Palo Alto's chief attorney, librarian set to depart

City to pass special resolutions tonight for City Attorney Gary Baum, Library Director Diane Jennings

Palo Alto officials will bid farewell to two department heads tonight when the City Council formally recognizes the services of City Attorney Gary Baum and Library Director Diane Jennings.

Baum, who joined the city in 2006, is stepping down at the end of this month to pursue a career in private practice.

The council plans to pass a resolution tonight thanking him for his "integrity honesty and professionalism," his "commitment to mentoring and supporting others" and his "compassion and dedication to service," which includes his pro bono work on behalf of victims of domestic violence.

The council plans to hold a closed session Tuesday night to discuss the recruitment process for Baum's replacement.

Jennings joined the city in 1986 and over the next two decades rose through the management ranks before becoming library director in 2006. Since then, she has helped shepherd Palo Alto's planned reconstruction of three city libraries, which culminated in the passage of Measure N in 2008.

The council's proclamation credits her for helping to "significantly upgrade the technology for resources and demonstrated tireless efforts to expand access to library resources" and commends her for working "diligently for the improvement, enhancement and renovation of all five Palo Alto libraries."

Earlier this month, the city announced that its library system has won the "America's Star Libraries" designation for the second straight year.

Jennings, a Palo Alto resident since 1986, plans to move to Santa Fe, N.M., after her retirement.

The City Council meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. or as soon as possible following a closed session on labor negotiation.

Gennady Sheyner

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Like this comment
Posted by Kirk
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 25, 2010 at 11:32 am

Seems like a run lately with lots of tenured city employees retiring. Wonder if it has anything to do with potential benefit changes that will effect retirement plans for city employees..

Like this comment
Posted by Jake
a resident of another community
on Oct 25, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Baum did not even work for the City for 5 years, I wouldnt classify that as tenured. I hope he's not getting retirement benefits from the CPA. No other employee else would in this same situation.
He should be credited with the growth and expansion of the City Attorneys Office. Another department which has seen growth through the years.

Like this comment
Posted by Fred
a resident of another community
on Oct 25, 2010 at 6:27 pm

"Here's your Proclamation. There's the door!"

Yet another City of Palo Alto Department head is shown the door. A 100% turnover in department directors and City Manager in just a few years. The revolving door at 250 Hamilton Avenue keeps revolving ...

Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Oct 25, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Diane Jennings is a loss, all the others, good riddance.

Jake, I've heard that after 5 years a City manager is "vested" and gets a PERS retirement and free healthcare for life. The article says Baum was hired in 2006, but I've heard it was 2004.

The next one to go will be HR director Carlsen, and like Baum with just enough years in, and just at the last minute to get free healthcare for life on the taxpayer's dime.

Fred, yes many have left. Most of them have seen the writing on the wall and have gotten out while they could. I wouldn't call it a purge though. Exceptions are Bennest and Baum, who Larry Klein forced out (Thank You Larry!) and Lynne Johnson who was a victim of the same political correctness that got her the job in the first place.

And now there is Glenn Roberts. Guess we will never know what went down there as he got a "hush-money" (golden parachute) settlement.

Yeah... lots of turn over in upper management, but has anything improved?

Like this comment
Posted by CHinCider
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 26, 2010 at 8:39 am

To "Outside Observer" -

You left one off your list: former ASD (budget/finance)Director Carl Yeats, who was perhaps the most cunning and well rewarded of them all. He, who personally came up with the 2.7% at age 55 scheme, sold it to Benest and the Council, received 2 bonuses totaling almost $50k in his final year, was smart enought to bail just before the City's budget went bust. All of the others are mere pikers compared to the spoils he walked away with! And - he's still being hired back by the City as a consultant, even under Jim Keene! Makes one wonder what he has on whom, eh?

As to Roberts, what is interesting is to read the "settlement agreement" See the link via the Mercury News article. It is filled with vague general statements about things that the City doesn't want to be sued about, but doesn't have a confidentiality/non disclosure clause. Makes one wonder if someone could get Roberts to talk?

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