic Playbook for entrenched powers- at first mention of any decrease in tax growth, cut the few services people actually care about- libraries, daycare, Fourth of July festivities. Never mind that these are a rounding error compared to the $300K+ positions throughout City Government- the sheep must be punished for daring to question where all the money from their wool goes.


5 people like this
Posted by Ray Mueller
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on May 14, 2020 at 7:24 am

City Management has offered a wide variety of options to help balance the budget. And though not mentioned in the article, City management is proposing salary decreases for management and reduction in positions.

COVID-19 has been devastating to the City budget.

I understand in an environment like this people will be unhappy, as it is an unhappy circumstance.

Please don't hesitate to email me at rdmueller@menlopark.org if I can be helpful in answering any questions through the process.




2 people like this
Posted by Courtney
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 14, 2020 at 8:02 am

I am so frustrated to know that child care was even considered being cut. The good old patriarchy is alive and well. If anything Menlo Park should be over more daycare and from 3 months old. It should be subsidized and accessible to all. Childcare is not only important for a child’s development but for women to stay and advance in the workforce. I learned all of this in the book Lean In- it was written by a local Menlo Park resident. Of all the places in the US we should have enough public funding, and be supporting women and mothers.


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 14, 2020 at 8:21 am

"City Management has offered a wide variety of options to help balance the budget."


But notably the City Management has omitted the biggest cost saver of all - contracting with the Sheriff for police services.

Why does the Council limit its discussion to the proposals "offered" by City Management?

We elected the Council to make these decisions - not the City Management.

Interesting San Mateo County Grand Jury Report:

STRAPPED CITIES THAT HIRED THE SHERIFF…IS IT WORKING?

FINDINGS
F1. The SO is providing the police services for which the cities of Half Moon Bay, Millbrae,
and San Carlos contracted within the cost perimeters of the contracts.
F2. Public response to the transition from individual police departments to the SO is positive.
F3. No increase in the number of police involved incidences has been reported by the cities
due to the transition of policing services to the SO and one city, Millbrae, reports a
decrease of 17 per cent in crime.
F4. The transition from individual police departments to the SO was incident free with
former city personnel generally pleased with the change.
F5. The police service contracts between the SO and each of the cities of Half Moon Bay,
Millbrae, and San Carlos serve as good models to other cities in the County which
operate their own police departments and which are facing budgetary restraints.
F6. The trust funds for each city comprised of unallocated funds should be disclosed in
financial reports and described in the policing service contracts."

The reason why contracting with the Sheriff's Office (SO) saves so much money is economies of scale - each city no longer needs a chief, or police admin, or police training and most of the square footage used by a city owned police department can be eliminated.

From the Grand Jury report:
"SO Contracts
The contracts utilized by all three cities are basically the same. They have a common theme of
saving each city thousands of dollars by having the SO perform virtually all policing duties.
These savings are gained by having the SO assume responsibility for office expenses, including
accounting and personnel, along with pension and medical obligations. The contracts provide for
police services at staffing levels determined by the individual city councils, which are
commensurate with the cities previous staffing levels. Additional services not set forth in the
base contract can be added by the cities to fit their needs by amending the contract. There is a
right of termination by either party. Contract costs are adjusted with an anticipated three percent
maximum annual increase. The cities retain revenues generated through violations of city
ordinances, license fees, inspections, vehicle impounding, and the sale of accident and crime
reports. The cities are responsible for the fee collection process. All local ordinances are adhered
to. The cities provide office space for the SO at the cities’ cost.
The contracts allow for the cities to obtain additional services from the SO for special programs,
depending on their individual needs and budget. For example, San Carlos wanted to reduce the
number of traffic accidents around schools. A $100,000 contingency fund was created to enable
the placement of officers on duty during morning school hours for two weeks. Parents who failed
to follow the driving laws were cited thereby establishing a standard for driving near schools in
San Carlos. The additional personnel hours were accounted for at the end of the fiscal year.
The SO provides support services such as property and evidence management, training, technical
services (including 911), records retention, fiscal services such as payroll, and human resource
services. The SO sets the standards for performance and conduct and determines where specific
personnel will be deployed. An effort is made, however, to assign patrol personnel to areas
familiar to them."

*********
From a population and demographic standpoint San Carlos (2017 population of 30,499) is very comparable to Menlo Park ( 2017 population 34,357)

Per the Grand Jury report here is how much San Carlos spends and saves annually by contracting for police services with the Sheriff:
"San Carlos
Annual contract = Approx. $7 million
Annual savings = Approx. $2 million
1 Captain
5 Sergeants
14 Deputies
4 CSOs
12 Patrol Officers"

That is $7 million for 36 FTEs

******
Here is how much Menlo Park currently spends to have its own police force:

$22 million for 76 FTE's

**********************

Do the residents of Menlo Park need more than twice as many police FTE's at 3X the cost as do the residents of San Carlos?

Do the residents of Menlo Park actually get better police services than do the residents of San Carlos? Three times as good?

See full report here - and send it to your Menlo Park City Council:

Web Link


10 people like this
Posted by MP resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 14, 2020 at 2:25 pm

"The reason why contracting with the Sheriff's Office (SO) saves so much money is economies of scale - each city no longer needs a chief, or police admin, or police training and most of the square footage used by a city owned police department can be eliminated."

Truer words have never been spoken.

Why is it Menlo Park needs so much police presence? Violent crime is not an issue here. Burglary? Property crimes are usually rectified by better home security, but in the end that's just an insurance issue.

So why is it the police chief earns more than 300K, and officers can easily earn more than 200K for policing our small town? Does anyone read the police logs?

And do you think they are not aware how easy it is to retire at age 50 and earn North of 200K per year, for life? And for what? Investigating a smashed window?

Do we need more "crosswalk stings" in which police decoys purposely step into crosswalks, and linger?




Like this comment
Posted by Stu Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 14, 2020 at 4:33 pm

Regarding

“I also suggested ways to raise revenue, including a $3.6M property sale to the Fire District of property the City just acquired last fall, which more than covers the cost of the childcare centers. “

I recall that This lot was part of the former Habitat for Humanity Low income housing project proposed along terminal avenue. The lot mentioned was to serve as entrance and egress to the Habitat project

It would be difficult to get it back.


4 people like this
Posted by Police
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 14, 2020 at 9:27 pm

The police department provides superior service than the Sheriffs Office in many areas. There are many dedicated people that take their job seriously and show dedication day in and day out. The salaries are in line with other departments and hardly bloated. Incidentally San Carlos is a different city that hardly confronts the variety of challenges and threats that Menlo Park does. I guess the fire department is the model for total cost savings now is it?

Preserve essential services. They are the hardest to replace.

Meanwhile face book is building a billion dollars in buildings and el Camino is another 500 million? The residents demand a high level of service.


9 people like this
Posted by Propaganda
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 14, 2020 at 9:59 pm

Police, with due respect, that's nonsense. If a community is in the highest taxed state in the USA, with very high property taxes, and very high sales taxes, and still cannot afford some normal expenses, you can't just write off police salaries and benefits (a huge slice of the budget) as "that's just the way it is". A police officer retiring, getting a 90% pension, and then making $250K at another department (or, $400 to $500K per year total) is completely unsustainable. Salaries in line with other departments? That's how they all have ratcheted up the compensation to the stratosphere. San Carlos says they're in line with Menlo Park, gets a raise, then Menlo Park matches/beats, and it goes on and on.

Wake up.

Ray Mueller, you have avoided answering the questions on this, but you're going to have to wind up taking a stand.


9 people like this
Posted by Sir Topham Hatt
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 14, 2020 at 11:20 pm

Mr. Police

How does the police department provide better service than the sheriffs? Since Menlo Park pays 3x the rate of San Carlos, is the crime rate here 1/3 of theirs? What unique threats does Menlo Park face that San Carols does not?

Mr. Carpenter is right- the towns are basically the same, yet we pay $15M more for a similar level of unsolved property crimes.


7 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 14, 2020 at 11:26 pm

Ray Mueller, I'm sorry if I mistaken your comment.

Please say it here that you won't vote for cutting MCC and Belle Haven Child Development center and vote accordingly. If so, I will apologize to you in person. What do you say?


Like this comment
Posted by junayed khan
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 15, 2020 at 12:36 am

Hey ,Kate Bradshaw
I was wondering if you have of heard of this Child Learn program before?
Web Link it looks like a great program to help parents. I was just looking for
some options before I made my decision. Buy the way, I love the content
you have been posting lately!


3 people like this
Posted by Long timer
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on May 15, 2020 at 7:35 am

"The police department provides superior service than the Sheriffs Office in many areas."

Throw out a comment , but with no data to support it. Then go from there as if it was the truth.

In our communities along the Peninsula, essentially mature and built out, most policing has to do with property crime, not violent crime. The Sheriff is well equipped to handle these events. I doubt the Sheriff's office would support your statement about MP PD providing "superior service".

Just another attempt to protect extremely bloated salaries and pensions.

Many years ago I participated in a ride-along with a police officer. It was interesting for the first 20 minutes, observing the police car and listening to dispatch. The remaining hours were boring. Why? Nothing happened.

Now you know why you often see four patrol cars at a traffic stop. The officers race to the scene of a traffic stop for the sake of "doing something, doing anything".


4 people like this
Posted by Chuan
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 15, 2020 at 8:07 am

MCC parent here.

Just a few thoughts after watching Tuesday's council meeting:

1. Please clarify the $1.27M + $1.74M expenditure for MCC and BHCDC. A BHCDC staff raised a question in the meeting, saying that the BHCDC number does not match what she sees at her job. We, as parents, would also like to know what is going on.

2. Assume zero revenue while maintaining the same level of expenditure in budgeting seems absurd. Using it as an excuse to "eliminate" childcare is wrong, period.

3. There are ~60 families currently rely on MCC. The figure for BHCDC is probably similar, if not higher. These are the lucky families who managed to land a spot in the Menlo Park childcare system, which is EXTREMELY competitive to get in. I know friends who moved out of Menlo Park simply because their kids could not enroll in childcare. I urge the council to consider RAISING its support to places like MCC and BHCDC when there is an opportunity. As said by others, spending on childcare is not a cost but an investment.


10 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 15, 2020 at 8:41 am

police:

The Sheriff's department would provide the same level of service as MPPD. We would be paying them for that service. We would specify exactly how much service we want. When San Carlos PD contracted with SMCSD, most, if not all, of the SCPD officers were absorbed by the SD. The same thing would happen if we were to contract with the SD. Our officers would become Deputies. And many would continue working in Menlo Park.

The savings come in economies of scale as Peter Carpenter has pointed out. You eliminate the need for a Chief for starters. That's $300k plus a year PLUS his pension liability. Command staff would also be greatly reduced along with their salaries and pension liabilities.

The pensions are what's killing us. 90% of final salary at 50 for the REST of their lives. We all know people are living MUCH longer than when the pensions were first set up. Back then the retirement age was set higher and people didn't live that long. 25 or 30 years ago the expectation was the average police officer was only going to collect a pension for about five years before they died. Not any more. If they retire at 50 or 55 you can expect they will typically live another 20 years, at least. So if an officer retires after 30 years and is making $150k a year they collect $135k for the rest of their life. Likely to be at least another 20 years. And they get a COLA bump every year.

Many of these officers retire at 55 and then start another career. Some start a career with the DA's office or other municipality where they will collect another retirement check when they leave that job.

And those retirement checks never go down for the rest of their lives. That model is simply unsustainable without either making the officers contribute more towards their retirement, which is happening some. Or, increase the amount the municipalities are required to contribute, which is happening a lot. Since these municipalities can't print money where do you think they will make up the need for more money? That's right, the tax payers.

This retirement problem is greatly reduced, at least for Menlo Park by contracting with the SD. The retirement is the SD's to deal with, not Menlo Park.

There is also a savings in infrastructure. Menlo Park would no longer need dispatchers, a police station, support staff and police cars. All of that would be handled by the SD for significantly LESS money.

Sorry police, but it's time to take a serious look at outsourcing our policing to the SD. There really is no down side that I can see.


7 people like this
Posted by Sunny
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 15, 2020 at 9:10 am

Spending on education is not a cost, it is an investment for a city.————Agree with this point strongly


5 people like this
Posted by Menlo P
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 16, 2020 at 8:22 am

"Sorry police, but it's time to take a serious look at outsourcing our policing to the SD. There really is no down side that I can see.

You are correct, but it takes courage on the part of the city's government to change the status quo.

Put this to a city-wide vote, and it's highly probable the police department will be absorbed by the county. The pension contracts are what will be the driving force.

Our sleepy little city in in safe hands with the Sheriff's office. San Carlos is a perfect example. Indeed, San Carlos is being called the "next Palo Alto". Crime is not an issue.

If anything, crime is on a sharp decline due to the abundance of traffic cameras, license plate readers, home security cameras, commercial building cameras, and cell phone cameras. There are so many "eyes" out there, crime is reducing at a rapid pace.


11 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 16, 2020 at 8:43 am

"You are correct, but it takes courage on the part of the city's government to change the status quo."

Actually it will take courage on the part of our five elected City Council Members - the city staff is stonewalling them on even considering the option of outsourcing police services to the Sheriff.

Outsourcing police services to the Sheriff would obviate the need for painful and unnecessary cuts in social services and would actually improve the level of police services in Menlo Park.

If the current council won't do this then we will need to elect a new council.


2 people like this
Posted by A Now Problem
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 16, 2020 at 1:37 pm

The Menlo Park Budget issue is a NOW problem not a tomorrow problem. While it may make sense to consider outsourcing of services (whatever those services may be) in an effort to stem any budget hemorrhaging, doing so is not a near-term solution. It requires thought, deliberation, and deep consideration before doing so.

Putting outsourcing on the table for discussion - sure; but putting outsourcing on the table as THE solution to solve the immediate COVID-19 budget issue is not addressing the near-term problem.


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 16, 2020 at 1:53 pm

Nice try but MP's budget problem is not a short term problem.

The models, menus and contracts for outsourcing to the Sheriff are all known and MP could complete that effort in a few months. This is not rocket science.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 16, 2020 at 6:39 pm

Here is some of the language in the San Carlos contract - NOT rocket science :

Whereas, on June 16, 2015, the City and County entered into an Agreement (Resolution No. 073889) for the performance of the agreed upon law enforcement services within its boundaries by the County through the Sheriff; and
Whereas, Resolution No. 073889 authorizes the Sheriff or Sheriff’s designee to accept or execute notices, documents, and amendments associated with this Agreement; and
Whereas, in September 2015, Amendment One was approved which added one full-time Community Service Officer position, one parking enforcement vehicle, and reduced the UAAL credit; and
Whereas, in March 2016, Amendment Two was approved which revised Exhibits B and B-1 to include the revised cost of the parking enforcement vehicle added in September 2015 (via Amendment One) and added the one-time cost for an In-Car Computer/Video System Upgrade; and
Whereas, in May 2016, Amendment Three was approved which incorporated the FY 2016-17 rates set forth in Exhibits B and B-1; and
Whereas, in June 2017, Amendment Four was approved which incorporated the FY 2017-18 rates set forth in Exhibits B and B-1; and
Whereas, in May 2018, Amendment Five was approved which incorporated the FY 2018-19 rates set forth in Exhibits B and B-1; and
Whereas, both parties wish to further amend the Agreement to incorporate the FY 2019-20 rates set forth in Exhibits B and B-1; to recognize the City’s purchase of Automated License Plate Readers for use by the Sheriff in the City of San Carlos in conformance with applicable policies for evidence, access and retention, include the Automatic License Plate Reader service, software maintenance and contract administration as costs; and add the one-time cost for increased traffic enforcement.
Now, therefore, it is hereby agreed as follows:
1. “Exhibit B Rates/Payments FY 2018-19”, to the Agreement is hereby deleted in its entirety and replaced with “Exhibit B - FY 2019-20 Rates/Payments”, attached hereto and incorporated by reference herein.
2. “Exhibit B-1 Calculated Rates FY 2018-19”, to the Agreement is hereby deleted in its entirety and replaced with “Exhibit B-1 - FY 2019-20 Calculated Rates”, attached hereto and incorporated by reference herein.

EXHIBIT B FY 2019-20 RATES / PAYMENTS
Agreement for Law Enforcement Services between the County of San Mateo and City of San Carlos
In consideration of the services described in Exhibit A and Exhibit A-1, City shall pay County based on the following fee schedule:
1. CHARGES FOR SERVICES.
1.1 City shall pay County for services described in this Agreement as calculated based on the formulas set forth in Exhibit B-1 - Calculated Rates, attached hereto and incorporated by reference herein.
1.2 Exhibit B-1 shall be readjusted by the County annually effective July 1 of each year and attached hereto as an updated / revised Exhibit B-1.
2. INVOICING / BILLING.
2.1 On a quarterly basis in accordance with Section 3 below, Sheriff’s Office Fiscal Services Bureau shall submit an invoice to the City.
2.2 Payments and questions regarding invoicing shall be directed to the Sheriff’s Office Budget Analyst at (650) 599-1531 or be mailed to:
San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Fiscal Services Bureau
400 County Center
Redwood City, CA 94063
3. PAYMENTS.
3.1 Total charges for the period of July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020 are $8,930,709. Invoices will be issued according to the following schedule:
Invoice Issued
Amount
July 1, 2019 $2,232,677.25
October 1, 2019 $2,232,677.25
January 1, 2020 $2,232,677.25
April 1, 2020 $2,232,677.25

***************

Less than $10 million vs over $22 million for MP's Police Department.

So why does the Council want to cut things like child care when they can save millions and get better service by contracting out police services?


Like this comment
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 16, 2020 at 8:12 pm

Many companies and nonprofits have adjusted or even cancelled benefits and retirement packages in whole or part. What can't local governments do the same?
It's not justne police and the fire dept it's all city staff who receive great benefits and pensions. Many os would be happy with a fraction of what they receive.
As to fire and police pensions and benefits there should be a formula based on the actual dangers of working within a specific municipality. They vary greatly.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 16, 2020 at 9:04 pm

whatever:

the reason they can't do it is that if they ALL don't do it or at least a large majority, employees will bail and go where they can still get that kind of retirement.

A perfect example is San Jose. They tried to reset their pension plan and the result was cops fleeing the department in droves. They had a terrible time hiring replacements because the retirement didn't measure up to all the other departments in the bay area. In fact, Atherton benefited from the SJPD exodus when they picked up a number of ex-San Jose cops. That was a great deal for Atherton. Very well trained and highly experienced officers were in short supply at APD.


Like this comment
Posted by Nancy
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 19, 2020 at 2:24 pm

Privatization of Gymnastics makes sense now. personnel savings are enormous - all salaries (full and part time, all employee benefits (health insurance, workers compensation, sick leave, vacation costs, hiring and training expenses, etc). The city also saves some administrative overhead by not having to deal with payroll and personnel supervision. There could be reduced insurance costs (aside from WC) in liability and property coverage (if the city transfers that to the vendor). The cost of maintenance and repair of the equipment would also be contracted away from the city. There are a lot of advantages to contracting programs. The only obligation to the city would be contract management and oversight (not of the program, but the vendor). I hope the city recognizes the value.

Current full time employees of the gymnastics program could be moved to other essential programs. Temporary employees would most likely be hired by the contractor. Most other gymnastics program in the area pay their employees a higher rate of pay and do not have to follow the government rule of only allowing temporary employees to work no more than 1,000 hours per year. A private contractor would also be able to offer benefits such as health care and vacation pay. Temporary employees would most certainly benefit from contracting the program.
Most all city recreation services are already being contracted out successfully including programs within Gymnastics such as circus arts. There would be little change to those who use the facilities and IMO the community would see improvements and increased class offerings. Pre-Covid the City gymnastics had already cut programming by 25 percent, so there was plenty of reasons to privatize then and more so now.


3 people like this
Posted by Count me in
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 19, 2020 at 7:41 pm

"If the current council won't do this then we will need to elect a new council."

So let's get some names on the ballot, names of people who run on a campaign of common sense.

There is no reason for MP to have a police department, the Sheriff's office can handle our policing, and they are located nearby.


4 people like this
Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 20, 2020 at 12:12 am

The City Council already has three new members and a fourth new member will be elected this year for certain as there is no incumbent in district 3. There is already a majority of new council members, but that isn’t the issue. There has been a Police Department in the City for generations All if a sudden there is one email to the city saying the city should get rid of it and the trolls expect it over night. The Sheriff hasn’t even said he wants the police department.


3 people like this
Posted by What we know
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 20, 2020 at 1:31 am

We know the San Mateo Sheriff has successfully taken over police services for San Carlos, Woodside and Portola Valley. These communities are all very satisfied with the services provided. They are saving many millions of dollars per year, money that can be spent and is being spent improving these communities for their residents, and increasing the value of their real estate.

To a council that is actually representing its citizens, the above facts would serve as a powerful rationale to get moving on this issue. Yet, we also know the police union will work furiously to prevent this from happening in Menlo Park. Despite the evidence from neighboring communities, the elected council members are scared to even discuss the issue. You've seen that from Ray Mueller posting on this thread. If you read his posts carefully, he won't even acknowledge it's an issue that deserves discussion.

Despite this evidence, misinformation will be circulated by the union to make it seem like this is a foolish and hasty gamble with the lives and safety of Menlo Park citizens, too complex to consider now, not necessary to consider later, etc. etc. It's already started on this thread.

If Menlo Park were going first, these tactics would be more effective. With three other neighboring communities having clear success stories ahead of it, it gets really fuzzy why it would be a high risk maneuver for Menlo Park. Given these successes in these communities, it's actually very difficult to argue it's not a no brainer.

The Menlo Park PD primarily benefits the police who work in Menlo Park, not the people who live there and who pay for it. This is not to say the MPPD provides no service to residents. It's just indisputable that the same or better service can be had for a far lower price. The deputies working for the SMC sheriff are a higher caliber of police officer than MPPD. Like neighboring Atherton, the officers at MPPD come there to have the best of all possible worlds. Truly amazing compensation and retirement, and working in a community that has admittedly some of the theoretical dangers of being a police officer, but none of the practical ones.

Small police departments love being part of a small city like Menlo Park or Atherton because they get to walk all over it. They couldn't do that in a county like San Mateo. Ultimately, San Mateo County will have more control over reigning in fiscally unsustainable practices than a small city. This is why MPPD doesn't want to get outsourced. The officers would all get offered jobs at the sheriff's office, but they wouldn't be big fish in a small pond any longer. Certainly Bertini, the so-called chief, would no longer be a proverbial pharaoh. He might well even be told his services were not required, and that he should work on his temper and anger issues instead. Undoubtedly Chief Bertini is telling Ray Mueller and his council member colleagues they should not be thinking about outsourcing the MPPD. Probably that they cannot even think about it without opening up a chasm in the Earth that could never get closed again. It's no different than the fox saying the hen house is A okay.

Bottom line to Ray and the council members: do your job. Do the right thing. This is an easy issue. Call up San Carlos, Woodside or Portola Valley and do your diligence. But, I would wager those calls will never get made. They just don't want to rock this boat.


8 people like this
Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 20, 2020 at 6:28 am

There it is.

A bunch of conjecture naming one council member,
Ray. No evidence the police union or the Chief have even spoken to the Council about the Sheriffs office. No knowledge of what conversation is taking place between the City and the County This is turning into a political hatchet job on town square for political purposes. The Council is in the middle of the budget process. Let them do their job. If you don’t like the result when it is over, then say why. Don’t make up things up the middle of the process. Save your pitchforks and your fires, unless of course that’s the real goal. The Sheriff hasn’t said he will take on the City of Menlo Park. The City can’t force themselves on the County pension rolls in the middle of a Pandemic, when the County is facing much larger budget shortfalls.

Trust the entire Council to do it’s job. Right now no one on the City Council is alleging anything is out of sorts with the police department discussion. Three new council members were just elected and the Council is acting in unison. If something was amiss, you would expect at least one council member to be saying so.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 20, 2020 at 7:43 am

The staff has de facto control of the Council agenda and nothing goes on the agenda that has not been vetted by the staff. Obviously in this arrangement the Council will only be given a very limited set of alternatives to consider.

Under MP rules no single Council Member can put this or any other item n the agenda.

However the growing public support for the Council to consider outsourcing our very expensive plice department may well force the entire Council to consider this very real way t both improve police services and reduce the cost of those services.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 20, 2020 at 7:50 am

A persuasive statement from a well informed MP citizen - and frmer Coincil member:

Big Cost-Saving Proposal

Fellow Residents.

In these Covid consuming times, the City Council has been struggling to cut costs—as it must—with a projected $12.7 million budget shortfall! Many necessary, but painful, options are on the table and must be pursued.

For one potently HUGE savings and without any service reduction the City Council should seriously consider combining our police department with the San Mateo County Sheriff's office.
We have nothing to lose but millions of dollars of debt-- every year.

Here's how it works: Menlo Park Police services would become a separate bureau of the San Mateo county Sheriff's office-- like Milbrae, Half Moon Bay and San Carlos are now. We would set up our own program within the Office, we could address our own particular needs, we could have our own patrol cars, but we would share administrative staff. Furthermore, we could adjust our contract with the Sheriff, as the aforementioned cities have done, to optimize the program over time.

The County Sheriff currently serves 60% of San Mateo County.

A grandjury report of 2012-13 found that monetary savings have been significant in each city without any reduction in services.

Do you think we should consider this, as of yet, unconsidered option? Please let me—and the City Council know--ASAP. City.council@menlopark.org. Deliberations continue on Tuesday (May 19)

Be well, Lee duboc (menlofuture@gmail.com)


3 people like this
Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 20, 2020 at 8:00 am

Mayor Cecilia Taylor approves the agenda. All the Councilmembers have the ability to speak publicly both in meetings and to the press, regardless of what is on the agenda. No Councilmember is claiming any other Councilmember or staff member is doing anything wrong in the budget process.

Three new council members were just elected and the Council is acting in unison. If something was amiss, you would expect at least one council member to be saying so.

@Peter have you asked the Sheriff if he will even take on the Menlo Park Police Department and it’s costs onto his roll right now?


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 20, 2020 at 8:07 am

"@Peter have you asked the Sheriff if he will even take on the Menlo Park Police Department and it’s costs onto his roll right now?"

I have discussed this with the County and they are receptive to providing police services under contract with Menlo Park. But they certainly would not take on the current bloated cost of MP's PD. The whole point of outsourcing police services is to REDUCE the costs while improving the quality of police services.

Read the Grand Jury report - this is not rocket science:

FINDINGS
F1. The SO is providing the police services for which the cities of Half Moon Bay, Millbrae,
and San Carlos contracted within the cost perimeters of the contracts.
F2. Public response to the transition from individual police departments to the SO is positive.
F3. No increase in the number of police involved incidences has been reported by the cities
due to the transition of policing services to the SO and one city, Millbrae, reports a
decrease of 17 per cent in crime.
F4. The transition from individual police departments to the SO was incident free with
former city personnel generally pleased with the change.
F5. The police service contracts between the SO and each of the cities of Half Moon Bay,
Millbrae, and San Carlos serve as good models to other cities in the County which
operate their own police departments and which are facing budgetary restraints.
F6. The trust funds for each city comprised of unallocated funds should be disclosed in
financial reports and described in the policing service contracts."


3 people like this
Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 20, 2020 at 8:29 am

@Peter, can you provide the name, job title and phone number of the person at the County who told you the Sheriff’s office would take on the Menlo Park Police Department during this Pandemic and County budget shortfall, so the press and City can read it here and follow up on it?
Grand Juries are citizens who are empaneled - they don’t work for the Sheriff’s office.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 20, 2020 at 8:33 am

No, my conversations were as a private citizen and I do not intend to disclose my sources. I will state that those conversations were with very high ranking officials.


3 people like this
Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 20, 2020 at 8:39 am

@Peter, is there a high ranking official other than the Sheriff, who has the power to make the decision?

How much money did your source say needs to be cut
from the Menlo Park Police Department budget for the County to take the department and put it on their rolls during this County budget shortfall?


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 20, 2020 at 8:49 am

"How much money did your source say needs to be cut
from the Menlo Park Police Department budget for the County to take the department and put it on their rolls during this County budget shortfall?"

As noted on the Grand Jury report:

"The contracts provide for
police services at staffing levels determined by the individual city councils, which are
commensurate with the cities previous staffing levels. Additional services not set forth in the
base contract can be added by the cities to fit their needs by amending the contract. "

So MP has to decide what level of police services it desires before the County can give them a cost for such services.
Fr example, Woodside's contract has more services than does Portola Valley and hence Woodside pays more per capita than does Portola Valley.

And Woodside pays about HALF as much per capita as does Menlo Park for police services.

This is all analysis that should be being done by the MP staff as part of their budget reduction recommendations to the Council.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 20, 2020 at 9:39 am

Common Sense - you and I are both citizens with the same responsibilities as other citizens. Instead of just asking questions why don't you start sharing the load and show us why MP PD is more cost effective than outsourcing to the Sheriff.

What are the per capita cost of police services for each of the following jurisdictions:
Menlo Park
San Carlos
Woodside
Portola Valley


2 people like this
Posted by Can't go backwards!
a resident of another community
on May 21, 2020 at 10:13 am

MP has a huge budget deficit, is cutting a service for children dear to residents' hearts, and multiple citizens here and in other letters (like Lee Duboc's) are saying let's look the the biggest item we are overpaying, police, and outsource it to save millions and solve the budget issue, just like multiple other peninsula cities have done with great success.

Common Sense says "This is turning into a political hatchet job on town square for political purposes."

What's the political issue? Is there a big political divide over paying a lot less money to get the same thing? Do Democrats have a different belief on that than Republicans?

It's not a political issue. It's a special interests issue trying to influence government that is supposed to be "for the people". Carpenter has described those special interests.

Why doesn't Menlo Park survey its residents on the issue of police outsourcing, the money that would be saved, the results from San Carlos, Portola, Woodside, Millbrae and Half Moon Bay, and ask them what to do?