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Benest elicited respect, provoked aggravation

Original post made on Nov 27, 2007

As the news of Palo Alto City Manager Frank Benest's impending resignation swirled out of the Civic Center, community members and city leaders took time to reflect on Benest's rocky tenure -- and look to the future.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, November 27, 2007, 2:44 PM

Comments (17)

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Posted by Adam Atito
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 27, 2007 at 5:09 pm

thanks to Mr. Benest for your leadership and your hard work for Palo Alto, I wish you and your family all the best.

Adam


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Posted by Lindsay Joye
a resident of Ventura
on Nov 27, 2007 at 5:35 pm

Thank you Frank for your dedication and leadership. I've really enjoyed working for the City under your guidance, and I wish the best for you and your family.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 28, 2007 at 7:10 am

What is not to enjoy when absentee management lets you go your own way.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 28, 2007 at 9:05 am

Walter,

Why is Palo Alto in better financial shape than any of its neighbors? Why are our citizens mostly happy with our city management? One thing for sure, these last two facts aren't due to your whining, Give credit where it's due - to the man (and his staff) that made it happen - i.e. Frank Benest.


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Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 28, 2007 at 9:16 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 28, 2007 at 11:59 am

I sign my whine. A large part of our financial success was the kickback from our utilities, a boon tossed away because of goals other than cheap and reliable energy. Another is the failure to maintain infrastructure. Give thanks that we did not let the visionaries follow every hare-brained scheme they came up with.


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Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 28, 2007 at 12:07 pm

Frank knew how to work the system and the city council. He got everything he could from the city and now he is moving on [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

His legacy is not a pretty one--the Enron payout, crumbling infrastructure, Emily Harrison scandal, utilities scandal, city website fiasco. Of course this will stop the city council from showering him with praise between now and his departure date.


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Posted by Walter Mitty
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Nov 28, 2007 at 8:24 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 29, 2007 at 4:35 am

As an additional example of Frank's kluges, if the Hamilton pedestrian tunnel money had been used, instead, to replace the Chaucer bridge with a non-obstructing structure to eliminate flooding, if the recent wind power contract had not required us to pay even if the wind did not blow, if the city had explored cogeneration opportunities, we would have been better off.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 29, 2007 at 5:50 am

My last post should have read "Of course this will NOT stop the city council from showering him with praise between now and his departure date."

Editor--didn;t Frank have some kind of consulting business on the side? Wasn;t he always travelling and giving lectures? What was wrong with putting that in my last post?


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Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 29, 2007 at 7:15 am

Regarding the "Sympathy" issue and Frank. From Diana Diamond's blog:

"When his wife died a couple of years ago and then Benest subsequently came down with cancer, council members rightfully felt sorry for him.

That sympathy resulted in a new agreement with Benest that said the city would pay half his property taxes (on the $900,000 city portion of the $1.59 milllion house that Benest and the city jointly owned) and that Benest could remain in this house on Bryant Street until 2017, when his youngest would be off to college.

A very generous offer. Some in the community, including me, felt a bit too generous. And it means now that we have to get a new city manager, we may have to help the new manager buy another house in Palo Alto."


Clearly Frank knew how to play the "sympathy" card.


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Posted by Rich Holmer
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 29, 2007 at 9:29 am

I have known Frank Benest personally and professionally for over 25 years. He is one of the most creative and innovative professional City managers of this era. I believe it will be difficult, if near impossible, to find a successor of his caliber.
Rich Holmer, City Manager
City of Riverbank


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Posted by Good bye Frank
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2007 at 9:46 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Good bye Frank
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2007 at 10:21 am

Editors--that was quick. Is there a way to find out what you consider "inappropriate postings" since there seems to be no rhyme or reason behind some of your editing decisions

Rich--
Frank leaves behind quite the legacy (Homer Avenue tunnel debacle, the Enron payout, crumbling infrastructure, Emily Harrison scandal, utilities scandal, city website fiasco to just scratch the surface)
I am sure that we will be able to find a successor who does a much better job than Frank ever did and at a fraction of the cost.


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Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 29, 2007 at 1:42 pm

Here is another legacy of Frank's, trying to dodge public record laws by conducting all-oral (paperless) probes of harassment complaints:


Web Link


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Posted by Vernon Hazen
a resident of another community
on Nov 29, 2007 at 4:46 pm

I serve on Frank's Preparing the Next Generation committee. His leadership has led to several outstanding programs to help attract people to city administration. He is tops in his field.


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Posted by Logical
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2007 at 7:24 pm

Marvin,

You sure have that one right! OK, (Mayor apparent) Larry Klein, you rightfully called Frank on the carpet about this. Will you follow up as Mayor and get to the bottom of it? Not just Frank's role, but also the Attorney's office who backed this deliberate attempt to dodge public record law......


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