No bonus for Benest
Original post made by Diana Diamond on Aug 5, 2006
I am not at all surprised.
In the packet this weekend, the council recommends on paper that the four council-appointed officers Benest, City Counsel Frank Baum, City Auditor Sharon Erickson and City Clerk Donna Rogers receive no salary increase other than the same percentage the other managers in the city get, which is akin to a cost-of-living increase, about 3 percent, as I recall.
But the surprise here is the bonuses the council will give a $6,000 bonus to Erickson, $4,000 to Baum, $3,000 to Rogers, and absolutely nothing, as in zero, to Frank.
The council had problems with Frank this past year. Some members complained he was not on top of things as he should be, others pointed to the Utilities Department scandal.
But the meeting last Monday showed that there were other difficulties.
At his initiative, Benest presented to the council a list of ways to cut $1.3 million in costs and generate $5 million in revenues ($3 million for infrastructure and $2 million for retiree benefits). But the council was less than thrilled at his report.
Kleinberg complained his ideas were not creative enough, that the $2 million was insufficient, and that staff, meaning Benest, should be more innovative in generating ideas for increased economic development before resorting to more new taxes for residents.
Councilmember Bern Beecham agreed the list was insufficient. "Either we come up with additional ways of finding money, or we'll be cutting services in three or four years," he said, adding that he heard of a lot of these ideas months back. He had hoped for some fresh new ideas.
Benest was hazy, at best, on some of his proposals. He said he could cut $500,000 in staff services, but when asked what they would be, he said they hadn't been specified yet.
And he suggested the city could generate $450,000 a year by charging residents for non-emergency sidewalk repairs. Yet when that idea was presented earlier to the council's Finance Subcommittee, it was met with a lot of resistance, with Councilmember Dena Mossar saying she did not think the community would go for this.
So the council didn't go for many of Benest's ideas, either.
And the city manager, who has been here now for seven years, is going without a bonus this year.
on Aug 6, 2006 at 10:28 am
Diana Diamond is a registered user.
I forgot to mention that Benest got the council to agree that the four council-appointed officers would get automatic annual increases equal to the inflationary increase in the consumer price index. A few years ago he built the automatic increases into his contract and those of the three other council-appointed officers. So the council had to give him this increase this year.
on Aug 6, 2006 at 10:09 pm
Children, do you know what Emeritus means?
on Aug 7, 2006 at 9:40 am
It appears that the bonuses for the auditor and the city clerk are well deserved, but in light of recent events, the bonus for the city attorney should be reconsidered. It seems that our legal staff is quite willing to recommend contracts to the City Council without the proper "due diligence". Just as in the Enron case (although that was before the present city attorney) the legal staff recently recommended that the city sign a contract with Palo Alto High Partners that has incorrect dates and penalty clauses against the city that could potentially wipe out most of the contribution to the city's below market housing program. The legal staff is supposed to protect the city not just blindly accept the work of outside legal firms as they did here and in the Enron situation. It's time for the City Attorney to put a stop to such sloppy work.