Nov 1 2015

Turnover in Top City Administrative Positions and Allocation of $500,000 from Underground Law Suit: Council November 2

Since 2010, 13 top Piedmont administration positions have undergone a turnover.  

The turned over positions are:

City Administrator

Fire Chief

Police Chief

Public Works Director

Finance and Human Resources Director

Recreation Director

City Clerk

Planning Director

Parks and Project Manager, Public Works 

City Attorney (Outside Contract)

City Engineer (Outside Contract)

Recording Secretary (No replacement)

Building Official

Current  > City Directory 

Personnel Changes and a New Position –

Recently announced personnel changes include the retirement of Mark Feldkamp, Parks and Project Manager in the Public Works Department, Kate Black, Planning Director, and Erick Cheung, Finance and Human Resources Director, who was hired March 6, 2013.   Feldkamp, a 20-year employee, will be replaced by Nancy Kent. Black, a 17 year employee, will be replaced on an interim basis by Kevin Jackson, Senior Planner. Cheung’s replacement has not been announced. 

The latest personnel changes come as the City is faced with renewing the Municipal Services Parcel Tax, considering new planning laws, completing Hampton Field improvements, funding employee pension and health care costs, improving IT systems, maintaining facilities, and evaluating recreational needs.

City Administrator Paul Benoit has recommended splitting the position of Finance and Human Resources Director.   A personnel search for Cheung’s replacement has been noted as a priority and is scheduled to be considered on the November  2 Council agenda.

Recommendation from City Administrator Benoit:

“Change in Responsibilities of the Position To ensure that the City attracts a broad and strong pool of municipal finance professionals, I would propose, with City Council authorization, to redefine the job description of the Finance / Human Resources Director position to eliminate the focus on human resources (HR). As such, I would propose recruiting for the position of Finance Director. At the same time, I would propose creating a new classification to absorb some of the duties currently handled by the Finance/HR Director. The exact title, duties, and reporting structure of this new classification will be determined as the process moves forward and will be brought to the Civil Service Commission for approval. I would assign Stacy Jennings, who currently serves much of the day to day human resources work to the new classification.

“Should the City Council approve this direction, I would suggest that we actively pursue recruitment for a Finance Director and, on a parallel track, make the necessary adjustments to the affected position descriptions. Also, Mr. Cheung and I have been meeting with a retired municipal Finance Director who is interested in and capable of serving the City in an interim role while the recruitment is in process. I will conduct additional background research on the individual and, depending on the results of that research, will propose a professional services contract for Council consideration.”

Read the staff report.

The Council has not yet addressed the long term financial impact of adding an additional administrative position.

Allocation of $500,000 at November 2 Council meeting. – 

In 2009 and 2010 revelations from the staff showed costly overruns for the private underground utility district that became a $2.5 million City expense.  Lawsuits ensued with the City recently receiving a settlement of $500,000 for the engineering work of Robert Gray and Associates. City legal action against the engineering firm Harris and Associates continues.

There has been no mention of returning the $450,000 taken from the PG&E Piedmont 20A undergrounding reserves. (Read PCA articles explaining 20A funds  here and Council candidate positions on the $450,000 taken from the 20A PG&E reserves here. Read all PCA articles on undergrounding here.

“20A Districts: 20A funds are provided by PG&E to the City of Piedmont through a requirement in the Public Utility Code which annually sets aside a portion of PG&E revenue for each utility jurisdiction. 20A funds are restricted in use and intended for undergrounding arterial streets. Primary arterial streets such as Highland Avenue, Grand Avenue, and the Civic Center block of Vista were completed using 20A funds.   In the 1980’s the Piedmont City Council designated all of the City’s 20A funds for undergrounding Grand, Moraga, and Oakland Avenues. The undergrounding of Grand Avenue was completed and paid for using 20A funds.  The undergrounding of Moraga and Oakland Avenues has not yet been accomplished.  After 2002, the City Council changed its policy and began the practice of using 20A funds to assist private undergrounding (20B) projects – specifically, the Piedmont Hills, Central Piedmont, and Sea View Avenue Undergrounding Districts.” PCA article 

Details: July 2, 2007 minutes, at page 3-4July 7, 2007 staff Report, p. 3May 7, 2007 staff report, p. 3May 7, 2007 minutes;

Staff report on $500,00 allocation:

“On July 6, 2015 the City Council executed a settlement agreement with Robert Gray & Associates (RGA) for $500K to settle claims related to the creation and construction of the Piedmont Hills Underground Assessment District. The payment was received by the City in August and credited to the City’s General Fund reserves. In keeping with the Council’s prior decision to allocate one-time excess reserves to address needs, staff is recommending that the funds be transferred to the Facilities Maintenance Fund. This does not appropriate the funds in the Facilities Maintenance Fund to any specific project or use, which the Council can do at a future meeting or during the budget process.”  Read the staff report.

Council – 

Mayor Margaret Fujioka started her service as a council member in 2008 and Vice Mayor Jeff Wieler returned to the Council early in 2010. Newer members of the Council are Teddy King, Bob McBain, and Tim Rood.  At the next municipal election in November of 2016, Fujioka’s seat will become vacant when she will be termed out. McBain can run for re-election in 2016 for another four year term.  Wieler will have two more years remaining in his second term; in 2018 his seat will become vacant.  Rood and King’s terms expire in 2018.  Both can seek re-election.

By City Charter, a regular Council term last four years.  Individuals can serve for two consecutive terms, and may seek re-election to additional terms after retiring for 4 years.

Margaret Fujioka, Mayor (510) 463-7821 2nd Term Exp. 11/16
Jeff Wieler, Vice Mayor (510) 428-1648 2nd Term Exp. 11/18
Teddy Gray King (510) 450-0890 1st Term Exp. 11/18
Robert McBain (510) 547-0597 1st Term Exp. 11/16
Tim Rood (510) 239-7663 1st Term Exp. 11/18


The November 2, 2015, Council meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers City Hall. The meeting will be broadcast on Channel 27, KCOM and on the City website.  Agenda.

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