George Rodericks

City Manager's Blog

The City Manager's Blog is an online educational tool to provide general information to the community in open communication style. Periodically, the City Manager will post articles of general interest covering topics such as the Town's budget, budget process, capital projects, upcoming meetings, community issues, public safety, and general Town operations.

Articles in the blog are not designed as press releases or Town publications, rather, they are written in more of a conversational style. The Blog does not have a comments feature but readers are free to respond to the Blog and its entries view email directly to the City Manager.

Jun 21

That's A Wrap! - June 20, 2018

Posted on June 21, 2018 at 8:46 AM by grodericks grodericks

Thats A Wrap Logo

Council Meeting Date: June 20, 2018
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/user/TownOfAtherton/featured

Details of each item can be found via the links to Staff Reports within the narrative. 


The City Council met for the May Regular Council meeting on Wednesday, June 20 beginning at 7 pm. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, the Council moved to Public Comment.

Report.jpegFollowing Public Comment, the Council moved to the City Manager's Report. The City Manager's Report is prepared monthly as part of the City Council's Regular Agenda. In addition to current reports from the City Manager, it includes departmental updates on the various happenings around Town such as reports from Administration, Community Services, Planning, Police, and Public Works. 

After the City Manager's Report, the Council moved to the Consent Agenda consisting of Items 8 through 14. Items on the Consent Agenda are considered routine in nature and are generally considered in one motion and adopted by a single vote of the Council. Included in this month's Consent Agenda were minutes, bills, rejection of claims, 2nd reading and adoption of refuse rates related to green waste, authorization to purchase police vehicles, and appointments to various town committees. Following the opportunity for comment, the Council approved the Consent Agenda. 

Next was the Regular Agenda and Item No. 15 - Receipt of the Civic Center Bids and Taking Action on Next Steps with Respect to the Bids. Following a staff report and presentation by Mack5, the Council took public comment and then began discussion of the item. The Council discussed issues related to timing, budget, bid overages, reliability of estimates now and in the future, the need for peer review of the estimates, dividing the project into phases, scope reductions, add alternates, and environmental building components. Following discussion, the Council voted to reject all bids and directed staff to work with the architect on a scope of work to reduce the scope of the project as well as identify value engineering opportunities. The Council directed that staff return the issue to the Council for feedback as often as possible and that staff work to reduce the cost and scope of the project to fit within the Town's budget expectations based on the current market price schema. The Council suggested cost reductions in the neighborhood of $6 to $8 million for the Library and $8 to $10 million for the Administration/Police Building; further, the Council directed that the item be prepared for rebid by December 2018. It was also noted that the Council would have the opportunity when reviewing the proposed scope of work from the architect to consider splitting the project into distinct bid packages to allow phasing of the project upon rebid; and, that staff should consider a "peer review" process for bid estimates. 

Next, was Item No. 16, Adoption of the FY 2018/19 Budget. Following a staff report, the Council took public comment and briefly discussed issues related to any material changes to the budget since its prior review. Following final comment, the Council adopted the FY 2018/19 Budget and read the salary adjustments for the City Manager into the record as required by law.

Next up was Item No. 17, Approval of a 3-year Contract Extension, with a 2-Year Option with MCE Corporation for Public Works Maintenance Services. The Council heard a brief staff report, took public comment, and discussed issues related to the level of Park services and the level of landscape expertise. Following discussion, the Council adopted the 3-Year Contract Extension with the 2-Year Option.

The last item on the Agenda was Item No. 18 -  Consideration of forming an Underground Utility District within the Civic Center. Staff presented the staff report with updated information regarding PG&E work. Following questions and the opportunity for public comment, the Council opted not to form a District at this time. The Council asked that staff connect with residents in the community that might be interested in the formation of undergrounding districts and work with them on the process, if desired. 

Following Council Reports and Final Public Comments, having cleared the entire Agenda, at approximately 9:18 pm, that as they say - was a wrap!

The Council will hold its next meeting on July 18 at 4 pm for a Study Session and 7 pm for the Regular Meeting. Major items on that Agenda include:
  • Discussion of the Refuse Franchise Agreement
  • Discussion of Fire Services Fiscal Review Task 4
  • Discussion and Direction on Disposition of the Diana Statue
  • Convene as the Atherton Channel District to Discuss the District
  • Consideration of Amendments to the Library JPA
  • Consideration of Issues Related to the Civic Center Project
  • Introduction of the Town's False Alarm Ordinance
  • Introduction of a Development Agreement Ordinance
  • Authorization for Tetra Tech to Investigate Alternative Sites for a Water Detention Facility

George_2.jpgThanks for reading!

George Rodericks
City Manager

Town of Atherton
grodericks@ci.atherton.ca.us




#AthertonTalks
#AthertonCivicCenter

May 17

That's A Wrap! - May 16, 2018

Posted on May 17, 2018 at 8:52 AM by grodericks grodericks

Thats A Wrap Logo

Council Meeting Date: May 16, 2018
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/user/TownOfAtherton/featured

Details of each item can be found via the links to Staff Reports within the narrative. 


The City Council met for the May Regular Council meeting on Wednesday, May 16 beginning at 7 pm. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, the Council moved to Public Comment.

Report.jpegFollowing Public Comment, the Council moved to the City Manager's Report. The City Manager's Report is prepared monthly as part of the City Council's Regular Agenda. In addition to current reports from the City Manager, it includes departmental updates on the various happenings around Town such as reports from Administration, Community Services, Planning, Police, and Public Works. 

After the City Manager's Report, the Council moved to the Consent Agenda consisting of Items 8 through 13. Items on the Consent Agenda are considered routine in nature and are generally considered in one motion and adopted by a single vote of the Council. Included in this month's Consent Agenda were minutes, bills, acceptance of work for temporary library facilities, and resolutions calling the November 6 2018 General Election. Following comments on the temporary library facilities, the Council approved the Consent Agenda. 

Next was Item No. 14 - a Public Hearing - Recommended Increase to Green Waste Rates. Following a brief staff report the Council conducted the Public Hearing and took public comment. Following discussion around the true cost of green carts, the numbers of green carts, the work of the Solid Waste Subcommittee, and the impact of future franchise negotiations and tipping fee increases, the Council voted to introduce the Ordinance to Increase Green Waste Rates. 

Next, was the Regular Agenda beginning with Item No. 15, an Update and Direction on Next Steps for the Atherton Water Capture Facility Project. Following a staff report and presentation, the Council took public comment. Following public comment, the Council discussed issues related to seismic safety, scalability of the project, PCB and Mercury sources and levels, benefits of the project in Atherton, funds from Caltrans, appropriateness of the facility in the Park, and alternative locations. Following discussion, the Council advised that they are not ready to accept the 20% design solution for the Park and generally see the Park option for a project of this type as an option of last resort. Council directed staff to continue to evaluate other options and locations and return to the Council for review and vetting of those options. 

Item No. 16, Fee Waiver Request - Encinal Elementary School 5th Grade Picnic was up next. Here, the Council heard the brief staff report, took public comment, and set the fee for the event at $500. 

Next up was Item No. 17, Approval for Funds - San Mateo County Buyback Request - up to $5,000. The Council heard the brief staff report, took public comment, and, finding that the event had already occurred and that there were surplus funds still available based on already provided donations, the Council tabled the issues. 

Item No. 18 - Discussion on Amendments to the Atherton Heritage Tree Ordinance was next. The Council heard the staff report and presentation and asked follow-up questions regarding definitions of trees and process. Following the presentation, the Council took public comment. After public comment, the Council discussed issues related to defining how to measure multi-trunk trees; application of the tree protection zone before, during, and after a construction project; the addition of redwood trees within the buildable area, reporting requirements for projects, analysis of the impact on smaller lots, staff discretion in the process, how flag lots are addressed; the addition of eucalyptus trees; complexity of the process and its impact on homeowners; strengthening penalties for violations; ability of staff to enforce the requirements and the need for assistance to do so; and the complexity and legitimacy of the restrictions within the tree protection zone. Following discussion, the Council asked that staff return with changes based on Council feedback at a future meeting.  

Next was Item No. 19 - Approval of a Resolution Governing Town Committees. Council heard the staff report and reviewed the changes in the Resolution and Rail Policy Issues Exhibit. Following public comment, the Council discussed the changes and suggested changes to the Audit/Finance Committee terms and charter; discussed the process for setting items to a committee agenda; and briefly discussed changes to the Rail Issues Exhibit. Following discussion, the Council adopted the Resolution and formally extended the terms of members of Audit/Finance Committee to 4 years, applicable to current members. 

Item No. 20 was next - Discussion of Temporary Housing Options for Public Safety Personnel; and, if appropriate, authorize the City Manager to engage a design professional. The Council heard a brief staff report and took public comment. Following public comment, the Council discussed the potential for use/need; appropriateness of using the Main House at the Park for the purpose; the need of the Town to provide the benefit; other options and solutions that might be available and the need for sprinklers in the Main House. Following discussion, the Council directed staff to investigate other options before proceeding with any further vetting of the Main House for this use and separately investigate the cost of retrofitting the Main House with fire sprinklers. 

The last item on the Agenda was Item No. 21 - Ordinance of the Council Authorizing an Amendment to the CalPERS Contract. The Council heard a brief staff report noting that this item is a redo of the April meeting item where the Council approved it as a Consent Agenda Item. It is being returned to the Council as CalPERS requires its presence on the Regular Agenda as opposed to the Consent Agenda. Following public comment, the Council adopted the item. 

Following Council Reports and Final Public Comments, having cleared the entire Agenda, at approximately 11:25 pm, that as they say - was a wrap!

The Council will hold its next Regular meeting on June 6 at 4 pm. Major items on that Agenda include:
  • FY 2018/19 Budget Presentation - All Funds Review
  • Report on the Park Survey and Fence Encroachments - Discussion of Next Steps
  • Civic Center Project - Award of Bid/Move to Construction Phase (Tentative Action Item)

George_2.jpgThanks for reading!

George Rodericks
City Manager

Town of Atherton
grodericks@ci.atherton.ca.us




#AthertonTalks
#AthertonCivicCenter

Mar 13

January - February 2018 City Manager's Monthly Report

Posted on March 13, 2018 at 10:20 AM by grodericks grodericks

City Manager's Monthly Report - January - February

Monthly-report.pngThe City Manager's Monthly Report Blog is a consolidation of issues, communications, and Town activity during the prior month that have been reported to the City Council as part of their weekly email from the City Manager. It is retrospective. Sometimes information is duplicated over the course of several emails to the City Council to ensure that it is reviewed

As I review the information to include in the Monthly Report, to the extent possible, I remove duplicate updates (older emails get shorter - sometimes a lot shorter) in favor of the most recent - although some will be duplicative if there is other relevant information included. 

The Report reads with the most recent first. As always, if you have any questions or comments regarding the Monthly Report, please feel free to contact me directly via email or phone.

My weekly email to the City Council typically goes out every Friday. There are no reports during the month of August. 

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Regards,

George Rodericks
City Manager
Town of Atherton
(650) 752-0504
grodericks@ci.atherton.ca.us
#AthertonTalks


February 23, 2018 Weekly Council Notes

1. Middlefield Road Bicycle Lanes - 2nd Community Outreach Meeting

Reminder: As part of our ongoing efforts of outreach on this project, the preliminary layout for the bicycle improvements along Middlefield between Jennings Lane and Ringwood Avenue is set for March 1 @ 6 pm in the Council Chambers. 65% Plan Sets have been placed in your mailboxes at City Hall. 

2. Police Chief - City Manager Workshop

The Chief and I will be in San Luis Obispo beginning Wednesday night, February 28 through Friday March 2 to attend a Police Chief/City Manager Workshop.

3. Park Miscellaneous Improvement Projects

Staff is working through the necessary designs for the restroom improvements in the Pavilion. Design is largely driven by ADA requirements. Staff is also working with the design team on improvements to the tennis shelter and the hammer-head parking at the end of the Pavilion parking lot area. A curb will be added to ensure that we no longer have the ad-hoc surface parking issue during large events. 

4. Operation Eagle Visit

As the Council is aware, the Town is participating in the Adopt a Unit Program and is part of the adoption of the 101st Airborne Division. The cities of Atherton, Belmont, Burlingame, Foster City, Hillsborough, Millbrae, San Carlos and San Brune are collaborating to welcome 50 troops and veterans to numerous events on the peninsula March 23-25. 

The PD is meeting with the Circus Club to finalize plans to welcome the Atherton contingent (4-5 individuals) for lunch on Friday, March 23. An invitation will go out to the Council. The Mayor will be asked to speak. More details to come. Any suggestions you have for activities or attendance would be appreciated. Connect with Theresa. 

5. Half Moon Bay Library Tour

On Friday, March 16 at 2 pm there is an open tour of the Half Moon Bay Library. Contact Karina Labrenz (labrenz@smcl.org) if you are interested in attending. Here is a video link of the building: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxjMKryytuQ

6. Clay Court

Work on the clay court is pretty much complete. They are working out the kinks this week and next. They are also working on figuring out seating. A photo is attached, but please take a look at it in the field. 

7. PD Praise from Paul

Below is praise from Paul Tonelli on his recent interaction with the PD - 

"It's been a while since I've had a chance to contact you.  I think the last time we spoke was at the park at the National Night Out event.  I hope things are going well for you so far during your time in Atherton.
 
I just wanted to drop you a note to say thanks for sending the open letter to Atherton regarding "See something, say something."   In light of current events, the timing was obviously important.  More important is that residents know you are "on it", and that they get the "see something, say something" message from the top.  So...thank you.
 
Also, I met one of your officers one morning earlier this week as I was leaving for work.  I could have sworn he said his name is Casey...but I could not find a Casey on the website roster.  It was a pleasure to meet him, and I told him how much we appreciated patrols coming down the alleyway that is Lloyden Park Lane.  It is dark and kind of isolated, so the patrols are ALWAYS welcome.
 
Thanks for you service Chief, and it's great to see the speed enforcement on El Camino."

8. League Amicus Brief - Pension Reform

The League of Cities will be filing a friend-of-the-court (amicus) brief in the case involving the constitutional challenge to pension reform. As background on the case, in 2012, the State enacted the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (“PEPRA”), which among other things eliminated the option for employees enrolled in PERS to purchase up to 5 years of service credits to add to their pension benefit (commonly referred to as “airtime”). 
 
After the State implemented PEPRA, Cal Fire Local 2881 sued arguing that the airtime benefit was a vested contractual right of those employees who were employed prior to the 2013 implementation date for PEPRA. Therefore, under the so-called “California Rule” of vested pension rights previously articulated by the California Supreme Court, eliminating the airtime benefit was an unconstitutional impairment of contract unless the State offered employees a comparable new pension benefit to replace it, which PEPRA does not do. 
 
The lower courts disagreed and held that no comparable new benefit was required and that the elimination of the airtime benefit did not affect the employees’ right to a substantial and reasonable pension. The California Supreme Court granted review last year.  The League’s brief supports the state’s argument that PEPRA’s elimination of the option to purchase airtime prospectively did not result in an unconstitutional impairment of contract. 
 
Consistent with board-approved policy, among the arguments the League’s brief makes are:
 
  • Even contractually-vested pension or other retirement benefits can be modified without providing a comparable new advantage, so long as the modifications are reasonable.
  • Modifications that are made to prospective benefits (i.e. to benefits attached to time not yet worked as opposed to time already worked) are reasonable so long as they bear a “material relation to the theory of a pension system and its successful operation” and leave employees with a “substantial and reasonable” pension.  
  • An economic emergency is not required in order to modify prospective benefits.
 
The League’s brief also extensively discusses the current fiscal hardships that cities are facing due to the unsustainable rise in pension costs, including citing extensively to the League’s recent Retirement System Sustainability report published in January. 
 
It is our hope that this discussion will help the Court understand the need to move this case forward quickly in order to provide the state and local governments with the flexibility to sustainably manage their pension obligations.
 
The timeline for when the Supreme Court will issue a decision in this case will depend on when it sets oral argument. The Rules of Court do not impose any timeline under which the Court must set an oral argument, but once oral argument is held and the Court takes the case under submission, it has 90 days within which to issue an opinion.

9. Articles of Note


10. Park Survey

The Park Survey is complete and the final document is being reviewed for any errors or inconsistencies before finalizing. I have a copy of the draft in my office if you are interested in looking it over. Most of the issues of property line fencing exists along the Felton Gables border. Of the approximate 1,450 linear feet of boundary, 1,067.31 feet is compromised with fence line on the Town’s property. Most of that distance, it is less than a foot onto Town property. A few areas (limited linear) as much as 2-3 feet. 

12. HdL - Situs Sales Tax Opportunity

Robert is connecting with HdL, our current Property Tax Consultant, to see if they can assist with our examination of this issue. 

13. Matrix Consulting 

Matrix Consulting will be providing a cost to complete Task 4 as described at the Council meeting on Wednesday. I hope to have that cost next week. If it is reasonable and within my signature authority I will expand their current scope of work. If not, it will return to Council. Matrix has considerable experience on the LAFCO process and can easily come up with that portion of the analysis; however, it is the legislative and/or other options (private agreements, etc.) that are more nebulous and need exploration. 

Special Event Permits - as of February 23, 2018

This is a list of upcoming Special Event Permits approved or under review. 
  • February 24, 97 Fairview, Private Event
  • March 24, Menlo College, Vegas Night - 5 pm - 11 pm
  • April 12/13, Menlo Circus Club - Palantir Corporate Event - 10 am - 7 pm
  • April 14, Menlo College, Pacific Islander Club Luau - 4 pm - 10:30 pm
  • April 22, 79 Jennings Lane, Private Event - 4 pm - 7 pm
  • May 5, Menlo College Commencement - 11 am - 1 pm
  • May 6, Annual Big Bear Run
  • August 7 - 12, Menlo Circus Club Horse Show

February 16, 2018 Weekly Council Notes

1. Agreement for Atherton Fiber/Paxio for Use of Facilities

The Agreement is complete and will be executed by both parties. Work on the hub will begin immediately. 

2. Series Street Light - Notice to Affected Residents

Lights in some affected neighborhoods (Lindenwood/Lloyden Park) will be de-engergized by PG&E as the contractor converts the street lights to the new circuitry. This will occur on February 22 and continue through March 8. Not every light is affected. Residents are being notified via letter of the conversion schedule and provided with a map of the exact light locations. The Police Department is also made aware of the “dark streets” and will provide additional patrol as needed.

3. Water Capture Facility

Staff recently attended a meeting where a representative from OldCastle was present. The company provides stormwater and other products used by local government. Linked below are some of the promotional materials from OldCastle that you might find of interest. While these may or may not be the exact product in the Town’s facility or in the Lakewood facility (product bidders), they are representative of a firm in the industry that provides products to these types of developments.


4. League of California Cities - Pension Survey

Recently, the League of California Cities completed a League Pension Survey of its membership. The survey includes some basic data, averages, and suggestions for addressing the issue. I went through the Town’s 2017/18 Budget and projected forward the Town’s position, using some basic assumptions. Linked here is a comparison of the Town’s position to the League Survey. 

Next steps from the Survey include - 

- Developing and implementing a pay down of the Unfunded Actuarial Liability - the Town has a policy to do this using ERAF. However, until the Civic Center Project is complete, the use of ERAF funds for this purpose is on hold. 
- Consider local ballot measures to enhance revenues - the Town is doing this as well by reforming our business license tax and examining other options, such as the utility user’s tax or real property transfer tax.
- Create a pension rate stabilization program - the Town has not explored this; however, this could be done in conjunction with the use of future ERAF. 
- Create service delivery methods and levels of certain public services - the Town has reviewed its basic service levels and made adjustments where necessary. The Council prioritizes capital projects and policing annually as part of the CIP and Budget. 
- Use procedures for transparent bargaining to increase employee pension contributions - this has been done to the maximum extent possible under the law. By the end of 2018/19, employees will be contributing the maximum allowable toward the employer share of the pension obligation. 
- Issue a pension obligation bond - this is not something the Town has considered.

Looking at the comparative data, the Town is currently and expects to remain in good fiscal condition with respect to its pension obligation - looking at FY 2017/18 forward to FY 2024/25. These are projections based on basic and standardized assumptions. Revenues may be greater or less and so may expenditures.  

5. Short-Term Rentals

One of the things staff is asking the Council to allow the business license tax consultant to evaluate is the possibility of a Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) on short-term vacation rentals. Below are a couple of related articles of interest:


6. CalPERS Circular Letter

Linked here is a CalPERS Circular Letter - on Actuarial Assumptions that might be of interest.

7. Design Solutions - Civic Center Project

WRNS has been given the go ahead on the design solutions for Trees #119/#120 and #67. Timing is critical on this work as the project is set to complete 100% Design/Bid and be released for bid on March 21. At present, the bid climate appears to be in flux with some bids coming in on target and others way over. 

8. Recology Franchise Agreement

We are still waiting on Recology to respond with their final comments on the Draft Revised Franchise Agreement.

9. San Carlos Airport - Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study Planning Advisory Committee

I serve on the Planning Advisory Committee. Our last meeting was in November 2017. Our next meeting is on March 21 to review Chapter 6 of the document - Noise Compatibility.

10. Redesign Launch of the Town’s Website

The staff design team is completing final comments on the website redesign. We anticipate that this will go live in the coming months. 

11. False Alarm Fee Staff Report

The False Alarm Fee Staff Report Ordinance and Fee Resolution will return to the Council in March. We pulled it from the February Agenda in order to gather some additional information and match the Public Notice for the Public Hearing with the revised fees. 

12. C/CAG Stormwater Committee Member

Robert Ovadia will be serving as the Town’s C/CAG Stormwater Committee Member (Staff level).

13. PG&E Power Pole Replacement

PG&E will be replacing a power pole at the intersection of Middlefield Road and Oak Grove this Sunday from 9 am until 5 pm. Power in the area will be affected. 

14. March 7 Study Session

The March 7 Study Session will begin at 3 pm instead of 4 pm.


February 9, 2018 Weekly Council Notes

1. Caltrain PCEP Pole Design Changes

Caltrain has responded to the Mayor’s letter of January 29. A copy of that response is attached. Caltrain has advised that they will use the “Marine Green” color for all of the poles in Atherton. With respect to the single versus double cantilever; Caltrain advises the following in order to consider the Town’s request: 

* The Town must provide a check to the PCJPB for $200,000; creative solutions to mitigate funding the $200,000 directly were not accepted.
* Atherton must obtain and provide written consent of the private property owners and the Town for tree removal on private property.
* Atherton agrees it will not be a party to nor will the Town finance, support, encourage or facilitate the pursuit or filing of any claim, lawsuit or dispute related to PCEP.
* Atherton executes the Comprehensive Agreement.

There will be a brief staff report on February 21 on this item to allow the Council to provide direction to staff.

2. Study Sessions

The Mayor has advised that at this point, Study Session meetings in August, September, October, November and December are cancelled, unless there is a priority item for Council discussion. Ample notice will be provided. Study Sessions in March, April, May, & June will remain as these are primarily the budget study sessions. If items are added, these Study Sessions may be elongated, but notice will be provided.

3. Spring Patching and Overlay Projects

The Spring Patching and Overlay Projects went out to bid and returned bids are on target and under the engineer’s estimate for the work. These will be on the February 21 Agenda for award of bid. The 2018 Patching Projects include portions of Selby Lane, Melanie Lane, Arthur Lane, Inglewood Lane, Austin Avenue, Prado Secoya, Laura Avenue, Walsh Road, Watkins Avenue, Polhemus Avenue, and Camino Al Lago. Full overlay projects include portions Adam Way from Austin to Nora, Edge Road from Ringwood to Oak Grove, Hawthorne from James to Linden, and Walnut from El Camino to Station Lane. 

4. EPC Meeting Recap - February 1, 2018

Below is a recap from the EPC Meeting from the staff liaison. There will be an item on the February 21 Agenda to discuss next steps, Council approval, and funding. There will also be a policy focus discussion opportunity on scope of the EPC.

Public Outreach and Education - ?The Committee requested staff move the Town's current updated, sustainability website to another location on the Town's website so that it is easier to find.  The Committee directed staff to prepare digital brochures to be made available online to educate the community on the matters of Energy, Water, and Solid Waste reduction and conservation, as well as Green Building techniques and resources for the community to voluntarily consider implementing in single family home construction projects.   The Committee decided to forego any type of Town Wide mailing of such brochures but to have hard copies available at the Town Permit Center and Library.  They further directed Staff to create a draft "Green Building Awards" program which would publicly recognize and acknowledge projects that voluntarily build green (somewhat similar to the Tree Awards program).  

Town Sponsored Environmental- Themed Community Event - The Committee decided to forego a specific "Earth Day" event similar to events in the prior two years and hold an environmental movie screening called the "New Fire" by filmaker David Schumacher to be followed by a panel discussion.  They would like to target holding the event at the Menlo Atherton High School Performing Arts Center sometime the weekend of April 14, 2018 pending availability and acknowledged a budget not to exceed $5000.   This is a private screening not available to the public - Staff requested a short movie clip to share with the Council and Committee Member Gardner was to obtain it and send to staff.   The Committee further requested that the staff prepare a request for this public event for City Council consideration at the February 21, 2018 meeting. Should the Council authorize the event, the Committee has called a special meeting on February 22, 2018 to begin discussions of marketing and other planning efforts for the event.  An Ad-Hoc Subcommittee of Chair Rakas and Committee Member Gardner were appointed to work with staff on marketing, outreach, and other planning logistics of this event if Council approves the event work plan.  

Other Items - Committee Member Gardner requested that the EPC regularly be kept apprised and be involved on any Town matters that could have any impact to the environment and felt that any topics environmental or sustainable in nature could benefit from EPC comment and input to the Council.  There was discussion that agenda topics were perhaps not substantive enough.  Staff went over the charge of the EPC and that at the current Council direction for EPC action items related to developing implementation approaches for the approved, prioritized GHG reduction measures from the CAP.    

Committee Member Gardner further requested an on-going, standing agenda item of "Other Environmental topics" to allow members of the public and/or EPC to have discussion of other topics not on the agenda.  Staff informed the Committee that an EPC member or  member of the public have the opportunity to bring up items not on the agenda during "Public Comment" or "Committee Comments" but the Committee could not deliberate and/or provide any recommendation on a specific topic if not agendized.  Staff recommended that if any Committee member had requested items to be placed on future agendas that they contact staff and staff would work with the Chair on placing the specific topic on a future agenda.  The Committee would like to evaluate the ability to have discussion and discourse on environmental matters not on the agenda.  Legal counsel opinion was noted and staff will follow up with Jen Larson and report back to the EPC at the next meeting. 

5. Police Department Evidence Audit

Recently, the Police Chief arranged for an Evidence Audit. This is the first outside evidence audit the Department has had. Attached is the final report from DB consulting on their recent overall audit of the police department's property and evidence system and related operations.  The Report is a record of the outstanding hard work and dedication provided by our property/evidence custodian, Erica Johnson, and by Sergeant Anthony Kockler. Police department property and evidence systems are one of the top very high risk/liability operations that must be proactively managed by law enforcement administrators.  They are crucial in ensuring successful prosecution of criminal cases and in the maintenance of trust and confidence of the pubic in their police department. 

The Commander and Chief will be meeting with Sergeant Kockler and Erica Johnson to review the report and the identified action items, recommendations, and plans for implementation.  The report serves as a guiding document for future audits and for finalized construction plans and equipping of the evidence system processing and storage areas in the new Civic Center building.  Going forward, a random audit of the property/evidence system, to include 10% of all items in the system and 100% of all drugs, guns, and money, will be conducted internally during the first and second trimester of the year.  At the end of the third trimester, an internal 100% audit of the entire system will be completed. 

Erica Johnson and Sergeant Kockler will be receiving commendations for their outstanding work.

6. 2017 Complaints Against Peace Officers Survey

Each year all police departments in California are required by the California DOJ to report on the number and type of citizen complaints received by the department in the calendar year. The Chief has reported as required and advised that the Town received only two (2) citizen complaints in 2017.  Both were thoroughly investigated internally, reviewed by the Commander to ensure objectivity and impartiality, then reviewed by me for final determination and findings.  One complaint was determined to be exonerated and one was determined to be unfounded.
 
In 2017, our officers conducted a total of 4,865 traffic stops, in addition to numerous other contacts related to criminal investigations, code enforcement, and false alarm responses.  As a result of this high volume of quality police work, to only receive two citizen complaints speaks volumes to the highly professional and ethical manner in which our officers and staff conduct themselves on a daily basis.  This is not the norm in most police departments and I continue to be very impressed and proud of our very high functioning team.
 
7. Emergency Response Times

It was noted at the last Council meeting that response times had increased. The Chief advised that these responses times were an average across all types of calls and that Code 3 calls were higher. The Chief examined Code 3 Emergency Response Calls for 2017 and found that the average for all Code 3 calls is 3 minutes. 

8. Walsh Road/ADLP Traffic Signal

Las Lomitas has scheduled a neighborhood meeting on March 6 at 6 pm to discuss the possibility of a traffic signal at Walsh Road. The Town is assisting with publicizing the meeting - Las Lomitas is paying for any costs related thereto. 

9. Planning Commission - Heritage Tree Review

The Planning Commission continues its review of the Town’s Heritage Tree Ordinance. Linked here is a handout recently presented to the Builder’s Roundtable group for feedback. Their feedback was encouraged at the next Planning Commission meeting on February 28. 

10. Revenue and Expense Log - Park

Linked here is the HP Park Revenue Log and January Park Events Log

11. Recology Franchise Renewal Negotiations

Negotiations with Recology continue on the franchise renewal. The last internal meeting was in December 2017. At this time, we are awaiting final comments from Recology. Once all comments are received, the draft franchise renewal will be brought to the Council for discussion and action. 

12. Greenheart Development - Truck Traffic

Last week it was noted that there were a number of trucks inappropriately using residential streets - Glenwood/etc. The trucks were coming and going from the Greenheart development. While we have truck routes designated, there needs to be an audit of the proper signage in order to ensure our ability to enforce. Staff met with the employer of the truck drivers in Menlo Park and there is now an understanding. The employer will be making personal contact with each driver (about 50-80 drivers) and explain the $500 fine if caught using inappropriate routes. Citations were issued for all incidents and truck stops made. Each was issued a $500 fine. 


January 12, 2018 Weekly Council Notes

1. FPPC Training

Atherton is hosting a multi-agency FPPC Training (Campaign Filing and Economic Interest Statements) for City Clerks at the Pavilion on January 25. Costs for the training are passed on to each participating agency. 

2. Neighborhood Meetings on Cell Sites - February 8

AT&T is planning upgrades to a number of their sites as well as installing repeaters at a few other sites. Neighbors will be advised and a meeting setup for February 8 to solicit input. As you are aware, the Town’s process is input oriented; but, the Town does not have the ability to deny the improvements. These are “small cell” sites that fit atop an existing utility pole. 

Utility pole mounted installations are planned for 126 Elena, 2 Fair Oaks, 49 Stockbridge, 244 Camino Al Lago, 138 Isabella, 69 Tuscaloosa, 52 Isabella, and 30 Alejandra. 

There are more planned as AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and others seek to improve their service areas. 

4. Caltrain Public Meeting on the PCEP

As a reminder, Caltrain has a scheduled informational meeting on the construction schedule and impacts related to their electrification project. The meeting is to be held on Thursday, January 18 at the Pavilion. 

5. Water Capture Facility Tour and Project

Theresa and Marty are arranging travel plans for a tour of the Southern California water capture facility project in Lakewood. If you have not responded to the email regarding the February 28 tour, please do so. 

Bob Roeser, P&R will also be invited on the tour. 

Here are a couple more email links to water capture facility projects.


6. Caltrain PCEP Pole Design Changes

We heard from Caltrain on the responsibility of the estimated $200,000 design change. At this point - we don’t know what their intent is. Casey Fromson wants to setup a meeting with the Mayor prior to the January 17 Council meeting to discuss their plan for funding - whether that’s the Town and Caltrain, the Town, or just Caltrain. I am attempting to schedule something for Wednesday day. 

7. Robert Ovadia - Public Works Director/City Engineer

Robert Ovadia is due to start work on February 5 as the Public Works Director/City Engineer. Attached is his resume. He will be in and out over the next couple of weeks to say hello and get familiar with issues, people and operations. 

8. Walsh Road/ADLP Traffic Signal

Las Lomitas has advised that they would like to start the conversation and process for a proposed traffic signal at Alameda and Walsh. They will be discussing next steps with staff over the next couple of weeks. They have already begun making contact with the surrounding neighbors on Walsh and they have advised that the response has been positive. They are hoping to get approval to construct later in the summer when school is out. 

9. Website Redesign

The website redesign is underway. The working group (staff and consultant) have started working through preliminary designs and settled on a design/concept similar to McKinney, TX. Attached are some mock-up images of a few of the pages. This is still a work in progress but if you have comments, please pass them along to Theresa. Note that the mock-ups are mock-ups only and not defined product.

January 5, 2018 Weekly Council Notes

1. Transportation Committee Meeting - January 9

The Transportation Committee is scheduled to meeting on January 9. On their meeting agenda is a number of monthly traffic reports and meeting minutes. This is a link to the online agenda packet

2. Civic Center Trees

The architect is nearly complete with some “noodles” of potential design adjustments for the Project in order to retain the identified heritage trees. The most significant adjustments are the entry to the site at Maple and the Police Secure Parking lot. We are working with the Police Department staff to identify impacts of the changes as well as discussing the access and turning radius for fire apparatus into the parking area. 

Staff will be meeting with the Civic Center Council Subcommittee on Monday to discuss in preparation for the January 17 Council Meeting. 

With respect to Tree #55 (Library entry), we are contracting directly with SWA Landscape Architect to work through a design change option for the site and assess the viability of the tree. As mentioned prior, certified arborist that frequently transplants trees has already advised that transplanting the tree is an option with a 70%-80% success rate at a cost of $60-$75k. SWA will be analyzing the possibility of a tree well or modification to the deck and ADA pedestrian access to accommodate. However, initial thoughts are that the well and/or modification would need to accommodate the entire drip line of the tree to be successful. The current spread of the tree already impacts the eave of the building itself. It would likely need to be pruned heavily to accommodate the structure. We will work with SWA to get an analysis of design change, potential cost, as well as a success outlook. 

3. Park Events and Revenue Logs


4. Articles of Note




1. FPPC Training

Atherton is hosting a multi-agency FPPC Training (Campaign Filing and Economic Interest Statements) for City Clerks at the Pavilion on January 25. Costs for the training are passed on to each participating agency. 

2. Transportation Committee Meeting - January 9

The Transportation Committee is scheduled to meeting on January 9. On their meeting agenda is a number of monthly traffic reports and meeting minutes. This is a link to the online agenda packet

3. Neighborhood Meetings on Cell Sites - February 8

AT&T is planning upgrades to a number of their sites as well as installing repeaters at a few other sites. Neighbors will be advised and a meeting setup for February 8 to solicit input. As you are aware, the Town’s process is input oriented; but, the Town does not have the ability to deny the improvements. These are “small cell” sites that fit atop an existing utility pole. 

Utility pole mounted installations are planned for 126 Elena, 2 Fair Oaks, 49 Stockbridge, 244 Camino Al Lago, 138 Isabella, 69 Tuscaloosa, 52 Isabella, and 30 Alejandra. 

There are more planned as AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and others seek to improve their service areas. 

4. Caltrain Public Meeting on the PCEP

As a reminder, Caltrain has a scheduled informational meeting on the construction schedule and impacts related to their electrification project. The meeting is to be held on Thursday, January 18 at the Pavilion. 

5. Civic Center Trees

The architect is nearly complete with some “noodles” of potential design adjustments for the Project in order to retain the identified heritage trees. The most significant adjustments are the entry to the site at Maple and the Police Secure Parking lot. We are working with the Police Department staff to identify impacts of the changes as well as discussing the access and turning radius for fire apparatus into the parking area. 

Staff will be meeting with the Civic Center Council Subcommittee on Monday to discuss in preparation for the January 17 Council Meeting. 

With respect to Tree #55 (Library entry), we are contracting directly with SWA Landscape Architect to work through a design change option for the site and assess the viability of the tree. As mentioned prior, certified arborist that frequently transplants trees has already advised that transplanting the tree is an option with a 70%-80% success rate at a cost of $60-$75k. SWA will be analyzing the possibility of a tree well or modification to the deck and ADA pedestrian access to accommodate. However, initial thoughts are that the well and/or modification would need to accommodate the entire drip line of the tree to be successful. The current spread of the tree already impacts the eave of the building itself. It would likely need to be pruned heavily to accommodate the structure. We will work with SWA to get an analysis of design change, potential cost, as well as a success outlook. 

6. Park Events and Revenue Logs


7. Police Department Operatons Review

The Chief is finalizing analysis and actions during his department operations review. A few highlights - 
  • Currently, officer duty weapons consist of a mix of department issued pistols and personally owned pistols. This is the result of older, existing department policies that have not been updated. There is also a mix of pistol calibers (9 mm, .40, .45). This is not the industry standard and creates operational and training concerns. The Chief is in the process of evaluating a uniform pistol platform with a deployment plan scheduled for Summer 2018.
  • Currently, there is no formal process for tracking and administrative review when the K9 unit is deployed. This will be developed and implemented in early 2018.
  • Evidence - the Department is in compliance with all accreditation standards for Evidence and Property Control - with the noted exception of annual audits and spot checks. This has been corrected with the implementation of trimester spot checks of the system, to include audits of 10% of all items in the system and 100% audits of all drugs, money, and firearms in the system. As part of the new system audit, an outside independent contractor recently conducted a 100% audit of our system. The final report should be received soon and any findings will be reviewed and corrected. 
8. Articles of Note
9. Council-Staff Communications

As we launch a new year, it is not without its looming issues on the horizon. Those are important as policy decisions that will make their way to the Council over the coming months. However, sometimes, when we place all of our focus on these big picture issues, we lose focus on some of the smaller ones. For me, the most important of those smaller issues is communication. I’m actually a fairly lucky city manager as I work for an excellent council. You all do your homework and take pride in promoting traditions of civility and professionalism in your role on the dais and off. You support staff and you trust me. We can have healthy and sometimes hearty conversations and still walk away knowing and believing in the positive intent of all parties for the betterment of Atherton. 

Nevertheless, it is still sometimes necessary to remind each other to work through me when seeking information or expressing interests and concerns. And it’s always awkward. No matter how diplomatically I try and express that the practice is consistent with our formal council policies and procedures and consistent with the best practices of cities and towns across the nation, it can still come across as a trust and control issue. There are a few reasons why it is important to include me in the information loop - even if it is merely a courtesy copy on an email exchange. 
  • I don’t know what I don’t know - and yet, I’m still accountable for it. As the City Manager, it is important that I am on top of what’s going on - even if it’s routine. I cannot be on top of things if I don’t know what they are. If you bypass me, even if you think it is mundane or routine, to make requests of staff or express issues of concern or interest, I cannot possibly be aware of those interests or concerns and cannot assure a timely response to an inquiry or concern if I am not aware of it in the first place. Sure, staff can inform me later of the request or comment, but this roundabout way of communication raises the changes of miscommunication and that’s not a good way to start.  
  • Perception is a pain. Sometimes, going around the manager creates more harm than good. Bypassing the city manager can give the impression that there is a problem in the council-manager relationship and this perception can undermine my credibility within the organization and the respect that the staff feels for the council member  If a member of the council consistently goes directly to staff with issues, staff comes to their own conclusion about the council member and the relationship that that council member has with the city manager - and, sometimes that conclusion is not a good one.   
  • 5 Bosses. I’m in the highly unusual position of having 5 equal bosses and the expectation of equal treatment by each is not only extremely high, but also entirely appropriate. Equal treatment includes providing each council member with the same information, the same levels of support, and the same accessibility in general. When you go through me when making a request, I get to determine if the desired information needs to be shared with all members of the council in response. Equal treatment is a two-way street. 
  • Awesome Power. Because council members are often perceived as having “awesome power” - direct requests can lead to surprising and negative unintended consequences. A council member may contact staff with what they perceive to be a simple request for information only to find out later that that request was perceived as an “order” to do something never intended or it created internal meetings and other research to get at an answer that was not part of the plan or priority.
  • Bad Info. Contact with junior staff can increase the likelihood of getting erroneous or incomplete information. I’m in a very lucky spot - I get the value of having those 5 equal bosses with their unique perspectives and opinions. It’s part of my job to mesh those views together into a policy direction ultimately adopted by the council and promulgated to staff for action. When there are disparate connections being made by Council of staff for information, odds are that those staff are not aware of those 5 unique perspectives and may respond with information that doesn’t reflect that overall direction. Even minor deviations can cause issues down the line. 
Most elected officials want the system and relationships to work in the best possible way. To achieve this, is it necessary for absolutely every little thing to go through the city manager? No. Of course not. But, what is required is an understanding between the council and the manager as to what differentiates a little thing from a big thing and that’s where it gets gray. So, there is no harm in a courtesy copy of an email and no harm in sharing ad hoc comments so everyone is in the loop.  

10. Survey Work in the Park

As part of the Water Capture Project, contract staff will be performing topographic and boundary surveys in the Park as well as a structural assessment of the two bridges used for ingress and egress. They will be starting the work on January 8 and it should last about a week. 

11. Water Capture Facility Tour and Project

Theresa and Marty are arranging travel plans for a tour of the Southern California water capture facility project in Lakewood. If you have not responded to the email regarding the February 28 tour, please do so. 

An update on the Project will be provided to the Park and Recreation Committee on January 10. Bob Roeser has been working with staff as a member of the Project Review Team. Rick Smelser, Interwest Project Manager, will provide an update on the schedule and ongoing activities. 

Here are a couple more email links to water capture facility projects.

1. FPPC Training

Atherton is hosting a multi-agency FPPC Training (Campaign Filing and Economic Interest Statements) for City Clerks at the Pavilion on January 25. Costs for the training are passed on to each participating agency. 

2. Transportation Committee Meeting - January 9

The Transportation Committee is scheduled to meeting on January 9. On their meeting agenda is a number of monthly traffic reports and meeting minutes. This is a link to the online agenda packet

3. Neighborhood Meetings on Cell Sites - February 8

AT&T is planning upgrades to a number of their sites as well as installing repeaters at a few other sites. Neighbors will be advised and a meeting setup for February 8 to solicit input. As you are aware, the Town’s process is input oriented; but, the Town does not have the ability to deny the improvements. These are “small cell” sites that fit atop an existing utility pole. 

Utility pole mounted installations are planned for 126 Elena, 2 Fair Oaks, 49 Stockbridge, 244 Camino Al Lago, 138 Isabella, 69 Tuscaloosa, 52 Isabella, and 30 Alejandra. 

There are more planned as AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and others seek to improve their service areas. 

4. Caltrain Public Meeting on the PCEP

As a reminder, Caltrain has a scheduled informational meeting on the construction schedule and impacts related to their electrification project. The meeting is to be held on Thursday, January 18 at the Pavilion. 

5. Civic Center Trees

The architect is nearly complete with some “noodles” of potential design adjustments for the Project in order to retain the identified heritage trees. The most significant adjustments are the entry to the site at Maple and the Police Secure Parking lot. We are working with the Police Department staff to identify impacts of the changes as well as discussing the access and turning radius for fire apparatus into the parking area. 

Staff will be meeting with the Civic Center Council Subcommittee on Monday to discuss in preparation for the January 17 Council Meeting. 

With respect to Tree #55 (Library entry), we are contracting directly with SWA Landscape Architect to work through a design change option for the site and assess the viability of the tree. As mentioned prior, certified arborist that frequently transplants trees has already advised that transplanting the tree is an option with a 70%-80% success rate at a cost of $60-$75k. SWA will be analyzing the possibility of a tree well or modification to the deck and ADA pedestrian access to accommodate. However, initial thoughts are that the well and/or modification would need to accommodate the entire drip line of the tree to be successful. The current spread of the tree already impacts the eave of the building itself. It would likely need to be pruned heavily to accommodate the structure. We will work with SWA to get an analysis of design change, potential cost, as well as a success outlook. 

6. Park Events and Revenue Logs


7. Police Department Operatons Review

The Chief is finalizing analysis and actions during his department operations review. A few highlights - 
  • Currently, officer duty weapons consist of a mix of department issued pistols and personally owned pistols. This is the result of older, existing department policies that have not been updated. There is also a mix of pistol calibers (9 mm, .40, .45). This is not the industry standard and creates operational and training concerns. The Chief is in the process of evaluating a uniform pistol platform with a deployment plan scheduled for Summer 2018.
  • Currently, there is no formal process for tracking and administrative review when the K9 unit is deployed. This will be developed and implemented in early 2018.
  • Evidence - the Department is in compliance with all accreditation standards for Evidence and Property Control - with the noted exception of annual audits and spot checks. This has been corrected with the implementation of trimester spot checks of the system, to include audits of 10% of all items in the system and 100% audits of all drugs, money, and firearms in the system. As part of the new system audit, an outside independent contractor recently conducted a 100% audit of our system. The final report should be received soon and any findings will be reviewed and corrected. 
8. Articles of Note
9. Council-Staff Communications

As we launch a new year, it is not without its looming issues on the horizon. Those are important as policy decisions that will make their way to the Council over the coming months. However, sometimes, when we place all of our focus on these big picture issues, we lose focus on some of the smaller ones. For me, the most important of those smaller issues is communication. I’m actually a fairly lucky city manager as I work for an excellent council. You all do your homework and take pride in promoting traditions of civility and professionalism in your role on the dais and off. You support staff and you trust me. We can have healthy and sometimes hearty conversations and still walk away knowing and believing in the positive intent of all parties for the betterment of Atherton. 

Nevertheless, it is still sometimes necessary to remind each other to work through me when seeking information or expressing interests and concerns. And it’s always awkward. No matter how diplomatically I try and express that the practice is consistent with our formal council policies and procedures and consistent with the best practices of cities and towns across the nation, it can still come across as a trust and control issue. There are a few reasons why it is important to include me in the information loop - even if it is merely a courtesy copy on an email exchange. 
  • I don’t know what I don’t know - and yet, I’m still accountable for it. As the City Manager, it is important that I am on top of what’s going on - even if it’s routine. I cannot be on top of things if I don’t know what they are. If you bypass me, even if you think it is mundane or routine, to make requests of staff or express issues of concern or interest, I cannot possibly be aware of those interests or concerns and cannot assure a timely response to an inquiry or concern if I am not aware of it in the first place. Sure, staff can inform me later of the request or comment, but this roundabout way of communication raises the changes of miscommunication and that’s not a good way to start.  
  • Perception is a pain. Sometimes, going around the manager creates more harm than good. Bypassing the city manager can give the impression that there is a problem in the council-manager relationship and this perception can undermine my credibility within the organization and the respect that the staff feels for the council member  If a member of the council consistently goes directly to staff with issues, staff comes to their own conclusion about the council member and the relationship that that council member has with the city manager - and, sometimes that conclusion is not a good one.   
  • 5 Bosses. I’m in the highly unusual position of having 5 equal bosses and the expectation of equal treatment by each is not only extremely high, but also entirely appropriate. Equal treatment includes providing each council member with the same information, the same levels of support, and the same accessibility in general. When you go through me when making a request, I get to determine if the desired information needs to be shared with all members of the council in response. Equal treatment is a two-way street. 
  • Awesome Power. Because council members are often perceived as having “awesome power” - direct requests can lead to surprising and negative unintended consequences. A council member may contact staff with what they perceive to be a simple request for information only to find out later that that request was perceived as an “order” to do something never intended or it created internal meetings and other research to get at an answer that was not part of the plan or priority.
  • Bad Info. Contact with junior staff can increase the likelihood of getting erroneous or incomplete information. I’m in a very lucky spot - I get the value of having those 5 equal bosses with their unique perspectives and opinions. It’s part of my job to mesh those views together into a policy direction ultimately adopted by the council and promulgated to staff for action. When there are disparate connections being made by Council of staff for information, odds are that those staff are not aware of those 5 unique perspectives and may respond with information that doesn’t reflect that overall direction. Even minor deviations can cause issues down the line. 
Most elected officials want the system and relationships to work in the best possible way. To achieve this, is it necessary for absolutely every little thing to go through the city manager? No. Of course not. But, what is required is an understanding between the council and the manager as to what differentiates a little thing from a big thing and that’s where it gets gray. So, there is no harm in a courtesy copy of an email and no harm in sharing ad hoc comments so everyone is in the loop.  

10. Survey Work in the Park

As part of the Water Capture Project, contract staff will be performing topographic and boundary surveys in the Park as well as a structural assessment of the two bridges used for ingress and egress. They will be starting the work on January 8 and it should last about a week. 

11. Water Capture Facility Tour and Project

Theresa and Marty are arranging travel plans for a tour of the Southern California water capture facility project in Lakewood. If you have not responded to the email regarding the February 28 tour, please do so. 

An update on the Project will be provided to the Park and Recreation Committee on January 10. Bob Roeser has been working with staff as a member of the Project Review Team. Rick Smelser, Interwest Project Manager, will provide an update on the schedule and ongoing activities. 

Here are a couple more email links to water capture facility projects.

1. FPPC Training

Atherton is hosting a multi-agency FPPC Training (Campaign Filing and Economic Interest Statements) for City Clerks at the Pavilion on January 25. Costs for the training are passed on to each participating agency. 

2. Transportation Committee Meeting - January 9

The Transportation Committee is scheduled to meeting on January 9. On their meeting agenda is a number of monthly traffic reports and meeting minutes. This is a link to the online agenda packet

3. Neighborhood Meetings on Cell Sites - February 8

AT&T is planning upgrades to a number of their sites as well as installing repeaters at a few other sites. Neighbors will be advised and a meeting setup for February 8 to solicit input. As you are aware, the Town’s process is input oriented; but, the Town does not have the ability to deny the improvements. These are “small cell” sites that fit atop an existing utility pole. 

Utility pole mounted installations are planned for 126 Elena, 2 Fair Oaks, 49 Stockbridge, 244 Camino Al Lago, 138 Isabella, 69 Tuscaloosa, 52 Isabella, and 30 Alejandra. 

There are more planned as AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and others seek to improve their service areas. 

4. Caltrain Public Meeting on the PCEP

As a reminder, Caltrain has a scheduled informational meeting on the construction schedule and impacts related to their electrification project. The meeting is to be held on Thursday, January 18 at the Pavilion. 

5. Civic Center Trees

The architect is nearly complete with some “noodles” of potential design adjustments for the Project in order to retain the identified heritage trees. The most significant adjustments are the entry to the site at Maple and the Police Secure Parking lot. We are working with the Police Department staff to identify impacts of the changes as well as discussing the access and turning radius for fire apparatus into the parking area. 

Staff will be meeting with the Civic Center Council Subcommittee on Monday to discuss in preparation for the January 17 Council Meeting. 

With respect to Tree #55 (Library entry), we are contracting directly with SWA Landscape Architect to work through a design change option for the site and assess the viability of the tree. As mentioned prior, certified arborist that frequently transplants trees has already advised that transplanting the tree is an option with a 70%-80% success rate at a cost of $60-$75k. SWA will be analyzing the possibility of a tree well or modification to the deck and ADA pedestrian access to accommodate. However, initial thoughts are that the well and/or modification would need to accommodate the entire drip line of the tree to be successful. The current spread of the tree already impacts the eave of the building itself. It would likely need to be pruned heavily to accommodate the structure. We will work with SWA to get an analysis of design change, potential cost, as well as a success outlook. 

6. Park Events and Revenue Logs


7. Police Department Operatons Review

The Chief is finalizing analysis and actions during his department operations review. A few highlights - 
  • Currently, officer duty weapons consist of a mix of department issued pistols and personally owned pistols. This is the result of older, existing department policies that have not been updated. There is also a mix of pistol calibers (9 mm, .40, .45). This is not the industry standard and creates operational and training concerns. The Chief is in the process of evaluating a uniform pistol platform with a deployment plan scheduled for Summer 2018.
  • Currently, there is no formal process for tracking and administrative review when the K9 unit is deployed. This will be developed and implemented in early 2018.
  • Evidence - the Department is in compliance with all accreditation standards for Evidence and Property Control - with the noted exception of annual audits and spot checks. This has been corrected with the implementation of trimester spot checks of the system, to include audits of 10% of all items in the system and 100% audits of all drugs, money, and firearms in the system. As part of the new system audit, an outside independent contractor recently conducted a 100% audit of our system. The final report should be received soon and any findings will be reviewed and corrected. 
8. Articles of Note
9. Council-Staff Communications

As we launch a new year, it is not without its looming issues on the horizon. Those are important as policy decisions that will make their way to the Council over the coming months. However, sometimes, when we place all of our focus on these big picture issues, we lose focus on some of the smaller ones. For me, the most important of those smaller issues is communication. I’m actually a fairly lucky city manager as I work for an excellent council. You all do your homework and take pride in promoting traditions of civility and professionalism in your role on the dais and off. You support staff and you trust me. We can have healthy and sometimes hearty conversations and still walk away knowing and believing in the positive intent of all parties for the betterment of Atherton. 

Nevertheless, it is still sometimes necessary to remind each other to work through me when seeking information or expressing interests and concerns. And it’s always awkward. No matter how diplomatically I try and express that the practice is consistent with our formal council policies and procedures and consistent with the best practices of cities and towns across the nation, it can still come across as a trust and control issue. There are a few reasons why it is important to include me in the information loop - even if it is merely a courtesy copy on an email exchange. 
  • I don’t know what I don’t know - and yet, I’m still accountable for it. As the City Manager, it is important that I am on top of what’s going on - even if it’s routine. I cannot be on top of things if I don’t know what they are. If you bypass me, even if you think it is mundane or routine, to make requests of staff or express issues of concern or interest, I cannot possibly be aware of those interests or concerns and cannot assure a timely response to an inquiry or concern if I am not aware of it in the first place. Sure, staff can inform me later of the request or comment, but this roundabout way of communication raises the changes of miscommunication and that’s not a good way to start.  
  • Perception is a pain. Sometimes, going around the manager creates more harm than good. Bypassing the city manager can give the impression that there is a problem in the council-manager relationship and this perception can undermine my credibility within the organization and the respect that the staff feels for the council member  If a member of the council consistently goes directly to staff with issues, staff comes to their own conclusion about the council member and the relationship that that council member has with the city manager - and, sometimes that conclusion is not a good one.   
  • 5 Bosses. I’m in the highly unusual position of having 5 equal bosses and the expectation of equal treatment by each is not only extremely high, but also entirely appropriate. Equal treatment includes providing each council member with the same information, the same levels of support, and the same accessibility in general. When you go through me when making a request, I get to determine if the desired information needs to be shared with all members of the council in response. Equal treatment is a two-way street. 
  • Awesome Power. Because council members are often perceived as having “awesome power” - direct requests can lead to surprising and negative unintended consequences. A council member may contact staff with what they perceive to be a simple request for information only to find out later that that request was perceived as an “order” to do something never intended or it created internal meetings and other research to get at an answer that was not part of the plan or priority.
  • Bad Info. Contact with junior staff can increase the likelihood of getting erroneous or incomplete information. I’m in a very lucky spot - I get the value of having those 5 equal bosses with their unique perspectives and opinions. It’s part of my job to mesh those views together into a policy direction ultimately adopted by the council and promulgated to staff for action. When there are disparate connections being made by Council of staff for information, odds are that those staff are not aware of those 5 unique perspectives and may respond with information that doesn’t reflect that overall direction. Even minor deviations can cause issues down the line. 
Most elected officials want the system and relationships to work in the best possible way. To achieve this, is it necessary for absolutely every little thing to go through the city manager? No. Of course not. But, what is required is an understanding between the council and the manager as to what differentiates a little thing from a big thing and that’s where it gets gray. So, there is no harm in a courtesy copy of an email and no harm in sharing ad hoc comments so everyone is in the loop.  

10. Survey Work in the Park

As part of the Water Capture Project, contract staff will be performing topographic and boundary surveys in the Park as well as a structural assessment of the two bridges used for ingress and egress. They will be starting the work on January 8 and it should last about a week. 

11. Water Capture Facility Tour and Project

Theresa and Marty are arranging travel plans for a tour of the Southern California water capture facility project in Lakewood. If you have not responded to the email regarding the February 28 tour, please do so. 

An update on the Project will be provided to the Park and Recreation Committee on January 10. Bob Roeser has been working with staff as a member of the Project Review Team. Rick Smelser, Interwest Project Manager, will provide an update on the schedule and ongoing activities. 

Here are a couple more email links to water capture facility projects.