Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Ogorchock, Tiscareno to take oaths of office for Antioch City Council, Tuesday night

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

By Allen Payton

The winners in the November Antioch City Council, Lori Ogorchock and Tony Tiscareno, will take their oaths of officer during ceremonies at City Hall, Tuesday night, December 9.

The evening begins at 6:00 p.m., an hour earlier than normal council meetings, with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by a special invocation by Father Roberto Corral, a priest at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Antioch, who was chosen by Ogorchock.

Then, the council will vote to certify the official election results, which show Ogorchock with the most votes, followed by Tiscareno.

That will be followed by the oaths of office and then comments by each of the newly elected council members, the mayor and other council members, as well as members of the public who wish to speak.

Then the council will be reorganized, with Ogorchock being voted in as Mayor Pro Tem for the next two years, according to the city ordinance, since she was the candidate with the most votes in the council election. A brief game of musical chairs will occur, as the mayor pro tem sits to the right of the mayor, and the others are rearranged at the will of the mayor.

Following the ceremonies a brief reception will be held in the council chambers.

Although rumors had been circulating that the proponents of Mayor Wade Harper’s recall would, once again serve him with papers at the council reorganization meeting, recall leader Rich Buongiorno stated on Monday, that they will wait until the first council meeting in January.

The complete meeting agenda can be viewed here.

The council meetings are held at 200 H Street in downtown Antioch or can be viewed via live stream on the city’s website at http://www.ci.antioch.ca.us/CityGov/citycouncilmeetings.htm.

Share this:
email Ogorchock, Tiscareno to take oaths of office for Antioch City Council, Tuesday night su Ogorchock, Tiscareno to take oaths of office for Antioch City Council, Tuesday night digg Ogorchock, Tiscareno to take oaths of office for Antioch City Council, Tuesday night fb Ogorchock, Tiscareno to take oaths of office for Antioch City Council, Tuesday night twitter Ogorchock, Tiscareno to take oaths of office for Antioch City Council, Tuesday night

Antioch Council approves hiring new business license representative, more labor agreements ending furlough Fridays

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Residents, business owners share their concerns, complaints

By John Crowder

At the Antioch City Council meeting on November 25, 2014, council members heard from local citizens who expressed concern over law enforcement and city staff interactions with community members, and others who suggested that a private firm be used in implementing changes coming as a result of the passage of Measure O. Meanwhile, Council Member Tony Tiscareno questioned the expenses involved in a grant application, the council voted to appoint two local advocates to the Parks and Recreation Commission, and the city continued to move forward with steps ending “furlough Fridays.”

Kathryn Wade was the first resident to speak at the meeting. Holding up a picture of her son, she claimed that Antioch Police Department (APD) officers had “trumped up” charges on him. She said that, although she has complained about the incident, nothing has come of her complaints.

Janet Barbee spoke about the murder of her son last year. She said that APD, “didn’t care to solve this case.” Barbee also said that, although she has provided them with evidence, “they have never called me back, they have never been to my home. If I don’t do the calling and calling and calling, I don’t get any response.” She said it is not fair that members of APD don’t get back to family members in this type of situation.

Cochise Potts and LaDonna Hartman, who own Nuce Nuce Deli, located across from Antioch City Hall at 101 H Street, said the city had threatened to shut them down because they had been barbecuing, but they hadn’t been shown any code references that would prevent them from barbecuing. Potts complained that nobody from the city would provide them with information.

I’d appreciate it if someone would get back to us,” he said.

When it came time to deal with the consent calendar, two items were pulled, Item E by Tiscareno, and Item F by members of the public.

Item E was a resolution authorizing the submission of a grant application for the West Antioch Creek Channel Improvement Project. Tiscareno questioned the financial impact noted in the staff report, which read, “the City must make a contribution to the project. This may be a financial match of the grant, an in-kind contribution, or a combination of both.”

The application was to seek an additional $1,000,000 for the project, as, “The cost of this project is currently estimated to be more than the budgeted funding.” It also required a partnership with a non-profit entity, and staff had selected the operators of Antioch Charter Academy II as the partner, saying, due to the school’s location, it, “provides a unique opportunity for the children to observe the benefits of this project.”

City Engineer Ron Bernal responded to Tiscareno, saying that the in-kind contribution by staff would be “the time we’ve already spent pursuing this grant,” along with the time of the consultant and time spent during the project. He also stated, if their is an additional cash requirement, they would return to the council for approval.

Tiscareno said, “I’m satisfied with that answer,” made a motion for approval, and the item passed, 4-0.

Item F was a resolution seeking approval of funding for one Business License Representative Position. The cost of the position was estimated in the staff report at, “$42,715 for the rest of fiscal year 2014-2015.” Two residents, Mark Jordan and Nancy Fernandez, both members of the Friday Morning Breakfast Club (FMBC), the group largely responsible for the passage of Measure O in the November 4 election, spoke on the item.

Jordan wanted to know why Antioch was immediately moving to hire a person to collect business fees. He said that FMBC had submitted a letter to the city suggesting that Antioch should hire an outside firm to do this. He thought it might make more sense to hire a company to do this collection, as they charge a percentage of the money collected, which might be more economical. He asked the city to, “seriously look at going to an outside firm.” Jordan also called for an, “open enrollment period,” and discussed the property inspection process.

Fernandez provided the council with a copy of the letter that Jordan had referred to. She said it had been sent on December 19, 2013, and written to the city council and the mayor by the attorney for FMBC. She said the letter called for the immediate hiring of an outside firm to begin collecting business taxes and establishing a database to be used for such collections.

As this is a “monumental task,” she said, quoting from the staff report, she wanted the vote to be put aside and the city to hire an outside firm to help establish a collections department.

City Manager Steve Duran responded, saying, “This position is a position we are going to need” and, “you can’t just hire a firm that gave a talk,” as it would require an RFQ/RFP process. He also said that he had recently met with the California Apartment Owners’ Association on the issue, that the city had money in the budget for this position, and he wanted to, “move forward.”

Mayor Harper said that several councils had spoken about uncollected taxes, and he asked Duran why this issue had not been previously addressed.

Duran said, “I think its really been a matter of, just the financial crash, of the economy and of the city in particular. We had to lay off so many people in finance, that they could barely do accounts payable and receivable, and there was no money in the budget to hire staff or consultants.”

Further, in response to a question by Council Member Monica Wilson, Duran said that, although they were seeking approval for the Business License Representative position now, city staff did intend to do an RFP to hire an outside firm to assist with establishing the program.

On a motion by Mayor Pro Tem Mary Rocha, the item passed, 4-0.

Next, the Mayor recommended appointing Lori Cook and Beverly Knight to the Parks and Recreation Commission. The council approved the appointments on a 4-0 vote.

Labor Agreements

Labor agreements were once again addressed when Human Resources Department Director Michelle Fitzer spoke about a resolution approving a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the city and the Treatment Plant Employees’ Association (TPEA). She said the new agreement was for four years, expiring September 30, 2018. Beginning in January 2016, there would be a 2.5% salary increase in each of three years, but there would be a 1% give back by employees in retirement contributions. The fiscal impact for the four years was estimated to be approximately $80,000, none of which would come from the General Fund, as all costs were budgeted in the Water Fund.

Finance Director Dawn Merchant then said that all of the money impacting the General Fund with respect to the MOU’s that were being discussed recently and the additional costs associated with ending furlough Fridays were coming from an increase in property tax receipts. She emphasized that none of that money was coming from Measure O or Measure C.

Steve Duran also spoke again about the MOU’s, saying the intent when furlough Fridays was implemented was to reinstate the 40-hour work week once the city had the money to do so.

Fitzer also said, “The total cost of returning from the furlough for the General Fund impact alone was $800,000 across all of the bargaining units,” and that the $1.2 million in increased property taxes, “is more than adequate to cover that cost for all of the bargaining units.”

Commenting on the votes which would finally end all furlough Fridays, Tiscareno said, “We are now a full-service city,” and, “we are going to be working 40 hours a week.” Rocha also spoke up, saying, “I just want to thank the employees for saving us from bankruptcy.”

The next meeting of the Antioch City Council will be on Tuesday, December 9 at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council chambers.

Share this:
email Antioch Council approves hiring new business license representative, more labor agreements ending furlough Fridays su Antioch Council approves hiring new business license representative, more labor agreements ending furlough Fridays digg Antioch Council approves hiring new business license representative, more labor agreements ending furlough Fridays fb Antioch Council approves hiring new business license representative, more labor agreements ending furlough Fridays twitter Antioch Council approves hiring new business license representative, more labor agreements ending furlough Fridays

Fatal Antioch car accident claims 51-year-old man, early Friday morning

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

By Lieutenant Don LaDue, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Friday, December 5, 2014 at approximately 1:42 am the Antioch Police Department responded to a report of a vehicle collision on East 18th Street near Phillips Lane

When officers arrived, they located two vehicles with major damage in the roadway. Two women in their 30’s occupied the first vehicle that was rear ended by a 51 year old male driving a second vehicle. The male complained of chest pain and was transported by ambulance to a local area hospital where he died soon after arrival. The women in the vehicle that was struck by the male had complaints of pain, but did not require medical assistance at the time.

Preliminary investigation indicates that speed may have been a factor. It is not known if alcohol or drugs were involved, pending an autopsy by the Contra Costa County Coroner’s Office. It is also not known if the male was experiencing a medical issue prior to the collision, which could have contributed to the cause. The names of the involved parties will not be released at this time.

Currently, officers are following up on possible leads and interviewing witnesses. This incident is still under investigation. Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to contact the Antioch Police Dept. at (925) 778-2441. If you have information regarding this case you may text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH.

Share this:
email Fatal Antioch car accident claims 51 year old man, early Friday morning su Fatal Antioch car accident claims 51 year old man, early Friday morning digg Fatal Antioch car accident claims 51 year old man, early Friday morning fb Fatal Antioch car accident claims 51 year old man, early Friday morning twitter Fatal Antioch car accident claims 51 year old man, early Friday morning

Antioch Mayor Wade Harper, Councilmembers Wilson, Tiscareno endorse Bonilla for Senate

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

According to news releases from Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla’s campaign for State Senate, she announced this week, that her campaign in the special election, “has earned the support of Antioch Mayor Wade Harper – a decisive endorsement in one of the largest cities in the 7th State Senate District. Harper’s support adds to the wave of momentum that Democrat Bonilla’s campaign has received from key endorsements over the last two weeks.”

Susan Bonilla is a true leader and an advocate for the working families of Antioch and across our region. While serving as chair of the Education Subcommittee of the Assembly Budget Committee, Susan Bonilla successfully brought over $3.6 million in additional state funding directly to Antioch’s schools,” Antioch Mayor Wade Harper said. “I’m thrilled that Assemblywoman Bonilla has declared her campaign for State Senate and I’m enthusiastically supporting her candidacy.”

Mayor Harper has provided vital leadership for the City of Antioch, helping his city succeed and addressing head-on issues that have long presented challenges for the community,” Bonilla said. “I’m proud to have earned his support and look forward to continuing to work together in Sacramento to support Contra Costa and Alameda communities.”

In addition, Antioch Councilmembers Monica Wilson and Tony Tiscareno added their names to Bonilla’s list of local elected officials and organizations who have endorsed her campaign.

I’m honored to have the support and partnership of Councilmembers Monica Wilson and Tony Tiscareno,” Bonilla said. “Each has made a strong impact to support working families and improve the future of our region.”

Since announcing her campaign for Senate last week, Bonilla has been endorsed by the Contra Costa County Deputy Sheriffs Association, Contra Costa County’s Professional Firefighters, Contra Costa County Supervisor Federal Glover, Pittsburg Mayor Sal Evola, Concord Mayor Tim Grayson, Concord City Treasurer Thomas Wentling, Concord City Councilmembers Dan Helix and Laura Hoffmeister, Danville Mayor Robert Storer, Danville Councilmember Newell Arnerich, and now Antioch Mayor Wade Harper and Councilmembers Monica Wilson and Tony Tiscareno.

To learn more, please visit www.susanbonilla.com.

So far the only other announced candidate in the race is Republican Mark Meuser, an attorney who ran unsuccessfully against Senator Mark DeSaulnier for the seat in 2012. The special election is due to DeSaulnier being elected to Congress mid-way through his term. Once he resigns the seat, which is expected to occur in early January, the governor will announce the date of the special election, which is expected to be held next March.

Share this:
email Antioch Mayor Wade Harper, Councilmembers Wilson, Tiscareno endorse Bonilla for Senate su Antioch Mayor Wade Harper, Councilmembers Wilson, Tiscareno endorse Bonilla for Senate digg Antioch Mayor Wade Harper, Councilmembers Wilson, Tiscareno endorse Bonilla for Senate fb Antioch Mayor Wade Harper, Councilmembers Wilson, Tiscareno endorse Bonilla for Senate twitter Antioch Mayor Wade Harper, Councilmembers Wilson, Tiscareno endorse Bonilla for Senate

Final election results leaves results of all races affecting Antioch, the same, Measure O expands victory

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014
Following are the final, certified election results from the Contra Costa County Elections Office,
as of  5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 25, 2014.

There were a total of 258,996 ballots cast out of 527,521 registered voters in the county for a
49.1% voter turnout. For more details visit www.cocovote.us.

Antioch City Council
LORI OGORCHOCK 6,410  23.34%
TONY G TISCARENO (I) 6,041 21.99%
DIANE GIBSON-GRAY 5,594  20.37%
LAMAR THORPE 4,829  17.58%
ANTHONY SEGOVIA 2,040  7.43%
KARL DIETZEL 886  3.32%
JEFFREY HALL-COTTRELL 832  3.03%
STEVEN BADO 684  2.49%
WRITE-IN 151 0.55%
Total 27,467

Antioch School Board
WALTER RUEHLIG 8,095  29.93%
DEBRA VINSON 7,736  28.60%
JOY MOTTS (I) 5,692  21.05%
GARY A. HACK (I) 5,385 19.91%
WRITE-IN  137  0.51%
Total  27,046

Measure O
Yes 8,736  51.62%
No 8,189  48.38%
Total  16,925

County Board of Education – Area 5
JEFF BELLE 14,343 50.38%
CYNTHIA TEVES RUEHLIG 13,900 48.82%
WRITE-IN 229  0.81%
Total  28,472

County Board of Education – Area 4
MIKE MAXWELL 23,309  52.38%
RICHARD ASADOORIAN (I) 20,962 47.11%
WRITE-IN 228 0.51%
Total 44,499

East Bay Regional Parks District – Ward 7
DIANE BURGIS 35,461 56.33%
MARK FOLEY 27,182  43.18%
WRITE-IN 313 0.50%
Total 62,956
Share this:
email Final election results leaves results of all races affecting Antioch, the same, Measure O expands victory su Final election results leaves results of all races affecting Antioch, the same, Measure O expands victory digg Final election results leaves results of all races affecting Antioch, the same, Measure O expands victory fb Final election results leaves results of all races affecting Antioch, the same, Measure O expands victory twitter Final election results leaves results of all races affecting Antioch, the same, Measure O expands victory

Latest election results leave all races affecting Antioch, the same

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014
Following are the election results from the Contra Costa County Elections Office, as of 
5:00 p.m.on Friday, November 21, 2014.

The next and final update is expected on November 25.

There were 253,847 ballots cast out of 527,521 registered voters in the county for a
48.12% voter turnout.

For complete election results in the county, click here.

Antioch City Council
LORI OGORCHOCK 6,280  23.40%
TONY G TISCARENO (I) 5,933 22.11%
DIANE GIBSON-GRAY 5,462  20.35%
LAMAR THORPE 4,687  17.47%
ANTHONY SEGOVIA 1,978  7.37%
KARL DIETZEL 872  3.25%
JEFFREY HALL-COTTRELL 804  3.00%
STEVEN BADO 671  2.50%
WRITE-IN 148 0.55%
Total 26,835

Antioch School Board
WALTER RUEHLIG 7,937  29.98%
DEBRA VINSON 7,524  28.42%
JOY MOTTS (I) 5,590  21.11%
GARY A. HACK (I) 5,290 19.98%
WRITE-IN  136  0.51%
Total  26,477

Measure O
Yes 8,496  51.53%
No 7,990  48.47%
Total  16,486

County Board of Education – Area 5
JEFF BELLE 13,983 50.28%
CYNTHIA TEVES RUEHLIG 13,612  48.94%
WRITE-IN 217  0.78%
Total  27,812

County Board of Education – Area 4
MIKE MAXWELL 23,041  52.41%
RICHARD ASADOORIAN (I) 20,697 47.08%
WRITE-IN 225 0.51%
Total 43,963

East Bay Regional Parks District – Ward 7
DIANE BURGIS 34,693 56.33%
MARK FOLEY 26,586  43.17%
WRITE-IN 306 0.50%
Total 61,585
Share this:
email Latest election results leave all races affecting Antioch, the same su Latest election results leave all races affecting Antioch, the same digg Latest election results leave all races affecting Antioch, the same fb Latest election results leave all races affecting Antioch, the same twitter Latest election results leave all races affecting Antioch, the same

Planning consultant says Antioch’s crime, schools, homeless are deterrents to employers locating here

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

By John Crowder

A second meeting regarding was held in the Council Chambers at City Hall on Wednesday, November 19, regarding the Downtown Specific Plan and City-wide General Plan Land Use and Zoning Ordinance Update. The session included a joint meeting of the Antioch Planning and Economic Development Commissions. Besides the community members in the audience, the meeting was also attended by Mayor Wade Harper, City Manager Steve Duran, and Councilwoman-elect Lori Ogorchock.

After a couple of comments from the public, consultant Dick Loewke once again gave a presentation, this time detailing opportunities and constraints to development in the city.

Loewke began by identifying land resources that he said were either not utilized, or, in the case of the fairgrounds, were underutilized. He listed a number of parcels that he said could be developed.

Loewke then listed numerous constraints to development. The first of these, he stated as, “The high level of actual crime and perceived crime risk are viewed as substantial obstacles to investment in Antioch, both Downtown and City-wide, and as contributing directly to a reduced quality of life.” He contrasted this perception with that of downtown areas in neighboring cities, which are viewed as having a, “relative absence of crime.” He also noted, later in his presentation, that Antioch’s crime rates are substantially higher than its neighbors, with the violent crime rate being five times higher in Antioch than it is in Brentwood, Oakley, or Pittsburg.

Another major impediment to development was the perception of the Antioch public schools. Loewke said that, “Employers and employees with children who can afford to do so tend to look outside of Antioch in order to gain access to better performing public schools.” He qualified his remarks, however, by saying that this is a result of, “perception,” and that, “What AUSD schools are doing is excellent.”

Loewke mentioned several other constraints, including the large number of homeless people in the downtown area, the lack of places downtown where people would normally gather to socialize (i.e., restaurants and coffee shops), the lack of themed festivals and public events, current zoning regulations which prevent good businesses from moving downtown, and congestion on highway 4. He also noted that only 10% of Antioch’s employed residents work within the city.

Even given the numerous constraints identified by Loewke, he said there existed opportunities as well. He said that Antioch might be able to take advantage of a demand for medical office and service industrial space. Downtown, Loewke said that Antioch could accommodate additional small office users and artisan retailers.

Following the presentation, both the public, and members of the two commissions present, commented on what they had heard. Some of the ideas presented included the creation of a youth center, to include computers and wi-fi access, and a River Walk. Many of those speaking opposed bringing additional housing projects to Antioch as a solution to revitalizing the economy.

Several of the speakers were in favor of the creation of an event plaza, as opposed to construction of additional housing, downtown. Lee Ballesteros, representing Citizens for Responsible Antioch Waterfront Development, spoke about a proposal her group had submitted to the city advocating just such an idea. “Our vision for Downtown is for an active, vibrant, event plaza, as opposed to selling it and putting up homes. Events and quality of life is something that is very important to people,” she said.

Kerry Motts, Vice Chair of the Planning Commission, agreed with Ballesteros. He referenced the Todos Santos Plaza in Concord as illustrative of what Antioch could accomplish.

The planning process is expected to continue for another 16 months, according to Loewke. The slide presentation from the November 19 meeting can be found on the City of Antioch website, under the tabs for ‘community’ and ‘downtown-plan.’

Share this:
email Planning consultant says Antiochs crime, schools, homeless are deterrents to employers locating here su Planning consultant says Antiochs crime, schools, homeless are deterrents to employers locating here digg Planning consultant says Antiochs crime, schools, homeless are deterrents to employers locating here fb Planning consultant says Antiochs crime, schools, homeless are deterrents to employers locating here twitter Planning consultant says Antiochs crime, schools, homeless are deterrents to employers locating here

Antioch Council eliminates “furlough Fridays,” gives management staff, others 13% pay raise

Friday, November 21st, 2014

By John Crowder

The elimination of “furlough Fridays” by the Antioch City Council at their November 13, 2014 meeting, the first meeting held since the passage of Measure O in the November 4 election, has left some residents who worked in support of the measure feeling betrayed and deceived.

Placed on the Consent Calendar at the meeting were three resolutions which, together, eliminated the furloughs negotiated with city employees and, in addition, provided them with 3% raises. The furloughs had been put in place while Antioch struggled to stave off bankruptcy during the housing crisis when property tax revenues plummeted. While the furloughs were in effect, many city employees worked a four-day, 36 hour work week, rather than a 40 hour work week, amounting to a 10% savings in salary expense for the city. Management employees continued to work 40 hours, but still had their wages cut 10%.

The first of the resolutions, Item 2G on the agenda, was to approve the Benefit Document between the city of Antioch and the Management Bargaining Unit. Item 2H was for approval of the Amended Benefit Document between the city and the Confidential Employees Bargaining Unit. Item 2I rescinded a resolution from 2010 regarding salary differentials.

A handful of residents had asked that the three items, G, H, and I, be pulled from the Consent Calendar in order to give them an opportunity to comment on the proposed actions. Some also spoke in opposition to the resolutions in the earlier public comments portion of the meeting.

Public Comments

Rich Buongiorno, who has been leading the effort to recall Mayor Wade Harper, said that the elimination of ‘furlough Fridays’ increased expenses at a time when the city was just made aware that they would be losing over $800,000 per year in revenue. This was due to the fact that the Brentwood City Council had just voted to end their contract with Antioch to provide them with police dispatch services.

Council Member-elect Lori Ogorchock also expressed concern about the elimination of ‘furlough Friday’s.’ She said the $400,000 in increased expenses that would result could be better used to hire more police and code enforcement officers. “Let’s get crime under control,” she said. She said that city offices could be kept open five days per week in other ways (by redistributing work hours). “I respectfully request that you hold off on the vote until I am seated,” she said.

Sandra McKee said, “I think building up our police department and getting a better handle on crime is much more important,” and that this was her intention when she voted for Measure C and Prop. O.

Robin Agopian, the widow of former Councilman Gary Agopian, said that, as a matter of fairness, newly elected councilwoman Lori Ogorchock should be seated prior to voting on the issues before them.

Mark Jordan said he wanted to postpone the votes because he doesn’t believe the public has enough information. Referring to Measure O, he said, “Not a penny of that money has come in yet.”

Former Councilman Manny Soliz also wanted to postpone the votes on the resolutions from both a budgetary and a philosophical standpoint. He expressed concern about the impending termination of the police dispatch contract between Antioch and Brentwood. “We’re going to have a hole in our budget, where there had been some funds coming in…which we’re not going to have any longer,” he said. On a philosophical basis, Soliz said, “Measure O was presented as a measure to try to address neighborhood improvement, and blighted properties.” He said that supporters of Measure O would see this action as a diversion of funds, and, “it seems to me just a little bit disingenuous.”

With the conclusion of public comments on G, Mayor Harper asked City Manager Steve Duran to speak to the issue.

“The council gave a clear direction to get people off furlough as soon as we reasonably could,” he said. “The Council approved spending priorities for Measure O on September 23rd, 2014.”

He then listed those priorities (See Antioch Herald article on September 23 council meeting, here.)

“The stated priorities of the council, before the election, did include getting off the furlough,” Duran said. “In terms of keeping your word, I just think people need to understand that’s what your word was.”

He continued, “Come January, we’ll now have had the employees on furlough for five-and-a-half years since they took a ten percent cut.” He also said that the $1.277 million in additional property tax revenue triggered contract language providing that, “the management bargaining unit was entitled to get off furlough right then, and they’ve agreed to delay that until…January 11th.” In closing, Duran said, “We can’t not do the trigger, because that’s a binding contract. And, second, the money is there, and the reasons the triggers hit is because the money’s there.”

Asked by Duran to comment, Michelle Fitzer, Administrative Services Director, addressed the idea that the Council delay the decision by saying “once the bargaining unit takes action to ratify a tentative agreement, the governing body has to take action within 30 days of that, and we do not have 30 days to wait to December 16th.” She continued, “If we do not take action, the council places the city in liability for a PERB charge of unfair labor practices.”

Following Fitzer’s statement, Harper asked for Council comments. Council Member Tony Tiscareno gave a defense of the vote he was about to make.

Tiscareno said, “the last three, four months I’ve been out there talking to the citizens, knocking on doors and asking them, what they expect from us, and what their issues are. And yes, they were frustrated with the crime, but for the most part in their neighborhoods they were very happy where they lived, they felt safe in their community, that particular area. But one of the things they kept mentioning was that, you know, our streets can be repaired, we need to make sure that we have availability within our services so we can be serviced. And I heard that quite a bit. So one of the things I promised not only our staff was, I promised our community that we were going to be a full service city.”

Mayor Pro Tem Mary Rocha said that in light of the information provided by Fitzer regarding a potential unfair labor practices challenge, it was important to take action. She also said, “You have to remember, we asked these employees to take time off…they gave a lot, in order for us to keep the doors open.” She also noted, “We couldn’t afford bankruptcy…the employees were the ones who saved us.” She concluded, “I feel comfortable, knowing the money was there.”

In response to a question from Wilson, Fitzer responded, “In the management benefit agreement, there was trigger language. When the property tax in particular came in, in July, at over a million dollars more than was anticipated, we reached…the trigger.” She also addressed the question of whether or not the trigger had expired. She said, “under the labor laws, the contract provisions remain in effect until a new contract is negotiated or imposed…” She continued, “if the city had tried to argue that the trigger had expired, the employee group could then have come back and argued, well then the furlough language expired as well, because they’re tied together.”

Mayor Harper said, “I think we need to realize, that the employees saved us from bankruptcy years ago.” He spoke about them sacrificing for five and a half years. “Now that we have the money, we can’t say, we have it, but we’re not giving it to you.” He also reiterated the previous comments about being a full service city. He concluded, “I believe the employees saved us, I believe we have to do right by the employees.” He also noted, “We didn’t just hear about this trigger today,” and spoke about closed session meetings, where he said, “we’ve talked about this trigger, over and over.”

Following Harper’s statement, the council voted 4-0 in favor of Item G, and speakers came forward to address Item H.

Jordan returned to the microphone to say, “While you have been informed of the information regarding the trigger and the reinstatement of the employees, and that should occur, from the perspective of the public, this is being dropped very quickly. He added, “the communication that we’re receiving at our end, relative to the trigger, why it’s occurring, the contractual obligations, I don’t believe was communicated well, to us.” Soliz also spoke again, saying what they were doing, “sends the wrong message to the public.” He wondered if the outcome of the Measure O vote would have been different, “if people had understood that the funds were going to be going to something other than neighborhood improvement, and police infrastructure.”

Ken Turnage said, “I just don’t understand, exactly, what is going on here.” “You folks have had to know for a while, this was going to happen right about now. Why wasn’t it said before the election?” “He said the perception was, “like having a blanket pulled over your head.” “The perception is, we were deceived,” he concluded.

After public comments, Harper asked Duran to repeat the information from September 23, and Duran again listed all the priorities, including ending the furloughs.

Each of the council members then made statements emphasizing that the money for getting the employees back to a 40 hour work week was coming from property tax, and had nothing to do with Measure O. Tiscareno said, “This is, to me, a positive thing for the city of Antioch.” Rocha, referring to city employees said, “It’s true, they did help us.”

Item H was then passed, 4-0, and public comments for Item I began.

Marty Fernandez, visibly upset by the proceedings, said, “This has been very interesting. You’re right. A lot of people busted their butts to get Measure O passed. And this just isn’t right.” “There comes a time when you have to stop. I don’t agree with these secret negotiations for the contracts. This has to be done in public.” He went on to complain that, “You have city workers negotiating with city workers. They stand to gain, everybody gains.”

After Fernandez spoke, the council voted and passed item I, also on a 4-0 vote.

Following a short break, Dawn Merchant, Antioch’s Finance Director, spoke on budget matters which, according to staff and council member statements, related directly to the contentious votes just taken.

Merchant said that, while they had been projecting a 5% increase in property tax, they had actually received a 17.81% increase. She said this was the first year Antioch has received an increase in property tax since 2008.

We’re requesting the budget to be amended” by about $1.3 million, she said. She also spoke about annexation money coming in of about $300,000, and over $100,000 for state mandated reimbursements.

Following Merchant’s presentation, Rocha lamented the fact that many who complained about the furlough vote were no longer in the audience, as she felt the presentation by Merchant explained that the money for ending the furloughs was coming from increased property tax revenue, not Measure O funds

The next city council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 25, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 3rd & H Streets in downtown Antioch. It can also be viewed online via live streaming video at www.ci.antioch.ca.us/CityGov/citycouncilmeetings.htm.

Share this:
email Antioch Council eliminates furlough Fridays, gives management staff, others 13% pay raise su Antioch Council eliminates furlough Fridays, gives management staff, others 13% pay raise digg Antioch Council eliminates furlough Fridays, gives management staff, others 13% pay raise fb Antioch Council eliminates furlough Fridays, gives management staff, others 13% pay raise twitter Antioch Council eliminates furlough Fridays, gives management staff, others 13% pay raise