When Santa Clara residents voted to change the make up of their City Council last November, they were expecting more. The addition of three new Council Members possessing common sense could return sanity to the city.
Residents voted to install Council Members who possessed that marvelous ingredient of objectivity and had hope they would most likely right the ship that was tilting towards the island of insolvency.
Santa Clara was then facing a $42 million dollar deficit. Now, after seven months of service, the City remains in the red by $30 million. This adjustment is a minor and meager effort to return Santa Clara to a balanced budget.
At the top of the expenditure list is the financial awards made to City employees, including City Manager Deanna Santana whose financial package, as I pointed out last week, is approaching $800,000. Her three assistant managers make $325,000 each.
The idea that Santa Clara may be the home for a few of America’s most innovative and ingenious companies, is not an endorsement for the City of Santa Clara to pay some of the biggest public salaries anywhere.
The vision of Santa Clara’s famous city manager, Don Von Raesfeld gave birth to the breeding grounds for innovation and creativity. His vision encouraged companies to grow and transform themselves and the City. Santa Clara provided power, water, sewer, and public protection at competitive rates.
While salaries were competitive, they were in balance.
It would be difficult to name one item that has been accomplished by the City in the past eight years that sets Santa Clara apart from other cities other than…salaries and benefits for city employees.
Public salaries have grown faster than the private sector it seems, making Santa Clara a haven for mismanagement.
Unless and until the current Council has the integrity and will to boldly step up to reality, Santa Clara will become the Bell of Northern California. That is not a bell residents want to ring.
Just one case on point: Brian Doyle, Santa Clara City Attorney has made multiple bad decisions, given the Council spurious advice, cost the City of Santa Clara millions, is still drawing over $406,000 in salary and benefits and he is still employed? What an endorsement.
What is this Council waiting for, a registered letter from the Almighty?