City Council returns tonight from summer break with full agenda

| September 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

MARTINEZ, Calif. – City Manager Eric Figueroa is recommending that some of the key provisions of new labor agreements be incorporated into the City’s Management Compensation Plan. The estimated cost of the proposed adjustments for Fiscal Year 2019-20 is approximately $87,000 in the current fiscal year and $174,000 when fully implemented in the fiscal year ending 2021. (See box below for recommendations)

New agreements were made with labor unions this year, but there are city employees not represented by an organization. Figueroa wants to revise the MCP accordingly.

“I thought, let’s standardize our best practices and compensation,” he said. “When the council approved the budget we talked about having to do it without labor agreements in place.” The council had the foresight to leave some funds in the budget, in anticipation of added labor costs that would occur after the budget was approved, according to Figueroa.

PG&E will give a service update and the Martinez Firewise Community will give an in-depth view of how to prepare for emergencies of all kinds, CERT training and how to work with neighbors to keep your neighborhood safe.

Consent Calendar

Beyond routine items such as notices of completion, the Consent Calendar often contains interesting insights into the workings of city government that are usually missed because all of the resolutions are approved as a group without a public reading of the details. Occasionally a council member may ask to remove an item for discussion, but that is not the norm.

These are a few of the September 4, council’s Consent Calendar items:

Grant for new zoning ordinance

The City of Martinez is applying for $160,000 to SB2 Planning Grants Program Funds to Accelerate Housing Production. That is the maximum available for cities of less than 50,000 population.

The funds will be used to cover the costs of creating a new zoning ordinance to implement the vision of the new General Plan. “The new zoning ordinance will be written to leverage the acceleration of new housing, especially in the downtown area while preserving the small-town character and high quality of life that Martinez enjoys,” according to the Planning Department report on the application. “It will streamline accessory dwelling unit regulation and update the City’s design criterion using objective design standards that will be clear, easy to understand and legally defendable.”

The application is due by Nov. 30, 2019, and Martinez appears to qualify on the basis of the following criteria for uses of the funds: Accelerate housing production, Streamline the approval of housing development, Facilitate housing affordability, Promote the development of housing; and, Ensure geographic equity in the distribution and expenditure of allocated funds.

Amend CalPERS contract

This is a technical clean-up for the publication of the ordinance, with no substantive changes to the JFA agreement, according to the city manager.

Figueroa said the staff was reviewing and closing files and discovered a minor error in publication, which they are correcting.

Ordinance No.1424 amends the Contract between the City of Martinez and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) Board of Administration to provide for the merger of the Pleasant Hill – Martinez Joint Facilities Agency.

In 2018, Martinez borrowed $4 million on a line of credit to cover three years of back Social Security taxes and other expenses the city was required to pay as a result of almost 100 city workers having been employees of the then, 35-year-old agency that one councilman called a “shell corporation.”

In 1983, the Pleasant Hill-Martinez Joint Facilities Agency was reportedly created to operate and staff the two cities’ recreational facilities, but it seems neither city did that. There was no evidence the agency served its intended purpose or held meetings.

Nearly three-quarters of Martinez’s workforce were technically designated as employees of the Joint Facilities Agency, instead of the city. Apparently Pleasant Hill withdrew from the joint agency shortly after it was formed.

Investments

There are three investment reports (Sept. 30, 2018, Dec. 31, 2018, and March 31, 2019) in the form of a written statement from Carolyn Robinson, city treasurer. The City’s pooled investment portfolio and investments are held by our bond trustee US Bank, and the investment priorities are safety, liquidity, and yield. The securities are priced at June 30, 2017 values, and they may be worth more or less now. A cash and investment report attachment was mentioned at the bottom of the report, but details are not available online.

Interim City Engineers

When Tim Tucker, P.E. retired as City Engineer in March of 2019, Randall Leptien, P.E. of LCC, Inc. was hired as a temporary consultant. He has chosen not to renew the short-term contract and the City manager has been seeking a permanent replacement for Tucker and other engineering staff positions for the past five months.

After interviews with staff, the City selected Harris & Associates and 60-day agreement was signed by the City Manager. Upon successful completion of this period, staff will recommend an extension through the remainder of the fiscal year. The agreement names Scott D. Alman, P.E. as the contract City Engineer, and Lynne B. Filson, P.E., T.E. will be assigned to the work.

1. Salary Range Adjustments (increases) of approximately 6% effective September 1, 2019

2. Individual merit increases will consider the financial health of the organization in addition to employee performance

3. Cost of living increase of 3.75% effective January 1, 2019

4. Elimination of a Bonus Plan, (section 1.4.1)

5. Elimination of discretionary administrative leave authorization provision for the City Manager

6, Additional discretionary authority for the City Manager to set an effective “years of service” level for new hires

7. Effective January 1, 2020, CalPERS Classic members will contribute an additional 2.0% of their employee contribution for a total obligation of the full 7% employee share

8. Change in bilingual pay from a percentage of salary to a flat $100 per month for one or more languages

9. Increase in Health Club reimbursement to $50

10. The following are the substantive changes which are proposed to be made that only apply to sworn personnel portion of the MCP : Effective October 1, 2019, sworn MCP personnel shall receive a 3% Cost of Living increase – Salary Range Adjustments (increases) of approximately 4.75% effective January 1, 2020 – Education monthly incentive pay will be awarded based on completion of a Bachelor’s degree (6%) or Master’s degree (9%)

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Category: General News