Add one more to the list of potential Glendora, Azusa council candidates

I can’t tell you how much I am excited for the upcoming city council elections in March. There are so many story lines for two of the cities I cover in races that should be highly competitive.

In Azusa, the Azusa Rock Quarry referendum and the project’s general implications should make for some fireworks for councilman Angel Carrillo and Urial Macias, both seeking reelection. The election may also test the power of Mayor Joe Rocha.

Former planning commissioner Jorge Rosales is planning to kick of his campaign in two weeks on Saturday Dec. 11. You may know Jorge through his involvement with Azusans Against Mining Expansion or as the guy who takes pictures at every city function. He also happens to be buds with Mayor Rocha.

Also in the mix is Peggy Martinez, a former Downtown Azusa Business Association director, who is a fixture in the city, and Paul Naccachian, who ran and lost two years ago but has become more prominent and vocal in the community on the Vulcan issue as well as others, such as bicycle helmet safety. The newest name on that list is Madelyn Payne, chair of the city library commission and president of the Friends of the Library group.

And then there is Glendora. With recent revelations about their city manager having left Monterey Park four years ago with about $500,000 in unused leave time and their own city’s issues with benefits as shown when their police chief retired in 2009, there is some ammunition for potential candidates against incumbents Doug Tessitor and Ken Herman.

Plus, the city has butted heads with its employee union over employee compensation. The city has taken a hard line against benefits for employees, including the way the CALPERS retirement plan is funded. That could play well with voters, but if the unions are pitted against the incumbents, campaign contributions could favor contenders.

As for the update on potential challengers in Glendora, I have already reported that Jason Nagy, John Fields, Ed Brubaker and Erica Landmann-Johnsey previously pulled papers. Now you can add Joe Santoro to the list.

The deadline for papers to be filed is still about two weeks away and I expect a few more names to be added to the list before it is all said and done.

Consider this: When Gary Clifford resigned from the council earlier this year, the council had 15 applicants for the position. They chose Terry Kent who pledged to not run for council. That means, besides the two incumbent positions, there is an open slot on this council. New blood is coming in and someone can run and not have to challenge the incumbents to do it. I expect a big field.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Glendora to take back (minimal?) raises to department managers

In previous episodes of the salary/association wars in Glendora, the city was prepared to suspend a salary schedule recently approved for department managers that has been the subject of some controversy.

It appears, after reading the staff report today, (updated) the city intends to take back some raises that relate to the schedule. What exactly will be taken back is unclear based on the report’s language.

“That any Department Director’s salary that was minimally adjusted to allow payroll to place them into a corresponding salary step in accordance with resolutions 2010-26 and 2010-005 be returned to their prior salary in a y-rated step to their monthly rate, as identified in their contract and/or their personnel file immediately prior to July 27, 2010.”

After contentious debate between the city and the Glendora municipal employees association regarding a new contract, it will be interesting to see how the two sides are able to negotiate a salary schedule with so much room for interpretation.

Most importantly, how will the city seek to define “exceeds performance” regarding merit increase. In private industry, that is usually a broad definition left to interpretation by the supervisor. In this situation, I suspect the union will want more clarity. Does “exceeds expectations” mean doing your job PLUS that of another or is it doing your job better than anyone else would do it?

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Emptying the notes on Glendora’s salary schedule and recent department manager raises

The news came this week that Glendora officials are looking to suspend a recently approved merit increase schedule for managers in an effort to broker a deal for a similar schedule with the Glendora municipal employees association.

Within that story, it was also shown that despite previous representations, Glendora gave raises to three managers PRIOR to the salary schedule being approved, but those raises were reflected within the schedule.

Just to elaborate on this issue are a few facts.

Here is Chris Jeffers, in an e-mail, explaining City Clerk Kathleen Sessman’s salary increases over the last two years, as well as her concessions:

On 10/06/08 received a 2% merit to $8,377. This covered her performance from 2007-08 time period.

On 12/29/08 received a city-wide COLA adjustment of 3% that GMEA; GMA and Directors granted by the City Council to $8,628.

On 7/01/09 Required to pick up 3% of pension for the year.

On 7/01/10 Required to pick up 4.8% of pension and 1.9% sick leave cash out eliminated.

On 7/12/10 received a merit increase of 5% covering the period of time between Oct 2008 and now to $9,064.

So the incumbent’s base salary increase by 10% since 10/08, her total compensation has been permanently reduced by <6.7%> with the action this past July. So the net adjustment is 3.3% increase in compensation in two years.

I will add one thing. That final 5 percent was done in two parts, 2.5 percent the bumped her up to her new step 1 on the approved salary schedule, and then another 2.5 percent, as reflected on the salary schedule, to step 2.

To clear out a few more notes, the big thing about the merit increases was the ability to switch to a more private sector structure of requiring better than satisfactory reviews to get a raise. But within all the department managers’ contracts – prior to the new schedule – was a condition they must receive exemplary performance reviews to get merit increases. What this schedule then does is allow for managers to have a more transparent structure and one that rewards people for longevity.

Given that the city appears to have operated under much of those conditions already, it would seem they wanted this to serve as a model more so than the actual impact it may have on manager salaries and merit increases for them.

Whether or not they will be able to broker a deal is something that remains to be seen.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Glendora councilman Doug Tessitor’s apology

Glendora councilman Doug Tessitor was caught with his foot in his month last month when debating the merits of imposing a new set of contract restrictions on the general employees association.

Tessitor had said it was “BS” when the association claimed the police officers association and others made concessions to help spare the general employees association. It later came out – from the POA – that it was actually quite true.

To his credit, Tessitor owned it. He did so in the Tribune and made remarks at Glendora’s council meeting Tuesday admitting his mistake. (Relevant discussion is at 33:30)

The one gripe I might have is that Tessitor says that POA President Mike Henderson told him the city rejected the POA’s offer of taking a bullet for the GMEA.

When I spoke with Henderson, his characterization to me was that the city accepted their proposal, only to renege later in an effort to have equal cuts.

Henderson’s words to me were: “After we made the concession they still pursued 3 percent and we found out that it was desired to have every group in the city give up the same amount.” (italic emphasis added by me)

That doesn’t exactly jive with Tessitor’s recap of what happened.

Breakdown of pay for Glendora’s contracted employee association negotiator

A quick note going back to the recent impasse between Glendora and the municpal employees association where the council forced a one year contract on the association with several concessions.

In years past, the City Manager or other members of the city’s executive team would handle negotiations with the association. This year the city hired Richard Kreisler to handle negotiations for the city with all its employee associations, teamed with Deputy City Manager Brenda Fischer and Finance Director Josh Betta.

The total cost for Kreisler’s services (contracted through Liebert, Cassidy, Whitmore Legal Fees)
is $42,797 since March 2010.

Kreisler’s pay breaks down like this:

He was paid $6,682.05 for work ending March 31, 2010.
- $1,296 for work on the Glendora Manager’s Association.
- $1,039.05 for work on the Glendora Municipal Employees Association.
- $2,727 for work with the Police Officer’s Association.
- $1,620 for work with the Police Manager’s Association

For work completed between April 1 and April 30, he was paid $9,855.
- $5,427 for work with GMA.
- $1,161 for work with GMEA.
- $324 for work with POA.
- $2,943 for work with PMA.

For work between May 1 and May 31 he received $6,804.
- $2,106 for GMA
- $2,889 for GMEA
- $783 for POA
- $1,026 for PMA

For work between June 1 and June 30 he was paid $10,681.32. All of that work was with the GMEA. He was also paid $1,701 for work with the GMA during that time.

For work between July 1 and July 31, he received $6,993 for work with the GMEA.

He finally received $81 for work with the GMA at the end of July.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Claims of liar may have been exaggerated at Glendora council meeting

Wendell Phillips, the attorney representing the Glendora municipal employees association, took a beating at the council meeting Tuesday night.

In the process of making a unanimous vote to impose contract concessions on the association, many council members questioned Phillips handling of the truth.

Watch for yourself toward the end of the council meeting video.

But Phillips may not have been fibbing about the motivation behind concessions made by the police officers association and police managers association last year.

Phillips has said that the POA and the PMA took the bullet for the employees association last year by making concessions with the understanding that the employees association would not have to.

At time time, Councilman Doug Tessitor called those claims “B.S.”

Well… I spoke with Police Officers Association President Michael Henderson and PMA President Sgt. Scott Strong and both confirmed Phillips’ claims to be true.

Henderson said that part of the motivation for agreeing to defer their salary increases as well as making other concessions was to avoid the employees association being hit. Henderson said they made their motivation clear to the city during negotiations.

After agreeing to those concessions, Henderson said they later learned the city wanted a 3 percent concession across the board.

Strong echoed those remarks, saying they made clear that they were making the concessions with the understanding the GMEA would not be asked to make the same concessions. Those negotiations were with City Manager Chris Jeffers, Finance Director Josh Betta and then deputy city manager Culver Heaton, Strong said.

Considering the council’s remarks from last night, Strong said there must have been some “misunderstanding.”

Councilman Doug Tessitor called me today and apologized for his remarks. He said he was wrong on that particular issue and planned to clarify that at the next council meeting.

“That was an error on my part,” Tessitor said. “I intend to make a public announcement at the next council meeting that I was in error and apologize for making that statement.”

Jeffers, in remarks to this newspaper, and in city staff reports regarding the negotiations, an argument made in favor of approving the city’s recommended concessions was that the employees association had not made concessions in the previous year.

Fair?

The one thing that seems to be clear is, at least for this one, Phillips may have been telling the truth.

More on this story online tomorrow and in tomorrow’s newspaper.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune