Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Supervisor Glover seeks people who want to help improve their communities

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Applications now available for advisory boards, commissions and committees

Supervisor Federal Glover has announced opportunities for District 5 residents to make decisions affecting their communities by serving on an advisory board, commission or committee in Contra Costa County.

“A lot of policies begin in theses county commission and boards,” he said. “This is a great opportunity for people who have a desire to make difference.”

Glover is seeking to fill openings on the following advisory bodies: Alcohol and Other Drugs Advisory Board; Contra Costa County Mental Health Commission; County Service Area R-10 Citizens Advisory Committee; County Service Area M-16 Citizens Advisory Committee; Crockett-Carquinez FPD Fire Advisory Commission; First 5 Contra Costa Children and Families Commission; Library Commission; Pacheco Munipal Advisory Council; and West Contra Costa Unified School District, Citizens Bond Oversight Committee.

Commissions are appointed by the Board of Supervisors based on the recommendation of the  Supervisor Glover. Interested individuals should contact his office at (925) 335-8200 to obtain an application form. Completed applications must be received in Supervisor Glover’s office by close of business Friday February 10, 2017.

Alcohol and Other Drugs Advisory Board: the mission of the Contra Costa County Alcohol and Other Drugs Advisory Board is to assess family and community needs regarding treatment and prevention of alcohol and drug abuse problems. They report their findings and recommendations to the Contra Costa Health Services Department, the Board of Supervisors and the communities they serve. The Board works in collaboration with the Alcohol and Other Drugs Services Division of Contra Costa Health Services. They provide input and recommendations as they pertain to alcohol and other drugs prevention, intervention, and treatment services. The current 3 seats that need to be filled: District V-A, District V-B, and District V-C. The Board meets the 4th Wednesday of every month at 4 p.m. at 1220 Morello Avenue, Suite 200, Martinez. The current openings have three year terms ending June 30, 2019. For additional information call Fatima Matal Sol at (925) 335-3307.

Contra Costa County Mental Health Commission: members review and evaluate the community’s mental health needs, services, facilities, and special problems; to review any County agreements entered into pursuant to Section 5650 of the Welfare and Institutions Code; to advise the governing body and local mental health director as to any aspect of the local mental health program; to submit an annual report to the Board of Supervisors; review and make recommendations regarding the appointment of a local director of mental health services; review the County’s performance outcome data and communicate its findings to the State Mental Health Commission; and assess the impact of the realignment of services from the State to the County on services delivered to clients and the local community. The current seats are for 1 District V Family Member Seat, 1 District V Member-At-Large Seat, and 1 District V Consumer Member Seat. The Committee meets the 4th Thursday of every month at 4:30 p.m. at 2730 Grant St. Classroom A, Concord. The current openings have terms ending June 30, 2018. For additional information call Karen Shuler at (925) 957-5140.

County Service Area R-10 Citizens Advisory Committee: members advise the Board of Supervisors on the desires of the community in the area of local park and recreation facilities and services. The current seat is for 1 Regular Seat. The Committee meets the 2nd Monday of every month at 7 p.m. at Lefty Gomez Field Recreation Building, Rodeo. The current regular opening has a term ending June 30, 2018. For additional information call Susan Cohen at (925) 313-2160.

County Service Area M-16 Citizens Advisory Committee: advises the Board of Supervisors and the administrative department regarding the desires of the community of Clyde in the following areas: Street lighting facilities and services, recreation and park services. The seats that are open are for 2 Alternate Members. The Board meets as needed. The current regular opening has a term ending Dec. 31, 2018. For information call Lynn Reichard-Enea at (925) 427-8138.

Crockett-Carquinez FPD Fire Advisory Commission: to review and advise on annual operations and capital budgets; to review district expenditures; to review and advise on long-range capital improvement plans; pursuant to district ordinance to serve as the Appeals Board on weed abatement matters; to advise the Fire Chief on district service matters. The seats that are open are for 3 Regular Members. The Board meets the 3rd Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. at 746 Loring Avenue, Crockett.  The current regular opening has a term ending Dec. 31, 2018.  For information call Gerald Littleton at (510) 787-2717.

First 5 Contra Costa Children and Families Commission: commission shall adopt an adequate and complete County strategic plan for the support and improvement of early childhood development within the County. The seat that is open is for 1 Regular Member and 1 Alternate Member. The commission meets the 1st Monday of every month at 6 p.m. at 1485 Enea Court, Suite 1200, Concord. The current alternate opening has a term ending Dec. 31, 2018. For information, call Sean Casey, (925) 771-7316.

Library Commission: serves in an advisory capacity to the Board of Supervisors and the County Librarian; to provide a community linkage to the County Library; to establish a forum for the community to express its views regarding goals and operations of the County Library; to assist the Board of Supervisors and the County Librarian to provide library services based on assessed public needs; and to develop and recommend proposals to the Board of Supervisors and the County Librarian for the betterment of the County Library including, but not limited to, such efforts as insuring a stable and adequate funding level for the libraries in the County. There are 2 current seats available: one Regular Seat and one Alternate seat. The commission meets the 4th Thursday of every other month from 7-9 p.m. at 75 Santa Barbara, Pleasant Hill. The current regular opening has a term ending June 30, 2018. For additional information call Brooke Converse at (925) 646-6423.

Pacheco Municipal Advisory Council: role is to advise the Board on services which are or may be provided to the community by the County or other government agencies, feasibility of organizing the existing special districts serving the community in order to provide public services such as, but not limited to, water, sewer, fire and park and recreation; and to represent the community before LAFCO and the County Planning Commission and the Zoning Administrator, and to provide input and reports to the Board, County staff or any County body on issues of concern to the community. The opening is for 1 Regular Seat. The council meets the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at 5800 Pacheco Blvd., Pacheco. The current regular and alternate opening has a term ending Dec. 31, 2020. For information, call Lynn Reichard-Enea at (925) 427-8138.

Rodeo Municipal Advisory Council: role is to advise the Board on services which are or may be provided to the community by the County or other government agencies, feasibility of organizing the existing special districts serving the community in order to provide public services such as, but not limited to, water, sewer, fire and park and recreation; and to represent the community before LAFCO and the County Planning Commission and the Zoning Administrator and to provide input and reports to the Board, County staff or

any County body on issues of concern to the community. The opening is for 1 Regular Seat. The council meets the 4th Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m. at 199 Parker Avenue, Rodeo. The current regular term ends Dec. 31, 2020. For information, call Vincent Manuel at (925) 427-8138.

West Contra Costa Unified School District, Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee: the purpose of the Committee is to inform the public concerning the expenditure and uses of bond revenues.  The committee’s legal charge is to actively review and report on the expenditures of taxpayer’s money for school construction.  The current seat is for 1 Regular Seat.  The Committee meets once a month on the 3rd Wednesday of every month 6:00-8:30 p.m. at 1400 Marina South, Richmond.  The current regular opening has a term ending June 30, 2018.  For additional information call Luis Freese at (510) 307-4544.

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Supervisor Burgis announces committee, board and commission assignments

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Last Tuesday, January 10, 2017, County Supervisor Diane Burgis was officially sworn into office, representing District III on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. The district includes most of Antioch, and all of Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Bethel Island, Byron and Knightsen in East County, as well as Blackhawk, Diablo and Camino Tassajara in the San Ramon Valley.

“It’s truly an honor to have earned the trust and confidence of the voters of District Three,” said Supervisor Diane Burgis. “I’m excited to follow in the footsteps of East County’s loyal advocate, Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho, and to work hard for my constituents defending the Delta, improving public safety and strengthening our local economy.”

During last Tuesday’s meeting each board was also appointed to various county committee and regional boards and commissions. Supervisor Burgis was appointed to the following posts:

Chair:

• Transportation, Water and Infrastructure Committee

Vice Chair:

• Airport Committee

• East County Transportation Planning (TRANSPLAN)

• Internal Operations Committee

• Legislation Committee

• Open Space/Parks & East Bay Regional Parks District Liaison Committee

• State Route 4 Bypass Authority

Commissioner:

• Delta Protection Commission

Director:

• Tri Delta Transit Authority Board

Member:

• California Identification System Remote Access Network Board

• City-County Relations Committee

• Dougherty Valley Oversight Committee

• East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy Governing Board

• East Contra Costa Regional Fee & Finance Authority

• East County Water Management Association

• eBART Partnership Policy Advisory Committee

• Northern Waterfront Economic Development Ad Hoc Committee

Alternate Member:

• Association of Bay Area Counties Executive Board

• Contra Costa Transportation Authority Board

• Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO)

• Mental Health Commission

• Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy Board

In her first term, Diane’s policy priorities include:

• Transportation infrastructure improvements and expansion

• Responsible stewardship of natural resources, open space and the Delta

• Preservation and revitalization of the county’s agricultural core

• Faster police, fire and emergency response times

• Efficient and effective delivery of county services

Prior to her election as a County Supervisor, Diane was the Executive Director of Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed and also served as:

• Ward 7 Director of the East Bay Regional Park District

• Oakley City Councilmember

• Delta Protection Commission Member

• Association of Bay Area Governments Regional Planning Committee Member

Click here for additional information about the office of Supervisor Diane Burgis.

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$1M of Measure C funds spent on administration, not more police

Monday, January 16th, 2017

Antioch Council to continue spending same amount, but not from police budget

By Dave Roberts

When 68% of Antioch voters approved the Measure C half-cent sales tax hike in 2013, the ballot measure said the money would be used to hire 22 more police, plus code enforcement officers as well as help economic development and job creation. The ballot wording didn’t mention that the money would also be used for city government administration, but that’s where more than $1 million of Measure C funds is being spent.

The sales tax had raised $13.3 million as of June 30, 2016. This has provided for the hiring of nine additional police officers and filling more than a half-dozen community service officer and code enforcement positions.

But not all of that money is devoted to public safety salaries and benefits. About 8% goes to what the city budget refers to as “internal services.” Nearly half of internal services revenue goes to the city finance department to provide payroll, accounting and purchasing services. The rest is divided among other city departments, including the city manager, attorney, clerk, human resources, city council and facilities maintenance.

The share of Measure C money going to administrative overhead for the police department has increased from 7.1% two years ago to 8.5% last year and 8% in the current fiscal year. Citywide the percentage budgeted for internal services has grown from 5.6% in 2012 to 6.3% from 2013-15 to 7.8% in 2016 and to 8.1% in 2017. The percentages are based on a formula in the city’s Cost Allocation Plan, which was adopted in 2005, and the growth in the internal services departments.

The increased cost of administration, particularly paid for with Measure C funds, created concerns at last week’s City Council meeting. Sal Sbranti, a former member of the Measure C Citizens Oversight Committee, acknowledged to the council that Measure C funds can be used for administration, but he questioned whether city administrators are taking advantage of the increased sales tax funding for public safety to beef up their own departments.

“The question deserves to be asked as to why this [administrative] allocation continues to rise at such a rate,” he said. “Every year the amount going to citywide administration goes up regardless of whether it meets Measure C guidelines or not. The committee formal report stated that due to the way the city budgets the police department for Measure C, the committee has some concerns as to whether all Measure C monies are being properly utilized to meet the objective of this measure.

“We the citizens of Antioch voted for Measure C to reduce crime, increase code enforcement, reduce 911 response times and to minimize blight. What do we get? More money spent on HR, city manager’s office, city council, city attorney – just amazing. In the last six years citywide administration has gone from $1.44 million to $3.152 million. That’s you guys approving a budget. You approved them to double their budget in six years. In the same period of time the police department only went up 52%. So who’s putting the control on citywide administration, HR, all those functions?

“Measure C is to take care of the crime in the city of Antioch. If we continue to spend money on HR, finance, the attorney and other citywide administration, at the end of the Measure C sunset [in 2021] we’ll not have the money to continue with the number of police that we have. They should not be taking Measure C money to do this. That was not what the City Council told us they were going to do. That is not what we voted on.”

Sbranti’s concerns were shared by several council members.

“I understand the Cost Allocation Plan, I understand the purpose of it,” said Mayor Sean Wright. “As somebody who worked on Measure C to help get it passed, I also understand the consternation of watching Measure C money get spent on other sources that are not helping to directly improve the safety of our community.”

Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, who had asked that the issue be placed on the council agenda, shared the mayor’s understandings and suggested two budgeting options.

“I asked for Measure C just to go toward these officers,” she said, “and the other one was to just flat out remove the Measure C cost allocation of the citywide administration fee. Or to keep doing it the way we’ve been doing it. I do trust that [city administrators are] doing it correctly and that the percentage has not changed. I understand the math where if the funds go up, the amount is going to go up. It does make sense. I do understand what people are saying the [administration] funds should not come out of Measure C funds. I have agreed with that.”

Also concerned was Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe who questioned why administrative costs had risen so much when the police department only had a net increase of less than a dozen police officers.

City Finance Director Dawn Merchant responded, “The police department has the largest share of employees of any department in the city. So we spend more resources with police department payroll versus other departments. It’s not just payroll. We pay accounts payable invoices, any money they collect we do the billing. There are a wide variety of services that finance does.”

Thorpe was skeptical, asking “For 10 additional people?”

Merchant responded, “It’s not just 10 additional people. It’s in total for the entire police department.”

City Manager Steven Duran jumped in, saying, “It doesn’t matter if there’s 10 additional people or 10 less people. The pie that’s divided is the cost of internal services. And the formula is the Cost Allocation Plan. Whether Measure C ever existed or not, the formula stays the same. So it’s nothing that anybody does except apply the math that’s in the plan. It doesn’t matter how many hires we’ve had.

“I think one of the things that some of the detractors have been emphasizing is how much it went up since 2012. That’s because when there were layoffs and furloughs prior to that, it went down. So, for instance, the city attorney has been sharing half of an administrative person and gone without a legal secretary for several years. In this year we budgeted for a legal secretary, therefore the city attorney’s budget is going up. Therefore every other department that pays internal services, they are going to pay a little more for the city attorney – police department, water, sewer, everyone. The formula doesn’t change, and it doesn’t matter what the other departments are doing or how many they have added.”

Thorpe seemed mollified, but he took exception to Duran’s characterization of the people concerned about Measure C money going to escalating administration.

“I hear you and I hear the point that if they hired no police officers and I guess if they had no additional invoices to process, it would still be the same,” said Thorpe. “I was trying to figure out how the formula [came to be] and who decided the percentage. And you’re telling me that it’s a formula that already exists, so I’m understanding that.

“I just have to point out that these are not detractors, Mr. City Manager. These are residents who have concerns, and they bring those concerns to us. So we have to take those concerns seriously. So if it frustrates you that we ask these questions, I’m sorry. But we are going to ask these questions. So I want to make clear that there are people who have concerns out there. I ask these questions to be open and transparent so that folks understand what the process is.

“So now I understand that there’s a formula. Whether it should be applied to Measure C is a starting point that I would like to discuss. Because that seems to be a concern that residents have.”

To address that concern, Wright made a motion that was unanimously passed by the council to direct Merchant to not include the administrative cost charges in the Measure C budget.

Merchant told the council that the administrative overhead would instead be shown to come out of the general fund budget, but the money being spent on administration in the overall budget would remain the same. “The expenditure is going to be there,” she said. “It’s just whether we say it’s a part of the equation for Measure C.”

Councilman Tony Tiscareno echoed Merchant, saying, “I want to make it clear that the public needs to know that there isn’t going to be a difference in cost allocation. It’s going to be the same. It’s coming from one column to another column. The reason I didn’t question the Measure C cost allocation at the time is because it was transparent to me, I saw firsthand where the money was going, knowing the money was being spent like it was supposed to be spent. We wanted to use it for hiring police and code enforcement. And I think we’ve done so.

“But we need to be transparent about all our expenditures where the money goes. This just makes it a little simpler for me to view it. But for folks that believe that this may help extend Measure C, I’ll play. But it’s still money being spent that has to be spent.”

The council is scheduled to begin reviewing the 2017-19 budget in April and to adopt it by July.

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Burgis sworn in as new County Supervisor, announcing final term Glover becomes new Board Chair for 2017

Thursday, January 12th, 2017
Former Congressman George Miller administers the oaths of office to new Contra Costa County Supervisor Diane Burgis, left, and re-elected Supervisors Federal Glover and Candace Andersen, Tuesday, January 10, 2017 as Supervisors Karen Mitchoff and John Gioia look on. photos by Jonathan Bash

Former Congressman George Miller administers the oaths of office to new Contra Costa County Supervisor Diane Burgis, left, and re-elected Supervisors Federal Glover and Candace Andersen, Tuesday, January 10, 2017 as Supervisors Karen Mitchoff and John Gioia look on. Photos by Jonathan Bash

By Veronica Hampton

Diane Burgis became a new member of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, and re-elected Supervisor Federal Glover was voted in as Chair of the Board for this year, during the board meeting on Tuesday, January 10. During the procedures, Glover announced this will be his last term on the board.

The meeting began with the presentation of colors by veterans groups from Pittsburg and Martinez. Oakley veteran, Randy “Smitty” Smith, led the Pledge of Allegiance and county Senior Deputy Administrator Julie Enea led in the singing of the National Anthem. Re-elected District 2 Supervisor and out-going Chair for 2016, Candace Andersen opened with an inspirational thought for the day by Michelangelo.

“The greater danger for most of us isn’t that our aim is too high and miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it,” she said.

Former Congressman George Miller administered the oaths of office to both the new and returning Supervisors, Burgis for Supervisor for District 3, which includes portions of Antioch, Andersen who was re-elected without opposition and Glover who began his fifth term as Supervisor for District 5 which includes the other portions of Antioch.

Diane Burgis in her new seat on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

Diane Burgis in her new seat on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

Burgis, a long time resident of the county, was welcomed to the board and paid homage to her alma mater, saying “Go Bulldogs” and then thanked her family for their support. She expressed her eagerness to start working with the board and introduced members of her staff, stating she is confident with their help and support they can “help Contra Costa meets its full potential.”

Burgis recognized her predecessor, Mary Piepho, thanking her for her encouragement, saying they share the same goals for Contra Costa County.

“In my district, I want to grow our economy while protecting our natural resources, including our precious Delta, provide quality public service, [and] protect the most vulnerable amongst us, while practicing fiscal responsibility and prudence,” Burgis stated.

In her outgoing remarks as Chair, Andersen thanked the board, staff and family for their support and hard work during her term.  She stated she is “grateful” to be re-elected and welcomes collaborating with Glover, in his new role as chair, and with Burgis, as well as the other supervisors.

“I am looking forward to working with my colleagues, both new and old as we continue to serve Contra Costa County,” she said.

Anderson hopes that the county’s past accomplishments can continue to produce new accomplishments for 2017. Focus will continue on the research and resources for mental health for county inmates.

“Next Saturday, Board and County Members will travel to Sacramento to attend the Stepping Up Summit, to look at Best Practices on this issue,” Andersen shared. “With the reopening of Pittsburg Fire Station 87, focus will continue on reopening station 16 in Lafayette. The County will continue to further their alliance with AMR and continue to work on faster medical emergency response times.”

Anderson was presented a gift of appreciation by Glover and the board and he thanked her for “making a solid voice for Contra Costa and for handling difficult decisions with style and grace.”

County Clerk Joe Canciamilla swore Glover as the new Board Chair and District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff as the new Vice Chair of the Board for 2017.

The new Board of Supervisors for 2017 with Federal Glover as Chair. photo by Jonathan Bash

The new Board of Supervisors for 2017 with Federal Glover as Chair.

In his remarks, Glover announced “that this will be his last term, but it will be his best term.” He said he will continue to strive to make “one Contra Costa County,” and to maintain the county’s AAA bond rating from Standard and Poor’s. Focus will continue on developing employment opportunities.

He will continue to strive to make “one Contra Costa County,” and to maintain the county’s AAA bond rating from Standard and Poor’s. Focus will continue on developing employment opportunities.

Four years ago, Glover asked the Board to look into the revitalization of the northern waterfront in the county as a means of employment opportunities.  He will continue to pursue that but also as a means of goods movement.

“Revitalizing the waterfront will not only continue to bring us opportunity for job development but also open up an infrastructure that hasn’t been used in our waterway that will go good for goods movement that will allow us to continue roadwork that is so important,” he stated.

Glover hopes that this will eventually lead to other routes created within the state and other opportunities surrounding the Byron Airport. He then thanked the board, county and his family for their support during his term.

Glover reflected on his past health issues and thanked the county and board for their support during that time. He also thanked Miller and Canciamilla as inspirations and mentors in Glover’s political career.

Both Mitchoff and District 1 Supervisor John Gioia welcomed back their fellow board members, and Burgis, offering well wishes to each other for the New Year.  Both thanked their staff for their continued support.

Mitchoff recognized the new library opening this year in Pleasant Hill. Gioia reiterated the county’s success with the AMR alliance and faster medical response times. The Board joined together to sing Happy Birthday to Gioia and wished him well. Mitchoff stressed the importance of encouraging people to run for office.  Contra Costa County is one of the five counties, out of the 58 in the state, which have a female majority on their board.

“It is not a bad thing to put good people in office,” she stated.

During Public Comments, Marianna Moore, Director of the Ensuring Opportunity Campaign to End Poverty in Contra Costa thanked and congratulated members of the Board but also thanked Burgis for acknowledging her goal to protect the “most vulnerable amongst us.” Moore stressed the need to work together as the fear of the negative impact that will affect the county’s budgeting and programs, when the new federal administration takes over.  She stressed the need to create a sense of safety throughout the county and to continue to work as one Contra Costa County.

Debbie Toth, CEO of Rehabilitation Services of Northern California, which operates the Mt. Diablo Center for Adult Day Health Care, spoke after Moore and “echoed her sentiments” citing her major concern for the increase in senior homelessness, “that is the greatest number in poverty” and will continue to increase.

Pest Detection Specialist for Contra Costa County Department of Agriculture, Lindsay Skidmore of Lafayette, requested that when the labor contract between Local 1 and the County is reviewed, the A-2 medial plan not be removed.  Currently the new contract will not have this, leaving many without a subsidized health care plan, causing a negative impact on the income of many.

A motion was then passed to approve Glover’s nominations of Board Members to be appointed to various county committees and regional boards and commissions.

The meeting was adjourned in memory of former Danville Mayor Richard Waldo, and Richard “Brad” Nail, the former Director of Economic Development of Pittsburg.

Burgis in here new District Office in Brentwood, during a reception on Tuesday evening, January 10th. Photo by Allen Payton

Burgis in here new District Office in Brentwood, during a reception on Tuesday evening, January 10th. Photo by Allen Payton

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Wright faces first challenge as Mayor with split votes on Council committee assignments

Friday, December 16th, 2016

Council forms benefit district to pay for road, other improvements for long-planned employment area

By Nick Goodrich

During the Antioch City Council meeting, Tuesday night, December 13, Mayor Sean Wright presided over his first agenda with action items and faced his first challenge and split votes. They were a result of his choices in which council members he nominated to represent the city on various city and regional committees.

In other council action, they formed the East Lone Tree Benefit District for fees on new home developments to pay for the completion of Slatten Ranch Road, and and heard about the county’s efforts to help the homeless in Antioch.

Challenge Over Transportation Committee Appointments

Wright’s first challenge occurred at the end of the meeting, when his nominations for appointments of council members to city and regional committees resulted in a 3-2 split in votes over Wright’s assignments and a 4-1 split over Council Member Tony Tiscareno’s.

A vote was taken for the appointments for each council member. Both Tiscareno and Council Member Lori Ogorchock voted against Wright’s and Ogorchock provided the lone vote against Tiscareno’s. The appointments last for two years through December, 2018.

Wright ended up with seven committee assignments; Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe with two and two alternate positions; Council Member Monica Wilson has five assignments with three alternate positions; Tiscareno has four assignments and Ogorchock was given two.

The council split occurred when Wright chose not to reappoint Tiscareno to represent the City on TRANSPLAN and two other East County transportation committees, but nominated himself instead. TRANSPLAN is the East County division of and advisory board to the Contra Costa Transportation Authority. The other two are the State Route 4 Bypass Authority and the East Contra Costa Regional Fee & Financing Authority, which collects developer fees for transportation improvements.

During the council’s discussion of the appointments, Ogorchock took issue with the move, noting Tiscareno’s history at the position and recent success he has seen in bringing BART to Antioch. Tiscareno said that he had asked Wright to maintain his seat on the committee.

“Mr. Tiscareno has a history with the TRANSPLAN committee,” Ogorchock told Wright. “With his connections, and the history that he has, I’d request that you place him [on the committee], and then yourself as an alternate…This is lopsided. You have to have someone that’s going to be there on a regular basis, who has that history with these companies. I don’t get this. This is frustrating. I don’t know what we’re doing.”

Wright denied the request. With his removal from TRANSPLAN, Tiscareno now does not sit on any committees that meet regularly. Although he ultimately stated he was “OK” with Wright replacing him, Tiscareno worried that the new mayor was taking on more than he could reasonably handle.

“What I’m seeing here is that you’ve taken quite a bit of responsibility with these committees, and it’s leaving some of us here out of the loop,” he said. “I’m having a bit of an issue with not having any responsibility.”

Ogorchock was visibly frustrated with the appointment, leading to a few tense minutes as Wright refused to budge.

“This is very disrespectful. I don’t approve of any of this,” she said. “This is not right.”

Tiscareno also declined to serve as Wright’s alternate to the transportation committees. Instead, Wilson, who had previously served as the city’s alternate to the committees, was appointed to be the alternate, again.

Same Assignments for Past Antioch Mayors

However, previous Antioch Mayors have also nominated themselves to represent the City on the East County transportation committees, including Joel Keller, Don Freitas and Wade Harper. Neither Mary Rocha nor Jim Davis served on the transportation committees when they each served as Mayor. Harper served on the transportation committees for the first two years of his term and then appointed Tiscareno to serve on them for the past two years.

When reached for comment about the matter, Wright said, “I appointed myself to the same committees that other mayors have appointed themselves to in the past, for the betterment of Antioch.”

Ultimately, the Council split 3-2 in voting on Wright’s appointments, which included TRANSPLAN and the other transportation committees. Ogorchock and Tiscareno dissented, while Wright was supported by Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe and Councilmember Monica Wilson.

Rocha Appointed to Tri Delta Transit Bus System Board

In an unusual move, Wright nominated former Councilwoman Mary Rocha as Antioch’s other representative, along with Wilson, to the Board of Directors for Tri Delta Transit, known as the Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority, which operates the bus system in Antioch and East County. Each city gets two representatives on the board, which Rocha has been serving on, and is currently its Vice President, through next June.

See below the complete list of the council members’ committee assignments or to view the list, click here: council-appointments-dec-2016-dec-2018

Benefit District to Help Create New Employment Area

Map of the East Lone Tree Specific Plan and Benefit District area.

Map of the East Lone Tree Specific Plan and Benefit District area.

A second and final public hearing was held to formally create the East Lone Tree Benefit District, after the Council resolved during their November 8th meeting to complete the process. Plans for the District were laid out by the City Council in 1996 when it formed the East Lone Tree Specific Plan. It allows for the financing of infrastructure in the area north and east of the Highway 4 Bypass surrounding the Laurel Road interchange, and north of the Slatten Ranch Shopping Center. That area has been planned for employment since it’s specific plan’s adoption.

The formal creation of the district authorizes the levy and collection of fees on new homes to pay for certain public improvements, such as streets, water and sewer lines. The payment of fees to the city by the developer are “a condition of the approval of a subdivision map or as a condition of issuing a building permit for the purposes of defraying the actual or estimated cost of constructing public facilities which benefit the developments subject to the fees,” according to the staff report.

The fees will help pay for the estimated $36 million of cost for improvements in the area, approved in 1996. Those include construction of a portion of Slatten Ranch Road between the J.C. Penney building and Laurel Road, extending to portion that currently ends at the new eBART maintenance facility. In addition, the fees will pay for the related infrastructure including storm drain, water line, sanitary sewer, utilities, and East Antioch Creek Trail and landscaping improvements.

The first subdivision to be affected by the per home fee, will be the Park Ridge project currently underway by developer Davidon Homes. Steve Abs, representing Davidon, spoke to the council and staff to relay his thanks for their help in allowing the project to move forward.

Park Ridge was approved by the Council in 2010, he told the audience, and said the creation of the District couldn’t have come at a better time, as Davidon is gearing up to begin construction.

“We’re excited to finally move forward,” he said.

The Council approved the new benefit district on 5-0 vote.

To see the Engineer’s Report on the East Lone Tree Specific Plan, please click here: engineers-report-eltsp-phase-ii

Homeless Outreach Action Plan

The Council also voted to allocate $17,000 from the city’s Housing Successor fund toward homeless outreach services, on Tuesday.

The previous Council had adopted a Homeless Outreach plan in May of this year, committing $2.15 million to helping Antioch’s lower income residents and neighborhoods.

However, because Contra Costa County reorganized its approach to providing homeless services, the County will now oversee all homeless outreach services, to ensure that all teams operate with the same standards and protocol.

The County is contracting Anka Behavioral Health to implement outreach on evenings and weekends, and the allocation of the $17,000 represents Antioch’s part in funding their program.

For now, the contract with Anka is set to expire in June 2017, but is expected to be renewed by the County for a three-year cycle next year.

Council Committee Assignments

Mayor Wright

Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG)

Delta Diablo Sanitation District Board

Mayor’s Conference

City/School Relations Committee

Budget Committee

Lone Tree Golf Course Committee

Sycamore Corridor Committee

Transportation Committees:

TRANSPLAN

State Route 4 Bypass Authority

East Contra Costa Regional Fee and Financing Authority

Mayor Pro Tem Thorpe

East County Water Management Association

Budget Comittee

Alternate, Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG)

Alternate, Mayor’s Conference

Council Member Wilson

Chamber of Commerce Liaison

Community Facilities District CFD 89-1 Board (Mello-Roos)

Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority Board of Directors (Tri Delta Transit bus system)

City/School Relations Committee

Sycamore Corridor Committee

Transportation Committees:

Alternate, TRANSPLAN

Alternate, State Route 4 Bypass Authority

Alternate, East Contra Costa Regional Fee and Financing Authority

Council Member Tiscareno

Community Advisory Board – S.F. Bay Water Emergency Transit Authority (ferry system)

CDBG Committee (Community Development Block Grant)

Graffiti Committee

Lone Tree Golf Course Committee

Council Member Ogorchock

Community Facilities District CFD 89-1 Board (Mello-Roos)

East Bay Division (League of California Cities)

Northeast Antioch Annexation

CDBG Committee (Community Development Block Grant)

Former Council Member Rocha

Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority Board of Directors (Tri Delta Transit bus system)

 

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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New Antioch Council holds busy first meeting, extends marijuana ban

Friday, December 16th, 2016

Hears from Save the Yard supporters about proposed downtown park and event center

By Nick Goodrich

On Tuesday, December 13th, the Antioch City Council held its first meeting with a new Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem.

As a result of the November elections, Dr. Sean Wright oversaw his first council meeting, having unseated Wade Harper as Antioch’s Mayor, and Lamar Thorpe replaced Lori Ogorchock as Mayor Pro Tem. Wilson was re-elected to the council, and Ogorchock and Tony Tiscareno continue in their roles as council members.

Wright appeared comfortable and confident throughout the meeting, as the newly formed city council oversaw a number of public hearings, heard from residents about the historic Antioch Lumber Company lot, and grappled with the extending restrictions on marijuana within city limits.

Public Comments

The ongoing saga of the city’s deal to build townhomes on the site of downtown Antioch’s Beede Lumber Yard continued into the new council, as “Save the Yard” supporters once again showed up in force to protest the city’s decision to forego a park and event center on the site.

The council members were also nominated and appointed to various assignments representing the council on city committees and the city on regional committees.

Hoping to convince the new Council to reverse the direction of its predecessor, Leigh Ballesteros of Celebrate Antioch asked for the opportunity to privately build and manage the proposed park and event center for two years.

Celebrate Antioch’s goal, to prove to the Council that a new event center could be built and maintained with limited costs to the city, would require Antioch to cancel its deal with City Ventures, which currently gives the developer exclusive negotiation rights for the former Beede parcel.

Ballesteros noted that Celebrate Antioch already has much of the necessary funding for its project, and a plan in place to ensure its success.

Joy Motts, Celebrate Antioch’s Treasurer and Fundraising Chair, read from the City’s General Plan, which designates Antioch’s downtown waterfront as a possible “town square” and gathering place.

“Fulfill the wishes of the people you represent,” she told the council. “It’s time to talk about the Antioch Rivertown Town Square.”

Rick Stadtlander, Save the Yard’s Director of Fundraising, also pointed out that townhomes would detract from Antioch’s beautiful waterfront view.

Stadtlander spoke of his two grown sons, who have become disenchanted with Antioch and intend to leave, as an example of Antioch’s struggles in making the city an attractive and desirable place to live.

“The people don’t support homes on the Lumber Yard,” he said. “A park and event center will attract many more people, and their wallets.”

Interim Urgency Marijuana Ordinance Extended

The first public hearing overseen by the new Council involved the city’s policy on marijuana use, after the passing of Proposition 64 in November.

The council’s initial ordinance, adopted on November 8th, put a freeze on the status of all non-medical marijuana use within Antioch for a period of 45 days, while the city decided how to proceed on its marijuana policy, going forward.

On Tuesday, they chose to extend the interim ordinance for a period of 10 months and 15 days, with an expiration date slated for October 2017.

The continuation of the ordinance extends the ban on marijuana dispensaries and deliveries, prohibits outdoor cultivation for personal use, and essentially allows for no commercial activities involving the drug until Prop 64 takes full effect in January of 2018.

Under Prop 64, cities cannot prohibit indoor cultivation for personal use, but can “reasonably regulate” it. The Council directed city staff to explore ways to regulate indoor growing without outright discouraging or banning it, which is now illegal under California state law.

Despite a spirited discussion, the Council was united in its sentiment that recreational marijuana should be postponed in Antioch for as long as possible.

The council called on Antioch Police Chief Allan Cantando during the hearing to share his opinion.

Cantando was firmly of the opinion that Antioch should hold off on allowing non-medical marijuana until required to by state law in 2018. He cited a potential increase in crime as a major reason, in a city already plagued by a high crime rate and understaffed Police Department.

Cantando was also concerned by the difficulties he believed other states were experiencing after legalizing recreational marijuana.

“I think that we should postpone this for as long as we can,” he told the council.

Tiscareno and Thorpe, while not entirely in support of legalization, did note that most voting precincts in Antioch showed heavy support for Prop 64, with 65% of residents voting in favor of the measure.

Tiscareno also raised the question of increased tax revenue as a result of regulations, which the city could be missing out on for the next 10 months if the current ordinance stands.

Several Antioch residents stepped up to share their opinions, as well.

Mark Jordan, a real estate broker in Antioch, suggested that the city add cultivation to the rental registration process, and can perhaps add fees to growers. Brian Eloff noted Colorado’s $2.3 billion increase in tax revenue since it legalized recreational marijuana in 2012.

Ogorchock was the most firmly opposed to legalization, and stated it was “a quality of life issue” for Antioch residents.

Wright weighed in as well, calling it a “complicated issue” and electing to stand with Chief Cantando’s opinion for the time being.

A 4/5 vote from Council was required to prolong the ordinance, but wasn’t needed as they voted unanimously in favor of extending it.

The City can revisit the ordinance and choose to end it at any time until it expires in 2017.

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Antioch gets new Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem during ceremonies Thursday night

Friday, December 9th, 2016
Dr. Sean Wright takes the oath of office administered by his uncle, Oakley Mayor Kevin Romick, with Wright's wife Lani holding the Bible, and their children by his side, during ceremonies, Thursday night. Photo by Michael Pohl.

Dr. Sean Wright takes the oath of office administered by his uncle, Oakley Mayor Kevin Romick, with Wright’s wife Lani holding the Bible, and their five children by his side, during ceremonies, Thursday night. Photo by Michael Pohl.

By Allen Payton

In front of a standing-room-only crowd inside the Antioch City Council Chambers, Dr. Sean Wright and Lamar Thorpe were given their oaths of office to become the city’s new mayor and newest council member during ceremonies, Thursday night. They joined re-elected Councilwoman Monica Wilson who was sworn in to her second term on the council, and Council Members Tony Tiscareno and Lori Ogorchock, on the dais. As the council candidate with the most votes in the race, Thorpe was then unanimously voted in as the new mayor pro tem, replacing Ogorchock who served in the position for the past two year, and then the two switched seats, placing him to Wright’s right. (View the Facebook live video of the reorganization by clicking here).

The evening began with the outgoing council’s vote to accept the results of the election, followed by farewell speeches by both Councilwoman Mary Rocha and Mayor Wade Harper, as well as speeches by their fellow council members. They were each also presented with a variety of presentations and plaques from the Antioch School Board, and representatives of State Senator Steve Glazer, Congressman Jerry McNerney and Assemblyman Jim Frazier, as well as First 5, a non-profit organization that serves young children in Antioch and the county.

Both Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen and City Treasurer Donna Conley were sworn into their positions, again, having each been re-elected without opposition.

Mayor Wright Takes Office

A standing ovation greeted Wright, as he walked to the podium for his oath of office, which was administered by his uncle and current Mayor of Oakley, Kevin Romick.

“Don’t cry, Sean” some ladies in the audience said.

“Yeah,” shouted supporter Kip Stephens from the back of the room.

Following his oath, Wright said, “I just want to thank all of you guys for coming.”

“This family I have I love dearly and I know they’re going to be with me,” he continued. “I look out there and think of how many of you have become my family. That’s what we need to be as Antioch, a family.”

After Wright took his seat at the dais, Ogorchock welcomed him to the council and said, “I’m here to help you in moving this community moving forward.”

Tiscareno offered his congratulations to Wright.

“I’ve seen some close elections and landslides we were able to see both in this election,” he stated. “Antioch spoke and want to see some change.”

Wright then offered his thoughts in his new position as the community’s leader.

“Thank you all for coming out tonight,” he said. He then mentioned having “the opportunity to sit down with the council members, today” to discuss working together and city business.

Wright used an analogy of the rainy weather which greeted him after waking up, yesterday morning.

“It’s been raining and drizzly all day,” he said, but then interrupted his thought to say “Mayor Harper thank you so much for your service and Mary Rocha, you as well.”

Back to his analogy, Wright said about the rain,“It cleans things. It gives a fresh start and that’s what I see in Antioch. What an opportunity we have as a city to become one.”

“I personally am tired of friends moving away,” he continued on a previous theme. “I want to see people choose to stay here. Where people…work, worship and play all in one place. A school system that we can be proud of that is a college going atmosphere.”

“Let the rain come and the spring come up and make Antioch where we want to live,” Wright said, continuing his weather analogy.

He then said he approached his new position with “nervous trepidation and optimistic excitement,” recognizing that “65% of you didn’t vote for me” but that “65% of you voted for change” and mentioning an election he thought would never end.

“I ask you to confirm me as your mayor with your prayers,”

He thanked his supporters which were diverse and then offered to quotes about service.

“I will be a mayor of all the people,” he said and then offered a quote from Ghandi about service to others.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others,” Wright shared. He also said, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room on earth,” quoting Muhammad Ali.

“Truth is the glue the holds government together,” he then stated. “I look forward to serving and to help shed light and bring us together.”

Wright spoke of how he will speak with “candor” and that “honesty is the best policy in the end.”

“Friends and neighbors a change is coming to Antioch,” he stated emphatically. “In the beginning I asked you to pray for me. In closing I ask for your prayers. I pray for the wisdom of Solomon.”

“I will serve Antioch with all my heart mind and strength,” Wright concluded.

Before the new mayor spoke, both Thorpe and Wilson gave their acceptance speeches.

Lamar Thorpe, with his wife Pat and their daughter Kennedy by his side, was given his oath of office by Supervisor-elect Diane Burgis. Photo by Michael Pohl.

Lamar Thorpe, with his wife Pat and their daughter Kennedy by his side, was given his oath of office by Supervisor-elect Diane Burgis. Photo by Michael Pohl.

Mayor Pro Tem Thorpe Sworn In

Thorpe was administered his oath of office by Diane Burgis, who was elected to the Board of Supervisors in November, with his wife Pat and their daughter Kennedy by his side. Burgis gave a high-five to Thorpe at the conclusion.

In introducing his family, he got choked up while trying to thank Pat.

“I want to thank her because she was the one who encouraged me to run this year,” Thorpe stated and then said to her, “Thank you for giving me the strength and encouragement.”

“I want to thank the current city council for their hard work,” he added then thanked his friends and family.

As he was heading to the dais, Ogorchock, who as the Mayor Pro Tem at the time, was running the meeting, after Harper had stepped down from his position, said “I got to say that’s the first time I’ve seen Lamar speechless,” to laughter from him and the audience.

After being seated in his new place, next to the mayor, Thorpe offered his formal thoughts about the election, saying “I was surprised by how many people voted for me,” and mentioning that on Election Night all he could say was, “Wow.”

He thanked County Supervisor-elect Diane Burgis and then gave thanks “to my mom who I know is watching over me today. She passed away a year ago.”

“She and my dad came here from Mexico. They took in foster kids. I was their very first.

“I want to make sure I represent the good people of Antioch not the special interests,” Thorpe stated. “Because this is your government.”

He then thanked his campaign manager and volunteers.

“There’s a lot of work that we’re going to have to get done,” he continued. “There are some tough challenges coming up in the next few years.”

He then thanked “the Archuletas (Keith and Iris) who have been invaluable,” and former Antioch Mayor Don Freitas.

“I want to focus on transparency and accountability,” Thorpe said. “We want to engage the community.”

He then spoke of his concerns with housing growth and the need for jobs in Antioch.

“ABAG (the Association of Bay Area Governments) has continued to fail Eastern Contra Costa County,” Thorp stated. “They’ve projected more houses and fewer jobs. That’s not sustainable. We must demand high quality jobs.”

He also spoke about the need for “smart growth and transit oriented development.”

“I’m not afraid to point it out because I don’t go along to get along,” Thorpe added.

He finished by saying he looked forward to working with the council and the community.

Re-elected Councilwoman Monica Wilson is given her oath of office by her brother Terrance, while their mother and Uncle

Re-elected Councilwoman Monica Wilson is given her oath of office by her brother Terrance, while their mother and Uncle Bob. P

Councilwoman Wilson Takes Oath for a Second Time

Wilson was given the oath of office by her brother, Terrance, with their mother and Uncle Bob standing by his side.

She then mentioned how “Four years ago when I was sworn in it happened so fast and so quickly I forgot to invite my Uncle Bob.” This time she did and he was there for the ceremony. She also mentioned her “older sister Melony is watching live from New York City.”

After taking her seat on the dais, Wilson shared her thoughts on and thanks for her re-election.

“I want to say thank you Antioch for reelecting me back to the city council,” she said. ‘I do want to thank someone who is here in spirit I want to thank Councilman Gary Agopian.”

“I want to thank Don Freitas for your advice, words of wisdom,” Wilson continued.

She thanked a friend who told her during the campaign to “suck it up and get it done.”

“I want to thank my mom,” Wilson said, choking back tears. “Whose always been there for me…even when times are hard. She walked for me, with me in the rain and the sunny days. She fell…and even got bit by a dog.”

“This is Antioch and a city we need to be proud of. We’ve been divided. We need to let go of that nonsense. Antioch still has challenges,” she continued and then spoke about the economic opportunities the city has

One of us is not as smart as all of us. We come together to make this city great,” Wilson concluded.

Benediction

Dr. Lamont Francies of the Delta Bay Church of Christ in Antioch ended the proceedings by offering the following benediction:

“Almighty God in Heaven, it is with humble hearts that we approach your throne of grace, you are the God who sits on high and looks down low. We give thanks to you Lord, for you are good, your mercy endureth forever. Tonight, we rejoice in the city’s peaceful transfer of power. This city, incorporated in 1872,  was named after the biblical town of Antioch. A city noted for it’s cultural diversity, its trade and commerce, a refuge city for all seeking a better life. As we stand here on the dawn of a new day in Antioch, let us live up to that legacy and practice what we have been positioned to do. We are the light of the world, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. For we know unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.

Bless this gateway to the Delta, to be a gateway to peace, partnerships and prosperity.

Let us put behind the politics of the past and look to the possibilities of the future. Help us to see the invisible so that we can do the impossible. Make this city one, as we strive for unity and not uniformity. Tonight we forsake who we are for the possibility of who we can become. Give our new mayor, Dr. Wright the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, and the compassion to lead us with charity. Bless and protect him, his wife Lani and their five children…place a hedge around their home and a pledge in their hearts.

When the city was sick Lord, you sent us a doctor, but we know that before he was elected, he was selected, raised up by you for such a time as this. You not only gave him sight but insight, You gave him a vision. The bible says without a vision, the people perish. So together like Moses we lift up his hands, for we do not know what the future holds but we do know who holds the future.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. I pray this in the name of the one that’s called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace, let us all together say  Amen.”

Wright then adjourned the meeting, and then along with Thorpe and others attended the Antioch Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Mixer underway at Tailgaters, where they celebrated with friends and supporters. Wilson held a gathering at her home with family, friends and supporters.

Please check back later for additional photos, speeches and public comments.

 

 

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Antioch manager says City faces “massive layoffs” in police and Code Enforcement if Measure C isn’t extended, new contracts not finalized

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

But, City Attorney says legal and financial ramifications if changes in contracts are attempted by new council

By Allen Payton

Last week the Antioch City Council voted unanimously to give all city staff increases in pay and benefits for the next five years. This week, City Manager Steve Duran admitted that if the city’s half-cent sales tax, known as Measure C, isn’t renewed four years from now, the city will face “massive layoffs” in police and Code Enforcement.

Duran responded to questions to him and the council members, about the new contracts and their timing after the election, even though all but one had expired prior to the election.

In an email Duran wrote, “Contract negotiations are very complex and time consuming. They took how long they took. It’s not unusual in any city for labor negotiations to go beyond the term of the existing agreements.”

He then provided an answer to the question of what the council’s plans are should Measure C not be renewed or if the city’s revenue hasn’t increased enough by then to cover the amount received from Measure C.

“As for the impacts of the new labor agreements on the City’s finances, the increases are pretty close to what we projected in our last budget and amount to a very small impact compared to the projected annual Measure C revenue of $7 million an year,” he responded. “The bottom line is that if Measure C is not extended, massive cuts will again have to be made to staffing, especially Police and Code Enforcement because that is where we have made significant increases in staffing since the passage of Measure C.”

The contracts approved by the Council are only tentative and won’t be finalized until early next year.

In the staff report on the contracts, it states, “If the City Council adopts the Tentative Agreement, the parties will continue to prepare an MOU to memorialize and replace the Tentative Agreement. The existing MOU will continue as modified by the terms of the Tentative Agreement until the MOU is completed. When completed, the MOU will be submitted to City Council for approval and adoption.”

When asked when the MOU’s would be placed on a Council agenda for a vote, Nickie Mastay, the City’s Administrative Services Director, wrote, “This will be a January – February timeframe. Since there are five Memorandums of Understanding, we are continuing to confer with the unions to ensure accuracy of the Memorandums of Understanding.”

Asked if a new council majority could renegotiate the contracts to reduce their length to three or four years, or if they have to just vote down the MOU’s, City Attorney Michael Vigilia said, “That’s something they can certainly discuss with their labor negotiators. I don’t know. I’ll have to look at the MOU a little closer. Usually, if you want to reopen the negotiations it’s because there’s been a change. Perhaps new council members would be considered a change.”

“That’s really more of a policy issue. There’s not really a legal issue,” he continued. “I can’t think of any legal issues off the top of my head. We’ll cross that bridge and deal with legal issues if there’s a council policy.”

“It’s something that labor negotiators would have to take up in closed session,” Vigilia stated. “New council members have the prerogative to say what they want about the MOU’s. If they can get a third council member to go along with them, then we would talk with the labor negotiators.”

“There are all sorts of policy issues that need to be worked through. It’s really more of a policy thing,” he added.

UPDATE: However, in emails received later, Vigilia backpedaled on his earlier comments.

“To follow up on our conversation…while it’s true that this is primarily a policy issue, there are also significant legal risks associated with a City Council potentially deciding to attempt to re-negotiate a tentative labor agreement that has already been approved by both a union and the City Council,” he said.

Duran also responded with similar comments.

“The tentative agreements contain all business terms that were negotiated in good faith by the parties over many months,” Duran wrote. “They constitute, in writing, the business terms that the MOUs must contain, and have been ratified by the unions and approved by the City Council. Nickie and I have consulted with our professional labor negotiator and our City Attorney on this matter. Trying to change any of the business terms to which the parties have agreed is wrought with rather unpleasant legal and financial dangers to the City.

Vigilia, Duran and Mastay were then asked if since the agreements are tentative and not finalized until the MOU’s are voted on, then how can there be legal ramifications if a new council majority wants to reopen negotiations and do something such as shorten the period?

Vigilia responded with, “To put it simply, the parties have reached a meeting of the minds as to the major terms of the MOU’s and each party has relied on the representations of the other party in deciding to agree to the terms. Once there is a meeting of the minds there is an enforceable legal obligation which would be very risky to break. The City, at the very least, risks breach of contract claims being asserted against it. Additionally, to attempt to renegotiate the terms exposes the City to potential charges of unfair conduct from the Public Employee Relations Board, which enforces collective bargaining laws covering public employees. This exposes the City to potential fines. As Steve and I stated, there are significant legal ramifications.”

The new council member, Lamar Thorpe and possibly a new mayor will begin their terms on Tuesday, December 13 following an oath of office ceremony expected that night. The final vote count in the Mayor’s race is expected to be provided by the County Elections office, tomorrow, Friday, December 3 by 5:00 p.m.

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