Congratulations to Santa Clara’s “new” Council. They have now completed their first full year in office and have found more than just the paperclips and pens. They have worked together to right the good ship Santa Clara, digging out from the avalanche of awful decisions made by Mayor Lisa Gillmor, her former colleagues and carried out by City Manager Deanna Santana.
The mess the new Council inherited from the reign of Mayor Gillmor and her former Council collaborators is dreary and demanding. Add to this the millions squandered by former City Attorney Brian Doyle, and the autocratic decisions of City Manager Deanna Santana have created a challenge that Evel Knievel wouldn’t tackle.
If you have read City Manager Santana’s latest public relations communication and her “many” accomplishments, you might think the good ship Santa Clara was sailing along just dandy. However, that is what you would expect when you fill out your own report card.
Santana did omit the city’s $30 million dollar deficit, the declining streets and sidewalks, out of sync traffic lights, the hiring of former associates to replace long-term Santa Clara employees, the bogus auditor she hired to crush the Chamber of Commerce…but then…you just can’t include everything.
A reality check on the state of the city doesn’t support the A+ rating Santana gives herself. From what most of us can determine, her major achievement is her compensation package pushing $800,000. Now, that does catapult her into the top 1% of California public salaries. If that counts in her personal evaluation, she ranks right up near the top.
Oh, I didn’t mention manager Santana is in line for a raise. That will be addressed by the Council shortly, and her contract ties her to a bargaining unit which virtually guarantees more money.
Santana left San Jose, Oakland and Sunnyvale with the enthusiastic approval and support of her peers. She was a natural to join the Gillmor gang running amuck at City Hall who ran Santa Clara amuck. Santana has brought to Santa Clara a history of performance that has not nudged the needle of progress, prosperity, or productive planning. However, she has been very successful in garnering huge payments for herself and her appointed cronies.
Santa Clara’s new Council has inherited a hornet’s nest of issues they did not create and now must resolve. Hats off to their determination, diligence and direction. They are making productive and positive progress as they appraise personnel, performance and permanency.