Town Square

Post a New Topic

Palo Alto's painful dilemma

Original post made on Mar 22, 2013

In 2009, Palo Alto's elected leaders and top management responded to the financial walloping of the Great Recession by embarking on a path toward benefit reform.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 22, 2013, 12:00 AM

Comments (2)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by balancing the books
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 22, 2013 at 9:21 am

" the city's spending on employee benefits jumped by 8 percent between 2011 and 2012, canceling out the city's 3 percent decrease in salary expenditures and leaving the overall spending on employee compensation mostly flat."
Shouldn't this be the objective? As benefit costs increase, the number of employees must decrease to compensate.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve Taffee
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Thank you for your in-depth article about the tension between the City of Palo Alto and its employees represented by labor unions. The story of Palo Alto is being echoed throughout the country.

While I believe your intention was to present a balanced appraisal of this tension, I find that your words and indeed the words of most reporting on this issue to be biased.

To represent attempts by either side in a negotiation as "reform" suggests that proposed changes are meant to improve a situation, a judgment that may reflect the opinion of one party but not the other. Let us remember that in all of the negotiated benefits packages so roundly being criticized of late, that these contracts were agreed to by both our elected representatives and the representatives of employees.

The rising cost of healthcare and the economic recession were not the result of labor unions. The consensus of opinion is that these conditions are the results of political and financial mismanagement and chicanery, and the the responsible parties have in large measure not only gone unpunished, but in fact have benefited from the subsequent government bailouts and financial instability.

My point is that both the City and its employees are both victims and participants in the current situation and that "reform" is the incorrect word to apply to what should be done to address the problem. We were all sold a bill of goods by Wall Street, and many of use happily bought it. Caveat emptor. And yet let us focus on the larger, system issues of "reform" that focus on culprits, not victims, and instead use words such as "solidarity" to express how management and employees move forward together to address mutual financial interests and work to bring accountability to the system that did not work for them but rather against them.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Best High Dives to Watch the Game
By Laura Stec | 14 comments | 2,535 views

Flirtation
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,411 views

King of the Slides
By Cheryl Bac | 2 comments | 1,097 views

The Future of our Parks: Public Workshops this Week
By Cathy Kirkman | 0 comments | 540 views

NO MEAT ATHLETE Workout/Running Group
By Max Greenberg | 2 comments | 414 views