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Pacifica City Manager Mum on Move to Kibosh Police Outsourcing Plan

Pacifica's top administrator won't say who pulled the plug on a proposal that would have saved the cash-strapped city an estimated $1.5 million annually, referring questions to city attorney.

City Manager Stephen Rhodes declined to comment when asked whose decision it was to pull the plug on a proposal to farm out law enforcement services to the sheriff's department - a move that according to the city's own estimates would have saved nearly-broke Pacifica $1.5 million annually.

Rhodes cited ongoing labor negotiations as the reason he was not disclosed to discuss the city's action publicly. He referred questions about the move to City Attorney Michelle Kenyon.

Kenyon did not respond to an inquiry made through Rhodes Monday afternoon.

A press release the city issued last week is all the information he said the city was willing to put out for now.

According to press release, 54.7 percent of 1,474 Pacifica residents surveyed "opposed the concept as a means to save the city money."

"I think the press release explains the process," Rhodes said.

The city's announcement was first reported by Pacifica Index, a blog that posted the city's press release.

"It states that it was the determination not to carry that proposal forward," Rhodes said.  "That's  as clear as it's going to be."

The proposal to outsource law enforcement services to the sheriff's department came up earlier this year. A consulting firm commissioned to crunch the numbers met with the city council in  on July 11.

The city's press release acknowledged that Pacifica faces "significant fiscal challenges," noting that approximately $800,000 will be left in the city's General Fund at the end of the 2012/2013 fiscal year.

Asked if the city's decision to scrap the plan was a surprise, Pacifica Police Chief Jim Tasa said "I just didn't know."

Tasa said his agency wasn't involved in the city's decision-making process.

"I think at some point you have to decide as a community, that if you want to remain a community, if you want to remain a city, there are some essential services that you need to have and I think public safety and public works are probably the primary ones that you want to retain."

 

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hutch August 21, 2012 at 03:11 PM
The non scientific poll saying 54% of Pacificans opposed Police outsourcing was before citizens had any numbers or information. I think the vote would be different now even though we still don't know all the facts.
ron August 21, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Non-disclosure of information needed to make the right decision - ah, yes, the domain of corrupt politicians.
Pacific Passions August 21, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I think what is happening here is Pacifica, with this <i> Pacifica City Council is TOTALLY disgusting! The most essential document to the future of Pacifica, the Outsourcing of Police Services,a vitally important document paid for by Pacifica taxpayer dollars was known to them yet held secret in what I regard as yet another violation of the Brown Act by these Pacifica Bureaucrats.
Pacific Passions August 21, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I would have never stood for this when I was Mayor of San Bruno and I'm fed up with it here in Pacifica. I wasted nearly a whole Sunday in a so-called study session where it seemed that the Mayor didn't give a damn about public input and was annoyed with the whole process. Their "Study" session wasn't even broadcast and none of the public's comments were even noted in the Pacifica Tribune. I had to insist on giving my "3-minutes" worth of information in the form of a chalk talk because this City seems to be totally unaware of their geographic position as part of San Mateo County and instead keeps trying to re-invent the wheel from the ground up with hired guns outside consultants which is the most expensive and pointless way to do so where there is so much talent living right here in Pacifica. Give me a break. Pacifica needs more BUSINESS, not more taxes and fees. Let's fill all those vacant stores and bring revenue into the City instead of spending it elsewhere. -- Please SHOP PACIFICA FIRST! -- Keep your friends and neighbors employed and support those who do try to keep Pacifica's economic head above water.
Pacific Passions August 21, 2012 at 04:30 PM
I don't post anonymously, so to be clear, since I'm using my old business account on this computer, this is who I am: Gary J. Mondfrans Former Mayor of San Bruno 25 Year Long time Pacific Resident Homeowner and Taxpayer 31 Years Experience in Emergency Services/Management New Pacifica Businessman http://www.PacificPassions.US, and hopefully a new voice on the Pacifica City Council
Vince Chutney August 21, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Thanks for the commercial, Gary. I think we all get the idea. What the Pacifica City Council did is shameless. The City Manager works for them and he simply executes their will. I hope voters will remember that the $1.5 million in new taxes they will be asked to vote for in time would not be necessary had Council done the prudent thing. Someone needs to dig a little deeper here and find out what really happened in closed door sessions. This simply doesn't pass the sniff test. Even my dog is shaking his head.
Curtis Philips August 21, 2012 at 05:34 PM
All I can say to the City Council is that if you want to keep your secrets, don't you dare come to me asking for $1.5 million in taxes to keep the city afloat. You decided this in secret without sharing the facts, then you pay for this! Not me.
hutch August 21, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Gary, I'v asked you before. Can you tell us what specifically you would do to keep us from going bankrupt?
hutch August 21, 2012 at 05:56 PM
To be fair, both Mary Ann Nihart and Len Stone had indicated they wanted to pursue outsourcing if the numbers added up. Both Pete (sneaky) Dejarnett and Sue (the twirler) Digre have been against the idea and in favor of a sales tax. If Pete and Sue convinced Ginny to go along with them then they could have tabled the option. That is what I believe happened.
Pacifica Index August 21, 2012 at 06:44 PM
(Post 1 of 2) <i>Pacifica's top administrator won't say who pulled the plug on a proposal that would have saved the cash-strapped city an estimated $1.5 million annually...</i> The thing is, the $1.5M isn't a very accurate estimate and is based upon a wide array of factors, including service levels, physical patrol locations, etc., etc., which was the very reason an outside consultant was hired -- to provide a professional evaluation of the levels of service and costs associated with each service provider in a way that none of us -- including Councilmembers -- are capable of. Weighing the pros and cons of outsourcing our police services has been a very public discussion in many different public forums for about a year at this point -- but it's all been based on conjecture and guesswork until now, when we finally have some hard data to work with. Unfortunately, this is precisely the point at which the City has decided this is no longer a public matter. It is an extremely disappointing decision for a variety of reasons.
Pacifica Index August 21, 2012 at 06:49 PM
(Post 2 of 2) It is worth noting that when <i>Pacifica Index</i> made Public Records Act requests for the outside consultant's report, we were told that the material was exempt under attorney-client / attorney work-product privileges, NOT that the report was being used in a labor negotiation. This exemption from disclosure can be claimed because it was the City Attorney and not any other department (like the City Manager, for example) that retained the outside consultant (this is noted in the related May 14 agenda item). So, because the City Attorney was involved, the attorney-client/work-product privilege can be claimed. The implications of this should give everyone pause. What else will go through the City Attorney in the future? What other consultants will be retained by the City Attorney and what other data will pass through that office which can then be held back from the public under this very same privilege? Such an exemption under this privilege is very, very hard to challenge.
Gary Mondfrans for Pacifica August 21, 2012 at 07:50 PM
@HUTCH, It doesn't take a Brain Surgeon to figure out how to, excuse the expression, Fix Pacifica. I think at this year that more business are closing down and leaving Poorficia than are coming in and that has got to change. We don't have to change the character of why we live and stay in Pacifica one bit, we just need to find ways to bring more businesses into Pacifica to fill all those vacant stores and that situation seems to be getting worse, not better. Each of us should also pledge personally to SHOP PACIFICA FIRST, instead of taking our money out of town, when we go to Costco to save a few pennies per gallon we are depriving our local gas station of a living and also shorting out city and ourselves on much needed Gas Tax revenue to fix those same pot hole people here complain about. The answers are not in our stars, but in ourselves. Our behavior on where and how we shop, how we related to tourist and visitors, can really add up in the economic viability of Pacifica. Hutch, will you personally commit to increasing how much you purchase here locally?
hutch August 21, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Thanks Gary. So you think the solution to our budget crisis is attracting more business here and for us citizens to shop Pacifica more, That's great. What about employee wages and benefits which take up the bulk of our budget? Cities all over California are slashing what some say are extravagant compensation packages. Would you as a current public employee and a member of a public employee Union be able to demand deep cuts from your Union brothers and sisters if needed? And lastly do you favor any increase in taxes and fees to balance our budget?
DM August 21, 2012 at 08:42 PM
If I understand correctly, the City Council based their decision on a survey of Pacifica households. Did we not just go through this exercise with the Financing City Services Task Force survey and findings?...all 255 pages worth! Is this what we've come to, governance by polls? I have come to expect this from our elected leaders in Washington, but not from my City Council, as well. Those in city government have the numbers, the experience with which to make a decision and have been charged with doing so, not some Pacifican cornered by a phone call and posed a loaded question they don't have the facts to respond intelligently to in the first place. If this process is playing out as Mr. Mondfrans indicates above than I hightly endorce his candidacy. It sounds like we need someone on the council capable of leadership and of making painful decisions. A poll of 1500 homes..really? I tried to access the press release mentioned in the article and it wasn't available on-line. I would be interested in the wording of the survey, who placed the calls, how many homes were contacted, how many responded and the statistical variablility of the survey. As well as, of course, how much it cost the city. These are important questions if the Council did indeed base its decision on this apparent fig leaf.
hutch August 21, 2012 at 09:05 PM
The "survey" was a complete joke DM. Yes leading questions and not one mention of our main expenditure (wages and benefits). Then we were asked to decide on Police outsourcing with no facts at all. There was no attempt to prevent duplicate surveys from being handed in. It seemed all they wanted to do was steer us towards the sales tax increase. It might still be on the City web site.
Michael G. Stogner August 21, 2012 at 09:08 PM
I just looked at the City's website and saw the results from the Survey Monkey and it clearly states that only 45.4% Opposed (669) not 54.7%
Pacificat August 21, 2012 at 09:26 PM
We don't know if the council's decision was based on the survey results or not. The press release only states the results of the survey. It says nothing about why the council made the decision that they did. And we still don't know what the consultant's report said about the potential savings of outsourcing the police department. We have zero information about the entire issue.
Gary Mondfrans for Pacifica August 22, 2012 at 05:38 AM
@DM, I appreciate your comment supporting my candidacy for Pacifica City Council, I really do, as I believe that leadership has been lacking in Pacifica for some time. This city is adrift on the economic plain, with no direction, it's like the players, expecially the Mayor himself is just putting in his time waiting for the clock to ring down, all the while Pacifica is heading for the drain which whirlpools into a downward spiral. Maybe it's because I've been making life and death decisions as a 9-1-1 Dispatcher for the past 30+ years with every one of my actions fully recorded and held accountable and I have earned many commendations in the process. I'm not afraid of making decisions and being held responsible for my actions. I think Len knows that leadership is needed, and maybe his time will come, but we are nearing that big whirlpool. Are we really prepared for while the "big one", or if something nasty again comes this way from Japan as it did just last year. As I pointed out in my "chalk-talk" that Sunday afternoon at the "Study" Session, Pacifica already has those resources, it's just that nobody can look outside the box in which this City Council has placed us all in. Gary J. Mondfrans
Frank Parks August 22, 2012 at 05:49 AM
This city council is disgusting. They continue to waste our valuable dwindling resources. I hope we get three new people that actually care about this city and will do something helpful rather than hurtful. Shame, shame, shame!
Gary Mondfrans for Pacifica August 22, 2012 at 06:20 AM
QUESTION: How many people made a complaint with the District Attorney's office regarding these repeated Pacifica Brown Act violations? I called Assistant District Attorney Morley Pitts office on his phone number (650) 363-4636 and asked the D.A.'s Office to do yet another Brown Act investigation in Pacifica "This time with teeth", I added, and have yet to hear back from him. I miss retired District Attorney Keith Sorenson, I served with him on the San Mateo County Criminal Justice Council when I was appointed by the Council of Mayors back in the late 1970's. I really miss Keith, he had what it took to be a real District Attorney. Gary J. Mondfrans
Lionel Emde August 22, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Thank you Mr. Rubin, and Pacifica Patch, for grilling our city manager in an attempt to get an answer. You're doing better than the Pacifica Tribune at asking the correct questions. The July 11 closed session meeting was illegal under the Brown Act, both in its content and its posting. A "consultant's report" on a public policy issue is NOT a proper subject for a posted "conference with labor negotiator." So now we get a mysterious press release, that dare not say its author, and it's: "Well, never mind, just foolin' ya about outsourcing the cops!" Coincidentally,the city council holds a closed session meeting starting at 5:30 PM this past Monday night before the council meeting, and then the secret press release appears on a local blog on Thursday. (Thank you, Pacifica Index) Ya think we might have another Brown Act violation committed at that meeting, whereby a public policy decision got made in closed session? It must be a coincidence. Yeah, the DA's office is the place to go, folks.
Michael G. Stogner August 22, 2012 at 04:15 PM
To the residents of Pacifica, I am a citizen who has no confidence in the leadership of our San Mateo County Sheriff's Office specifically Sheriff Greg Munks and Under-Sheriff Carlos Bolanos, I have personally asked by certified mail 5/14/2007 for both of them to resign. Now with that said, I live in San Carlos which has outsourced it's Police Department to the Sheriff's Office, I am pleased to report the transition has had no negative impact whatsoever it was smooth and professional. Also I think it has been a plus for all of our police officers. Bottom line it has been a positive experience. Hope this helps
Michael G. Stogner August 22, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Gary, I agree with you on your assessment of District Attorney Keith Sorenson, and I would add I think District Attorney Louis B. Dematteis was the BEST DA for the people of San Mateo County.
Gary Mondfrans for Pacifica August 30, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Does every feel as Hutch seems to that the full burden of Pacifica's ills are because of the public employees who work here. I've just retired as a Public Employee with the City & County, in my Department of Emergency Management were considered "essential" and were not given any furlough days due to fact that we functioned on -mandatory overtime-. In fact my paycheck was docked to supplement other City workers incomes who were shorter due to overtime. In Pacifica the Public Works Dept. get more calls for service than the Police Dept., source that Sunday Study Session I attended. I think that the City and public employees can come to an accommodation to met the needs of a sustainable future, but do you really think it fair to always put the blame on City Employees when the real problem is a failure to provide City leadership. Gary J. Mondfrans eMailto:Elect.Gary.Mondfrans@USA.com
hutch August 30, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Gary I'm glad you were finally honest in admitting your strong bias towards your Union brothers and sisters. I can understand your unwillingness to admit more cuts are needed to avert our possible bankruptcy. Unfortunately while we all appreciate our employees, a quick read of any paper will reveal city after city is being brought to its knees over unfunded pensions, wages and benefits that were won by giant government unions in the boom years. Annual pension costs rose by 2,000% from 1999 to 2009. They are now unsustainable. Here's some reading for you Gary in case you missed this today http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_21417781/democratic-lawmakers-release-pension-fixes

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