News

Too many managers? During negotiations, union alleges city is top-heavy

Failed negotiations lead to more staffing cuts but preserve SEIU's salary raises

Bill Burman, a library specialist at the Rinconada Library, sorts through books on Feb. 14, 2015. Despite a budget season that required the city to make $40 million in cuts, Palo Alto was unable to reach a deal with its largest union, Service Employees International Union, Local 521, on salary concessions. Embarcadero Media file photo by Veronica Weber.

Weeks before the Palo Alto City Council voted to slash $40 million from the city budget and eliminate more than 70 full-time positions, the city's largest labor union approached management with an offer that members claimed would save more than $3 million.

Service Employees International Union, Local 521, which represents more than half of the city's workforce, proposed foregoing the 3% raises that its members were entitled to receive on Dec. 1 under a three-year contract that expires on Dec. 31, 2021, according to Margaret Adkins, chair of the union's Palo Alto chapter. The union and the city had been negotiating since April and members thought the offer, as well as the union's willingness to accept furloughs in the coming year, would obviate the need for significant layoffs, Adkins said.

There was, however, one major catch. The union insisted that employees who are set to retire in the coming months be exempted from the freeze. Asking them to forego their raises would mean getting smaller pensions, Adkins told this news organization.

"If they left, they'd be making lifetime concessions," Adkins said. "We didn't think it was fair. Their pension would be affected forever."

That request proved to be a deal-breaker, according to the union and the city. Meghan Horrigan-Taylor, the city's chief communications officer, said the union proposal did not include a salary freeze. And because of their proposed exemptions, the SEIU offer "fell short of the $3 million gap we were working together to address," Horrigan-Taylor said.

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"In addition, SEIU included other operational challenges in their proposal that the city could not accept," Horrigan-Taylor added, without specifying what those challenges are.

The failure of management and union leaders to reach an agreement before the June 22 deadline will have repercussions both in the immediate future and beyond. In the current fiscal year, the lack of concessions means that the city was forced to cut more services and positions than it otherwise would have to meet the council's goal of trimming expenses by $40 million. This includes significant cuts to Children's Theatre programs, Palo Alto Art Center exhibits and park maintenance. It also means reducing hours at libraries and eliminating the city's shuttle program.

In the long term, it threatens to undermine what has been a relatively amicable relationship between the SEIU and the city. Over the past decade, the two sides have successfully negotiated numerous multiyear contracts that provided union members with salary increases in exchange for concessions on pensions and benefits. And in March, when the city began shutting down recreation services and community services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the council voted to keep paying all employees, even those who can no longer work because of the shutdown, until the end of the fiscal year. That provision expired on June 30.

That sense of solidarity has given way to an aura of mistrust. Chris Brickner, a substation electrician in the Utilities Department, said at the June 22 council meeting that when the union was approached by the city this spring with a request for concessions, he was more than willing to help other union members keep their jobs. In later meetings, the union learned that the city was planning to cut services even with the proposed concessions.

Brickner said at the June 22 meeting that the union returned multiple times with "generous concessions" that surpassed the $3 million mark, only to be told by the city that it was not enough.

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"It seems to me there is some other plan or agenda being pushed on all city employees," Brickner said at the June 22 meeting, just before the council approved the budget.

The city had more success with other labor groups. All the public safety unions agreed to delay their 3% raises for a year and were rewarded by the city with "attrition ramps" that effectively delay the position reductions. Because of their concessions, no sworn positions will be slashed until either this fall in the Police Department or at the end of the year in the Fire Department. This will give them some time to achieve cost reductions through retirements, rather than by laying off recently recruited employees (the city sweetened the pot for retirees by offering $30,000 payments to those opting for retirement).

The "management and professional" group, which represents more than 200 employees and which is the only group that is not in a union, had agreed to 13 furlough days in the coming year, about half of what it had agreed to earlier. Its new compensation agreement also specifies that there will be "no base salary increases or compensation adjustments tied to the performance appraisal process." These concessions from the management group are expected to save the city about $3 million, according to the Administrative Services Department.

Kiely Nose, the city's chief financial officer, noted that the city was planning to ask the management group for 26 unpaid furlough days. Absent a deal with the SEIU, which represents more than 550 positions, this was no longer a viable option, she told the council.

"Without any sort of agreement with our largest labor workforce, implementing something like that seemed impractical and infeasible," Nose said.

The failed negotiations process also exposed a rift between the SEIU and the management group. Adkins said the SEIU asked the city during the negotiation process to perform a "span of control" study, which evaluates the number of employees that report to managers. In some cases, Adkins told this news organization, there are managers who are supervising just one or two employees.

As an example of the city's top-heavy structure, Adkins pointed to the Library Department, where she said the city had hired a senior librarian in April before proceeding to let go of other librarians. Martha Walters, a business analyst in the Library Department, made a similar point at the June 22 meeting, where she described the staffing cuts in the department as "a bitter pill to swallow."

"What is more perplexing and spine-chilling is the fact that not one library manager who directly manages any rank-and-file (employees) is slated to be laid off," said Walters, a SEIU employee who serves as secretary of the Palo Alto chapter.

Adkins told this news organization that the union was hoping that the city's budget process would look at "restructuring" at City Hall.

"We knew it would hurt both sides, but it was needed to stabilize the budget for the long term," she said.

As the new fiscal year kicked in on July 1, Adkins said the union was trying to mitigate the budget pain by looking for new positions for employees whose jobs are being eliminated. She said she is still going through the process of seeing which employees can be bumped up to positions that had previously been left vacant, and which employees would have to be let go (last year, the SEIU had about 70 vacant positions, according to a staff report).

Some employees, she said, may have to "bump down" to lower positions to keep their employment. Most, however, will remain with the city in some capacity. Adkins said about seven workers will have to be let go.

City leaders have generally kept silent on the topic of union negotiations, limiting all discussions to closed sessions with no reportable actions. Unlike in 2010, when the city and the SEIU were fighting over pension reform in the midst of an economic downturn (which resulted in the elimination of 56 positions), none of the offers or counteroffers in the recent negotiation session were made public. Both the SEIU and the city have declined to release their respective offers, or any other documents to substantiate their claims, to this news organization.

Given the impasse, SEIU members will receive the 3% raises on Dec. 1 of this year, consistent with the terms of a contract that the council approved in April 2019. The contract expires on Dec. 31, 2021.

Because the city's agreement with SEIU is a "closed contract" that is legally binding on both sides, the city had little leverage to violate its terms without the cooperation of the union. As such, council members said very little during the marathon budget sessions about employee compensation (the city's only open contract is with the Utilities Managers and Professionals Association of Palo Alto, a group of utility workers whose contract expired on June 30). The only council member who publicly expressed frustration about the city's failure to negotiate concessions with the SEIU was Greg Tanaka, who frequently criticizes his colleagues and city staff for excessive spending.

"We're giving raises. It's just mind-boggling," Tanaka said at the June 22 meeting, just before the council adopted its budget.

At the same time, Tanaka echoed the SEIU's concerns about the number of managers at City Hall and similarly called for a span-of-control study. Tanaka estimated that about 20% of the city's employees are managers and argued that proportion is too high. He had also proposed on May 26 that the city move ahead with a "span of control" study but his colleagues did not accept the recommendation.

Tanaka noted at that meeting that the city is making "very deep cuts in this budget."

"It would behoove us to understand: Are there structural changes we can make to move some of the dollars we have on the management side to more of the people doing the work?" Tanaka said.

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Too many managers? During negotiations, union alleges city is top-heavy

Failed negotiations lead to more staffing cuts but preserve SEIU's salary raises

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 8:11 pm

Weeks before the Palo Alto City Council voted to slash $40 million from the city budget and eliminate more than 70 full-time positions, the city's largest labor union approached management with an offer that members claimed would save more than $3 million.

Service Employees International Union, Local 521, which represents more than half of the city's workforce, proposed foregoing the 3% raises that its members were entitled to receive on Dec. 1 under a three-year contract that expires on Dec. 31, 2021, according to Margaret Adkins, chair of the union's Palo Alto chapter. The union and the city had been negotiating since April and members thought the offer, as well as the union's willingness to accept furloughs in the coming year, would obviate the need for significant layoffs, Adkins said.

There was, however, one major catch. The union insisted that employees who are set to retire in the coming months be exempted from the freeze. Asking them to forego their raises would mean getting smaller pensions, Adkins told this news organization.

"If they left, they'd be making lifetime concessions," Adkins said. "We didn't think it was fair. Their pension would be affected forever."

That request proved to be a deal-breaker, according to the union and the city. Meghan Horrigan-Taylor, the city's chief communications officer, said the union proposal did not include a salary freeze. And because of their proposed exemptions, the SEIU offer "fell short of the $3 million gap we were working together to address," Horrigan-Taylor said.

"In addition, SEIU included other operational challenges in their proposal that the city could not accept," Horrigan-Taylor added, without specifying what those challenges are.

The failure of management and union leaders to reach an agreement before the June 22 deadline will have repercussions both in the immediate future and beyond. In the current fiscal year, the lack of concessions means that the city was forced to cut more services and positions than it otherwise would have to meet the council's goal of trimming expenses by $40 million. This includes significant cuts to Children's Theatre programs, Palo Alto Art Center exhibits and park maintenance. It also means reducing hours at libraries and eliminating the city's shuttle program.

In the long term, it threatens to undermine what has been a relatively amicable relationship between the SEIU and the city. Over the past decade, the two sides have successfully negotiated numerous multiyear contracts that provided union members with salary increases in exchange for concessions on pensions and benefits. And in March, when the city began shutting down recreation services and community services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the council voted to keep paying all employees, even those who can no longer work because of the shutdown, until the end of the fiscal year. That provision expired on June 30.

That sense of solidarity has given way to an aura of mistrust. Chris Brickner, a substation electrician in the Utilities Department, said at the June 22 council meeting that when the union was approached by the city this spring with a request for concessions, he was more than willing to help other union members keep their jobs. In later meetings, the union learned that the city was planning to cut services even with the proposed concessions.

Brickner said at the June 22 meeting that the union returned multiple times with "generous concessions" that surpassed the $3 million mark, only to be told by the city that it was not enough.

"It seems to me there is some other plan or agenda being pushed on all city employees," Brickner said at the June 22 meeting, just before the council approved the budget.

The city had more success with other labor groups. All the public safety unions agreed to delay their 3% raises for a year and were rewarded by the city with "attrition ramps" that effectively delay the position reductions. Because of their concessions, no sworn positions will be slashed until either this fall in the Police Department or at the end of the year in the Fire Department. This will give them some time to achieve cost reductions through retirements, rather than by laying off recently recruited employees (the city sweetened the pot for retirees by offering $30,000 payments to those opting for retirement).

The "management and professional" group, which represents more than 200 employees and which is the only group that is not in a union, had agreed to 13 furlough days in the coming year, about half of what it had agreed to earlier. Its new compensation agreement also specifies that there will be "no base salary increases or compensation adjustments tied to the performance appraisal process." These concessions from the management group are expected to save the city about $3 million, according to the Administrative Services Department.

Kiely Nose, the city's chief financial officer, noted that the city was planning to ask the management group for 26 unpaid furlough days. Absent a deal with the SEIU, which represents more than 550 positions, this was no longer a viable option, she told the council.

"Without any sort of agreement with our largest labor workforce, implementing something like that seemed impractical and infeasible," Nose said.

The failed negotiations process also exposed a rift between the SEIU and the management group. Adkins said the SEIU asked the city during the negotiation process to perform a "span of control" study, which evaluates the number of employees that report to managers. In some cases, Adkins told this news organization, there are managers who are supervising just one or two employees.

As an example of the city's top-heavy structure, Adkins pointed to the Library Department, where she said the city had hired a senior librarian in April before proceeding to let go of other librarians. Martha Walters, a business analyst in the Library Department, made a similar point at the June 22 meeting, where she described the staffing cuts in the department as "a bitter pill to swallow."

"What is more perplexing and spine-chilling is the fact that not one library manager who directly manages any rank-and-file (employees) is slated to be laid off," said Walters, a SEIU employee who serves as secretary of the Palo Alto chapter.

Adkins told this news organization that the union was hoping that the city's budget process would look at "restructuring" at City Hall.

"We knew it would hurt both sides, but it was needed to stabilize the budget for the long term," she said.

As the new fiscal year kicked in on July 1, Adkins said the union was trying to mitigate the budget pain by looking for new positions for employees whose jobs are being eliminated. She said she is still going through the process of seeing which employees can be bumped up to positions that had previously been left vacant, and which employees would have to be let go (last year, the SEIU had about 70 vacant positions, according to a staff report).

Some employees, she said, may have to "bump down" to lower positions to keep their employment. Most, however, will remain with the city in some capacity. Adkins said about seven workers will have to be let go.

City leaders have generally kept silent on the topic of union negotiations, limiting all discussions to closed sessions with no reportable actions. Unlike in 2010, when the city and the SEIU were fighting over pension reform in the midst of an economic downturn (which resulted in the elimination of 56 positions), none of the offers or counteroffers in the recent negotiation session were made public. Both the SEIU and the city have declined to release their respective offers, or any other documents to substantiate their claims, to this news organization.

Given the impasse, SEIU members will receive the 3% raises on Dec. 1 of this year, consistent with the terms of a contract that the council approved in April 2019. The contract expires on Dec. 31, 2021.

Because the city's agreement with SEIU is a "closed contract" that is legally binding on both sides, the city had little leverage to violate its terms without the cooperation of the union. As such, council members said very little during the marathon budget sessions about employee compensation (the city's only open contract is with the Utilities Managers and Professionals Association of Palo Alto, a group of utility workers whose contract expired on June 30). The only council member who publicly expressed frustration about the city's failure to negotiate concessions with the SEIU was Greg Tanaka, who frequently criticizes his colleagues and city staff for excessive spending.

"We're giving raises. It's just mind-boggling," Tanaka said at the June 22 meeting, just before the council adopted its budget.

At the same time, Tanaka echoed the SEIU's concerns about the number of managers at City Hall and similarly called for a span-of-control study. Tanaka estimated that about 20% of the city's employees are managers and argued that proportion is too high. He had also proposed on May 26 that the city move ahead with a "span of control" study but his colleagues did not accept the recommendation.

Tanaka noted at that meeting that the city is making "very deep cuts in this budget."

"It would behoove us to understand: Are there structural changes we can make to move some of the dollars we have on the management side to more of the people doing the work?" Tanaka said.

Comments

Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2020 at 9:43 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2020 at 9:43 am
25 people like this

>> At the same time, Tanaka echoed the SEIU's concerns about the number of managers at City Hall and similarly called for a span-of-control study.

Kudos to Tanaka for raising this issue. It may not be news, but, it sure is great to be a management-level employee for the City of Palo Alto.


Most Ineffective
College Terrace
on Jul 16, 2020 at 11:14 am
Most Ineffective, College Terrace
on Jul 16, 2020 at 11:14 am
17 people like this

Tanaka is the most ineffective member of the council - unable to convince anyone of his viewpoints. We need serious, collobroative council members who can get votes to actually accomplish things. I don't think Tanaka initated and passed anything in four years.


Sally
Downtown North
on Jul 16, 2020 at 11:30 am
Sally, Downtown North
on Jul 16, 2020 at 11:30 am
23 people like this

Tanaka is the lone voice of reason. He's the only one willing to ask the hard questions, or do anything but kow-tow to City Hall.

I watch nearly all the meetings... at first I though he was a "hawk" on budget. The truth is Tanaka is willing to spend money when it makes sense, but will actually ask what things cost along the way. Imagine that... asking what things cost and if it's reasonable... in government!

Let's get him at least 2 allies over the coming years.


Don't do anything extra
Downtown North
on Jul 16, 2020 at 11:32 am
Don't do anything extra, Downtown North
on Jul 16, 2020 at 11:32 am
29 people like this

Actually, what we need is less unionized public employees working at the City of Palo Alto. the City has a very high ratio of employees to Palo Alto residents. Feeding at the trough anyone? Time for some labor cost cuts. Thanks to Covid the City has less revenue --- which means the City can't expend as much. Time to cut the largest segment of City expenditures - which are the salaries, benefits, of the 1100 City employees. Unless you're in an alternate universe like the SEIU, of the other members of the City Council besides Greg Tanaka.

The City of Palo Alto has $455 million in unfunded pension liabilities for its unionized public employees --- that was before Covid 19 --- which translates to at least a $39k in debt overhang for Palo Alto households ---

Thank you Greg Tanaka for raising the issue that the City should not be considering raises at this time and should be considering how to cut labor costs - the largest component of City expenditures.


Longtime PA resident
South of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2020 at 12:21 pm
Longtime PA resident, South of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2020 at 12:21 pm
14 people like this

Another area of concern is this ridiculous every-other-Friday-off policy for all city employees.
I would like to see data if city staff is actually making up for 26 default-off days per years,
by putting in 8 extra hours on regular working days. I would be surprised if that's the case.
Now, with COVID-19, why couldn't staff be asked to work from home on these Fridays, just like everyone else who is employed? There is no good reason to have such a policy....it boggles the mind how such a perk can be justified in the face of tight budgets everywhere...


Jumbled
Downtown North
on Jul 16, 2020 at 12:21 pm
Jumbled, Downtown North
on Jul 16, 2020 at 12:21 pm
12 people like this

I watched many of the council budget meetings that took place in the last 2 months. Tanaka appears confused and overlapped most of the time. What has he ever voted Yes on? When he brought up the number of managers in one of the meetings and was told that not all managers ‘ manage’ people, I was surprised as well. So I went and did some digging around. The unit is called -Management and other Professionals. Which makes sense. This group has engineers, project managers etc which don’t need you to manage people. But these are folks with professional degrees. I was disappointed that Tanaka could do his homework and keep harping on the same thing ( span of control) in each meeting. He of all the people should understand that you cannot classify these professionals into SEIU. I think it was more of a political posturing than a genuine desire to actually understand the issue.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2020 at 12:23 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2020 at 12:23 pm
12 people like this

We should be considering outsourcing more services to prevent costs spiraling. We should be concentrating on services that residents depend on, infrastructure, not managers whose work is duplicated and could easily be done by one overseer.

We should not be changing things if it takes time and money or considering anything that is going to cost money.

If my household finances were run the way the City finances were run, my family would be in a bad way. If there is less money available then we have to prioritize and some things will have to go if they are down the list. This is the opposite way the city is proposing to do things. We are the ones who live here and we are the ones who suffer when something we depend on is cut. We won't suffer when the number of managers go. We will suffer when our services are cut.


No hawk
College Terrace
on Jul 16, 2020 at 12:27 pm
No hawk, College Terrace
on Jul 16, 2020 at 12:27 pm
7 people like this

Quoting user Sally
“ I watch nearly all the meetings... at first I though he was a "hawk" on budget”.

I don’t think Tanaka is a hawk. The easiest thing to do is to vote NO without going into merits of the problem. And that’s exactly what his voting record shows. If anything, he is one confused council member.


NoKowTowing
Community Center
on Jul 16, 2020 at 1:01 pm
NoKowTowing, Community Center
on Jul 16, 2020 at 1:01 pm
19 people like this

It is SO disappointing that the other 6 Council Members almost ALWAYS go along with City Staff. At least Greg has the audacity to inquire about how OUR money is spent. He ASKED for the exact span of control when citing that >20% of employees were categorized as "Management and Professional" but receives a condescending, double speak answer from Ed Shikada who obviously wants to protect his fifedom. And Ed gets away with it because the other 6 council members want to preserve their relationship with Ed so he will help them with their different agendas (e.g., unfortunately often times too much development and favors paid back to big business given campaign contributions).

I hope future candidates will challenge City Staff as Greg has been doing.


Don't do anything extra
Downtown North
on Jul 16, 2020 at 1:10 pm
Don't do anything extra, Downtown North
on Jul 16, 2020 at 1:10 pm
19 people like this

Thank goodness we have Greg Tanaka asking questions like questioning like why so many City 'managers' are needed, and why unionized public employees should still be getting a raise when the City suffers huge revenue cuts, and why so many consultants are hired to do the jobs that the City employees are hired to do.

On that topic, why do we need to pay City employees just to hire consultants? The City can just hire the consultant directly and save the paycheck and all the overgenerous benefits and unfunded pension liabilities. Why not just pay the consultant, since they are hired for their expertise, which apparently the City employees cannot supply.


Robbie
Barron Park
on Jul 16, 2020 at 1:38 pm
Robbie, Barron Park
on Jul 16, 2020 at 1:38 pm
11 people like this

I grewn up in PA and worked for PA for 10 years. Within the last year I moved on from PA. The amount of $$$. Some of these manager make is disgusting. Mostly seating around answering emailing and pretending to be somebody. (Dont forget the tree cutting on Cal ave. Or the traffic reducing round abouts). Lots of money for over planning and contrators. Only too lose more money to fix the problem that was created by these high paided managers.
The reason PA parks, facility's, and services are so great is due to the men ( seiu labor union) and women doing the work. Support these people trying to eak out a decent living. We have enough people in our WH trying to eliminate unions soo they can line there pockets.


S_mom
Community Center
on Jul 16, 2020 at 2:34 pm
S_mom, Community Center
on Jul 16, 2020 at 2:34 pm
13 people like this

I've liked what I've seen of Tanaka too. Most of the rest seem too buddy-buddy cozy with city management, and therefore unwilling to ask hard (but important questions).


Me 2
Old Palo Alto
on Jul 16, 2020 at 5:25 pm
Me 2, Old Palo Alto
on Jul 16, 2020 at 5:25 pm
5 people like this

"If anything, he is one confused council member."

Or pragmatic, not driven by simplistic dogma.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2020 at 7:41 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2020 at 7:41 pm
2 people like this

The City can't impose wage freezes on unions. The SEIU is allowed to choose raises over fewer layoffs, and they did. The City legally must go along. Everybody knows that, including Tanaka.


Kathy
Greater Miranda
on Jul 16, 2020 at 10:54 pm
Kathy, Greater Miranda
on Jul 16, 2020 at 10:54 pm
9 people like this

The less SEIU the better.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2020 at 9:26 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2020 at 9:26 am
8 people like this

Articles like this paint a rosier picture than is the case. Quotes regarding layoff numbers often don't include part-time employees who are being cut/hurt the most. Basically, the bottom below the bottom.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2020 at 1:03 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2020 at 1:03 pm
4 people like this

Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> Articles like this paint a rosier picture than is the case. Quotes regarding layoff numbers often don't include part-time employees who are being cut/hurt the most. Basically, the bottom below the bottom.

A different Anon from me, Anon, but, I agree. For example, they outsourced the part-time swimming pool lifeguards, and got rid of what looked like a large-ish number of people, but, taking a bunch of people making < $6K/year with no benefits off the payroll doesn't do anything real for the budget.

What I still don't understand is why they want to initiate construction on the new Public Safety building when the revenue stream identified for that has dried up. Why not defer it a year or two until the revenue stabilizes?

I would also like to know if PAPD has anything to do with "NAPO" directly, or indirectly. NAPO, the National Association of Police Organizations, has just made a partisan endorsement for President. Web Link Better not be any of our tax dollars flowing directly or indirectly to NAPO.


Disappointed
Barron Park
on Jul 17, 2020 at 2:04 pm
Disappointed, Barron Park
on Jul 17, 2020 at 2:04 pm
3 people like this

“Tanaka estimated that about 20% of the city's employees are managers and argued that proportion is too high.”

Tanaka is not a management consultant for city governments. He was told repeatedly by the City Manager in public that a “Manager” title is frequently used for people who have ZERO people to manage such as a Project Manager. Even if he knew how many managed others, he has no expertise in best practices on city staffing by department.

"We're giving raises. It's just mind-boggling," Tanaka said at the June
22 meeting, just before the council adopted its budget.

The reporting is correct. The city cannot force a revocation of the union contract that was signed in 2019 including that raise. He was grandstanding for the camera minutes before the final vote on an issue that council could not change.

Tanaka intentionally ignores or twists facts that interfere with his political goal of looking like a hero on any financial item. He is being dishonest with citizens.




Do a span of control study
Community Center
on Jul 17, 2020 at 2:20 pm
Do a span of control study, Community Center
on Jul 17, 2020 at 2:20 pm
13 people like this

I watched this part of the meeting. Tanaka was pushing for a study of the management span of control, same as SEIU. I think is right thing to do.

I never heard him say the city had unilateral control of the raises nor does the article say that above either. I don’t understand the accusation of twisting facts? There was no grandstanding, just the intent to look out for the public interest. Where is all this anger coming from?


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2020 at 4:46 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2020 at 4:46 pm
5 people like this

@Disappointed:

Here is the Transparent California website, now updated with 2019 salary data.

Web Link

Now, I have to say that, "on the face of it", CPA is "top heavy". See for yourself. Tanaka, SEIU, and I have one thing in common: we are agreed that the City should take a look at the management structure, span of control, and salaries for managers.

And, since I looked at it again, I was hit in the face again, by the surprising salaries of some public safety personnel who make more than the chiefs, their bosses, and make huge amounts more than their base salaries. I've commented on this previoiusly, and, no one has ever provided a credible justification for why, for example, a "Battalion Chief" makes 68% more in pay than their base pay, and, is third in salary after the city manager and city attorney.


Political time
Fairmeadow
on Jul 17, 2020 at 8:08 pm
Political time, Fairmeadow
on Jul 17, 2020 at 8:08 pm
11 people like this

Tanaka is getting attacked because he is asking the hard uncomfortable questions of city management and they don’t like it. I suspect a lot of the comments are from managers in the city and candidates for city council. It is election time. Expect more negative campaigning.


Carol
another community
on Jul 18, 2020 at 10:07 am
Carol, another community
on Jul 18, 2020 at 10:07 am
5 people like this

I am retired from government. The best run government management I experienced was working under FULLY retired military supervisors back in the days when so called “double dipping” was allowed. As we are already paying for their medical expenses it cuts our expenses in my view to make further use of their polished expertise.
What impressed me the most with these folks is they supervised at our side (at the crack of dawn), not in back offices, were excellent in day to day training of staff, & kept a sharp eye on the floor without exception.

I know I would not be reading here of so many concerns if FULLY retired military personnel were running the show. You have to pay for good government management, but more importantly know where to find it.


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