News

Raises approved for top Palo Alto officials

City Council adjusts contracts of city manager, city attorney, city auditor and city clerk

With all of Palo Alto's labor groups engaged in negotiations over new contracts, the City Council swiftly approved raises this week for four top City Hall officials.

The council unanimously approved on Monday night salary increases for City Manager James Keene, City Attorney Molly Stump, City Auditor Harriet Richardson and City Clerk Beth Minor. The four positions are the only ones that get filled through direct appointments by the council.

Under the approved terms, Keene will get a 3.5 percent pay bump effective last July, raising his annual salary from $275.353 to $285,001. Stump will see a 4.75 percent increase, which raises her salary from $246,688 to $258,419. Richardson's salary will move from $167,600 to $173,368 -- a 3.5 percent increase. Minor's will go up by 1 percent, from $135,000 to $136,364.

According to a report from Keene's office, the changes are based on both merit and costs-of-living increases and take into account salaries for similar positions in other jurisdictions. The council also specified that no other salary increases will be applied to these four positions, which do not belong to any labor group, and which are not subject to the bonuses and salary adjustments that the city makes available to the employees in the broader Management and Professional group.

With the four amendments quickly approved on the council's "consent calendar," with no discussion or debate, the council will now shift its focus on the tougher task of reaching agreements with its major labor unions. On Monday, Feb. 8, the council is scheduled to spend at least two and a half hours in a closed session meeting to discuss the labor talks with the city's negotiators.

These include the city's contract talks with the largest union, the Service Employees International Union, Local 521, and with its two largest public-safety unions, the Palo Alto Police Officers Association and the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 1319.

The city is also now in the midst of negotiations with the Utilities Management and Professional Association of Palo Alto, the Palo Alto Police Managers' Association and the Palo Alto Fire Chiefs' Association.

Comments

52 people like this
Posted by Jean
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 6, 2016 at 4:28 pm

Raises for what????? Palo Alto has completely gone downhill with all the traffic and loss of mom and pop stores. Plus, what about the grocery store that is supposed to be at Edgewood Plaza, keeping the animal shelter instead of putting in a car dealership, wasting the groundwater during construction...Make city workers earn their pay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


40 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 6, 2016 at 6:10 pm

"According to a report from Keene's office, the changes are based on both merit and costs-of-living increases and take into account salaries for similar positions in other jurisdictions."

According to a report from MY office, I'm due a merit raise, too. And I'm sure you'll all agree that all of you are due for merit raises, too.

Come on, folks. How about giving raises for providing cost-effective services and not sore trying to beat out every other jurisdiction for paying to most money. Right now Keene's making more than the President of the US and the Governor of the State of California.

What "similar positions" in what "other jurisdictions" were considered comparable?


10 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 6, 2016 at 8:41 pm

[Post removed.]


31 people like this
Posted by Mike Alexander
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Feb 6, 2016 at 9:05 pm

The Dept of Labor says the consumer price index decreased in 2015, meaning no 2016 cost of living adjustment for 65 Social Security recipients -- no matter where they live. Good grief.


38 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 6, 2016 at 10:57 pm

Did the analysis include the help that the city provided to the City Manager in buying a house back in 2008, and the appreciation of that house? or the share of property taxes that the city pays? or the special retirement fund? I'd say the City Manager got more than a 3.5% increase.


8 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 7, 2016 at 1:06 pm

[Post removed.]


27 people like this
Posted by What residents think
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 7, 2016 at 1:39 pm

The City Manager requires that the Auditor be a cheerleader for the city.
She does that, and buries the negative ratings in so much meaningless analysis that they are hard to find.

Try to find what the residents think of our planning and zoning. And
Try to find whether the residents trust our city.
Web Link


24 people like this
Posted by Ben
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 7, 2016 at 4:00 pm

The actions of Keene, Stump, and city council with respect to the completely bungled response to the Buena Vista sale, will likely cost the tax payers of this city millions in legal fees and punitive damages. For this a generous raise is due? I think not.

No Confidence In City of Palo Alto Leadership.


Posted by Go for it
a resident of Adobe-Meadow

on Feb 7, 2016 at 6:46 pm


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24 people like this
Posted by Commentator
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 7, 2016 at 8:54 pm

"Did the analysis include the help that the city provided to the City Manager in buying a house back in 2008, and the appreciation of that house? or the share of property taxes that the city pays? or the special retirement fund? I'd say the City Manager got more than a 3.5% increase."

Not to mention the residence that the Council provided to former CM Frank Benest, and then allowed him to keep in his retirement. Nothing is too good for our city staff. Curmudgeon was right on in commending the Council for its obedience.


21 people like this
Posted by What residents think
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 7, 2016 at 11:35 pm

I think the Manager can make life miserable for anyone who doesn't pay up, after all he is the one who brings issues to the Council. How he brings up a matter often determines what they can do.
Last week he responded to some very reasonable suggestions with, Oh, that would take so much work. So that was that.


18 people like this
Posted by bilked resident
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 8, 2016 at 4:27 pm

"According to a report from Keene's office"
Gee, no conflict of interest there.


4 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 8, 2016 at 5:03 pm

"The City Manager requires that the Auditor be a cheerleader for the city."

The auditor reports directly to the council. The city manager can't touch her.


7 people like this
Posted by Watchdog
a resident of another community
on Feb 9, 2016 at 9:36 am

"The City Manager requires that the Auditor be a cheerleader for the city."

The auditor gets her direction from the council, not the city manager. The link you provided in your comment is to a report from two years ago when there was an acting city auditor. The executive summary in this year's citizen survey does point out areas where the city is not doing so well. Not the type of thing a "cheerleader" would point out. The auditor is doing her job.

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Real deal
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 12, 2016 at 7:36 pm

I think the City Mannager ant company earn every penny. They have to deal with the likes of all of you everyday and still come to work with a positive outlook. Shame on you! You have no clue how many hours they all work or the responsibility they all carry. This all sounds like just jealous talk. You think you can do better, apply for the job and let's see it hot shots. Easy to talk tuff and just hit enter on a keyboard !


Like this comment
Posted by Watching
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2016 at 12:30 pm

[Post removed.]


11 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 16, 2016 at 2:03 pm

As was reported elsewhere, the raises are retroactive as well as being so high that Palo Alto has 3 of the top 4 paid local positions in the state of California.

I still want to know what other jurisdictions are considered "comparable" since Mr. Keene makes more that the President of the United States of America and the Governor of the State of California.

So please tell us what's comparable.


2 people like this
Posted by Truman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2016 at 2:23 pm

"According to a report from Keene's office, the changes are based on both merit and costs-of-living increases."

MERIT???? I've never seen so few reports come out of the City Auditor's Office than with this City Auditor.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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