Town Square

Diamond's inaccuracies hurt city & its employees

Original post made by Phil Plymale, another community, on Oct 4, 2006

Diana Diamond's Sept. 20 column ("I want to become a Palo Alto city employee") is very inaccurate and unjust. She unfairly attacks the Palo Alto city workers' contract as being fiscally unsound. Web Link to Diamond's column.

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Posted by RWE
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 4, 2006 at 3:29 pm

Diana Diamond's and Phil Plymate's comments aside, I am constantly amazed at how an otherwise liberal community tolerates the constant put-downs and criticisms of government employees. [not: I aam not, nor am I related to in any way, any municipal government employee).

It seems there is constant chatter about how "good" civil employees have it - and how favorably their benefits compare with the private sector. We hear that public employee benefits shuold be brought down to the level of the private sector - with the latter, during the past two decades, doing everything it can to strip employees of pensions, benefits, wage increases, etc. etc. to the point where most of middle America is struggling to keep its head above water.

Why not promote an effort to use the excellence and robustness of public employee benefit packages - packages that actually entice good workers, and help maintain their presence on the job - and use those public benefit packages for the private sector to follow, as examples?

ALL workers should enjoy the benefits that our hard-working public employees get, I'm happy to contribute to their well-being. In fact, public employee benefits are better than my own. So what?

On another, related, note. If City Hall isn't doing its job, or is perceived as such by one citizen or another, might I suggest taking the argument to the _real_city bosses, our City Council, and stop bashing public employees who are good people, who come into work every day, and do their job.

I wonder how many will respond to this post by pointing out one situation or other where poor performance by a city worker has been documented, and then extend that one (or aq few) situations to the whole. Does this happen at HP? Is all of HP rotten because of the screw-ups of a few. Of course not. To suggest otherwise would be absurd.

So, naysayers about the quality of service that we receive, and how people shuold be compensated for it, please think hard before casting stones, and wishing that our public empoyees find themselves in the same sorry state as the majority of most Americans with health and retirement benefits. The latter suffer a situation that is a national disgrace.

If you want to argue for that, fine. Just keep in mind what you're arguing for.

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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 4, 2006 at 9:39 pm


Wish no more! If you want to be a Palo Alto city employee- march down to city hall, first floor, HR to the left and check the listings for jobs. I'm sure you are more than qualify for some postion within the city.

Talk is cheap and this "I wish I was a city employee" is getting old!

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Posted by Rebecca
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 7, 2006 at 7:52 am

I am Palo Alto City employee, a current Palo Alto resident and native Palo Altan. As a product of this community I have found it tiresome to have my and my collegues abilities, integrity and worth continually questioned by the media and by Diana Diamond in particular.

Thank you to Phil Plymale for his adept and accurate response to the Diana's latest column.

I care deeply about this community and am personally invested in doing my best to serve it well. From my 9 years working for the City of Palo Alto I can tell you that the vast majority of city workers I have come across are equally invested and committed to serving this community well.

I agree with RWE that ALL workers in the public and private sectors deserve good benefits and good pay. It's unfortuate and unfair that workers are losing this benefits left and right in the private sector. The middle class seems to be slowly disappearing and I am thankful that I have a job which supports me sufficently to allow me to live in my hometown.

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Posted by David Cohen
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 9, 2006 at 9:55 pm

It's not surprising to me to see Ms. Diamond so effectively challenged on the thoroughness and fairness of her reporting on this labor issue, considering similar tendencies in her editorials at her previous employer. I'm recall shortcomings in her writings about teachers in particular - not just differences of opinion, but flat-out misrepresentations.

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Posted by William
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 12, 2006 at 7:20 pm

It is a national disgrace that many American workers do not have the decent benefits our city workers do. We should be proud to live in a city that at least gives adequate health benefits to workers. If Miss Diamond would actually look at their take home pay, and see how far it would go towards a Palo Alto mortgage or rent in this area, I'm sure she would change her tune. The sad fact is, that because of high housing costs, cities in this area have difficulty attracting good workers. If Palo Alto were to lose some of our long-term and well-trained employees, it would be difficult to replace them and would cost time and money to train new workers, if they could be found! This would harm all citizens. Already, many, if not most, of our police officers and paramedics cannot afford to live in the city. In an emergency, such as a major earthquake, they will take a long time to get here if not already on duty. Paying them less or cutting their benefits will only make these problems worse.

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Posted by City employee
a resident of another community
on Oct 13, 2006 at 2:42 pm

I don't seem to understand why there is continued complaints about the salaries and benefits of City Employees. This is a community that City employees can't afford to live in. Many employees went a couple of years without a raise and reduction in benefits. Also a manditory furlough without pay was required.

Despite the complaints, I want to make sure that I am proud of the work that I do. I will continue to give my very best, and believe that I contribute to this community. The hours that I put in are never accounted for, because of budget cuts. Yet there are many of us that continue to make sure our programs are successful for the residents of Palo Alto.

If ever there was a way to make an employee not want to engage, it is to keep complaining that they are not allowed to earn as much as you do!