It has now become obvious that change will happen in Santa Clara, slowly, painfully, and eventually.
While the new council majority is peeling the cover from the pile of so many fallacious actions, it is a question of where do they start? Certainly, dealing with competent legal counsel ranks near the top.
The massacre of long-term employees has decimated the ranks of what was long known as “the Santa Clara way.” Dozens of city employees spent years in the pipeline, learning, listening, and doing. They patiently waited their turn to move up in the ranks and eventually run a department taking a leadership role.
Then came the apocalypse of the Gillmor guillotine. Long-term Santa Clara employees who were primed, trained, and ready for advancement were ignored. Some were forced out. New recruits from cities outside of Santa Clara were recruited to replace the leadership. Many of these “new” employees were hired on as department heads at salaries of stratospheric scope.
There was one common denominator among these recruits. They had to be loyal to the Gillmor regime.
One observation would be the office of the City Manager. The top of the pay scale was in the $300,000 range and worked its way down to the assistant manager in the $200,000 plus range.
If you had questions as to how Santa Clara is projecting a $40 million dollar deficit, salary awards under Mayor Gillmor’s direction may be a major contributor.
Santa Clara’s current City Manager, Deanna Santana, leads the State of California as the second-highest-paid manager at a $700,000 salary, plus benefits. In addition, Santana has added not one, not two, but three assistant managers at $300,000 each. You don’t need to be smarter than a fifth grader to calculate the addition on that payroll.
Historically, Santana has been a Gillmorite, supporting the Mayor on most of her financial extravagances. These would include the millions foolishly spent on fighting the California Voting Rights Act (twice). In addition, because Santana and Gillmor have withheld payments to the Stadium Authority partnership, the 49ers have sued Santa Clara numerous times to collect the millions owed to the Stadium Authority by the City.
The refusal of Santa Clara in making these payments has cost the City close to another million dollars in legal fees and interest. And, by contract for late payments, the interest rate owed to the Stadium Authority now jumps to 12%. (It might just be cheaper to simply pay the bills!)
This Rubik’s Cube of financial maleficent manipulation and mismanagement is a mess. The new Council is struggling to get their arms around this entanglement and do the right thing. If they wait much longer, the legal fees and lawsuits will consume Santa Clara’s reserves.
Speaking of legal expenses, why is City Attorney Doyle still employed?
I hope the new team can move fast. The mismanagement of our City is staggering. How much has the new convention center management cost the residents of Santa Clara? The legal fees from so much stupidity. How much in legal fees? I am sure the number is outrageous. We the residence have to pay for this and most of us don’t make $700K a year like the City Manager.
You might want to also factor in the extraordinary salary increases awarded to SCPD who, through their elected police chief and employee union, funnel money to campaign contributions in exchange for those high salaries and guaranteed annual increases way above inflation.
Average police officer base salary 2019 data from Transparent California…
Santa Clara: $148k
San Francisco: $133k
Los Angeles: $130k
San Jose: $129k
Mountain View: $125k
Beverly Hills: $110k
San Diego: $107k
Santa Clara’s first year cops make more than seasoned officers in major California cities including next door in San Jose. https://www.santaclaraca.gov/our-city/departments-g-z/police-department/recruiting/sworn-officers
The City Council needs to 1) get rid of the corruption starting with eliminating Deanna Santana and 2) cut police and fire salaries to match San Jose, Campbell, and Mountain View which are in the $125k-$129k range. Sunnyvale Public Safety Officers hold dual certifications as peace officers and firefighters so it is expected their salaries would be higher than Santa Clara, San Jose, Campbell, and Mountain View.
The Mercury News reported that last month the City of Santa Clara quietly paid $5.3 million dollars to settle an excessive force lawsuit from a family whose son was shot and killed by our city police force. In addition, in 2017, our city also paid a $6.7 million settlement to a woman whose leg was broken when our police forced entry into her home without a warrant. Our City failed to announce either settlement until it was required to respond to a public records request filed by the Mercury News.