Watchdog concerned with city employee pension increases, standby council members

By Barbara Zivica

Things are moving quickly at City Hall since Mayor Harper, Monica Wilson and Mary Rocha were elected in November. First an accelerated swear in date, then appointment of Tony Tiscareno, who organized precinct walks for the aforementioned (Wade, Monica and Mary). Last but not least was the decision in December to abrogate the signed September 1, 2012 contract agreement with police officers and restore the more lucrative 3% at 50 pension formula for veteran police officers and a 2.7% formula for miscellaneous employees. How generous – especially for a city whose offices are closed to the public one day a week (furlough Fridays). Let’s just hope there’s no new parcel tax proposal this year to augment the general fund.

Shortly after the New Year, Mayor Harper, who recently retired from the Tracy Police Department, decided he wanted to occupy an office at City Hall, expressed a desire for a part time volunteer secretary and stated that it was time for the city manager to undergo a performance review.

This month Council received for consideration a list of applicants for three partial term appointments to the three vacant Economic Development Commission (EDC) seats: Applying were Moses de los Reyes (Master Compliance Services LLC, former member of the Police Crime Prevention Commission), Petru “Peter” Donisanu (Macroeconomic Investment Research Analyst, AVP Wells Fargo), Kendra Ebinger, (CPR certified, 10 year teacher, assistant and acting director of child care center), Rhoda Purhams (capital programs mgr, Recreation and Parks Dept. San Francisco (2005-2010), Lamar Thorpe (Director of Development San Jose State University, campaign fundraiser for Democratic party candidates e.g. Monica Wilson), Karen Williams (Issuance & Archive Coordinator Bayer Corp in Berkeley, Parking Control Tech Oakland (1995-6), Admin. Assistant San Leandro, Medical Records Clerk – Kaiser Hayward).

Council also appointed their Standby City Council Members. (The Antioch Municipal Code provides for the selection of standby council members “in the event of a declaration of a emergency and a Council Member is unavailable due to being killed, missing or having an incapaciting injury.” ) See if you find some the appointments as illuminating as I did:

Mayor Harper: 1) Vincent Manual (Sr. district rep for Federal Glover) 2) Diane Gibson-Gray (AUSD Board Trustee) 3) Robert Miller (attorney)

Council Member Agopian: 1) Former Mayor Jim Davis (appropriate choice) 2) Manny Soliz (former council member) 3) Lonnie Karste (consultant and former city employee)
Council Member Rocha: 1) Louie Rocha (self serving) 2) Ken Gray (husband of Diane Gibson-Gray) ; 3) Jessica Fernandez

Council Member Monica Wilson: 1) Don Freitas (former mayor) 2) Lamar Thorpe (campaign fundraiser)
Council Member Tiscareno: 1) Reggie Moore (former Council member) 2) Argentina Davila-Luevano (former state director of LULAC whose endorsement of Prop. 19 (legalized marijuana) led the national organization to state that she did not have the authority to make the endorsement on behalf of LULAC). 3) Greg Feere (Contra Costa Building Trades Council director). (Councilman Tiscareno and Mary Rocha also voted against a ban on pot clubs in January.)

Fortunately, there is no compensation for Standby Council Members.

2 Comments to “Watchdog concerned with city employee pension increases, standby council members”

  1. Arne Simonsen says:

    I had to share this on Facebook 🙂

  2. Lamar Thorpe says:

    January 25, 2013

    Hello Barbara,

    Great chatting with you earlier today. I’m sending a quick e-mail to make sure we connect. As someone who has been as active as you, I hope I can learn from your experiences as a seasoned community activist.

    Also, I want to follow up about your article. Thank you for enlightening me about how this confusion came about. However, because of the high premium value I place on transparency, I don’t want to mislead your audience into believing I’m a fundraiser for Democratic Party candidates. I do however volunteer my time for candidates I support but that’s about it. My profession is higher education administration.

    In addition, my wife managed Monica’s campaign and my wife (and Monica) did not coordinate anything including precinct walks with Tony Tiscareno. The only campaign that coordinated with Monica’s was Synitha Walker’s campaign for School Board and she did not win. If you would like more information about Monica’s campaign I’m more than happy to connect you with my wife via e-mail.

    I appreciate your work in keeping abreast with local politics and informing our community. Please feel free to contact me anytime as open two-way communication is a value I hold in very high regard. Take care and thank you for your work in the community! –LT

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