Sep 1 2019

The Piedmont City Council met on Tuesday, September 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue. The meeting was broadcast live on the City website and Cable Channel 27.  Recordings of the meeting are available on the City website.

Regular Agenda

  1. Approval of Council Meeting Minutes for 08/05/19

    PCA Council minutes2019-08-05

  2. Receipt of the 2nd Quarter Police Department Report from the Chief of Police 

    See crime statistics, maps, and programs in link below. 

    http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/html/govern/staffreports/2019-09-03/crimereport2nd.pdf

  3. Consideration of Authorization to Solicit Bids for Traffic Calming Measures at the Intersections of Greenbank & Oakland Avenues as well as Fairview & Grand Avenues

    APPROVED BY THE COUNCIL

    http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/html/govern/staffreports/2019-09-03/trafficcalming.pdf

  4. Introduction of the City’s New Website

    http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/html/govern/staffreports/2019-09-03/newwebsite.pdf

 

Sep 1 2019

The League of Women Voters of Piedmont & City of Piedmont

Invite you to Join
Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson

for a Discussion about the 2020 Census

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm Piedmont Community Hall 711 Highland Ave, Piedmont CA

Keith Carson, Piedmont’s representative on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, will lead a discussion on the importance of the decennial census, getting counted, and how citizens can become involved in the process on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. in the Piedmont Community Hall.

A native of Berkeley, Carson attended Berkeley High School and Merritt College. He then transferred to UC Berkeley where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences. Carson went on to receive his Master of Public Administration from California State University, Hayward (now California State University, East Bay.) He has served on the Board of Supervisors since 1993.

Please attend for this timely, informative discussion. The event is free and open to the public.

May 28 2019

City Council to Appoint Recreation Director Sara Lillevand to be Piedmont’s First Female City Administrator

Ms. Lillevand’s appointment will be on the agenda of the Monday, June 17 City Council meeting. 

After an extensive recruitment process, which resulted in forty three applicants, the City Council has selected Sara Lillevand to serve as Piedmont’s next City Administrator.

Ms. Lillevand currently serves as the City’s Recreation Director, a position to which she was appointed by the City Council in 2014. As a part of the City’s senior management team, she has worked on major issues facing the City, including facilities maintenance and planning. She was a key member of the team which managed the Hampton Park renovation project and developed the highly successful fundraising program to fund the renovations, which raised over $800,000.

Working collaboratively, she has been a leading member of the teams which developed conceptual master plans for the Community Pool, the Recreation Center, the Veterans Memorial Building, and Linda Park.

In her four and a half years as Recreation Director, Ms. Lillevand has focused on increasing community engagement in Recreation Department programs. With community input, Ms. Lillevand also successfully reorganized the department’s Schoolmates program in response to changes in school schedules, allowing the program to continue to provide a high level of service to residents while remaining revenue positive, and implemented new programs for middle school students and seniors.

“Sara is an ideal choice to serve as Piedmont City Administrator,” said Mayor Robert McBain. “Her leadership skills and dedication to the community are unparalleled. Her work as Recreation Director has shown that she can bring Piedmonters together to help our community move forward. Sara has been a leader and a trailblazer her whole life and we look forward to her continued leadership as Piedmont City Administrator.”

“I am honored and privileged to be given the opportunity to serve Piedmont as its next City Administrator,” said Lillevand. I thank Paul Benoit for his exceptional guidance and mentorship as well as the Council for its confidence in me. I look forward to serving the community with vision, integrity, and a commitment to engagement.”

The Council will formally consider Ms. Lillevand’s appointment on June 17, 2019.

Sara Lillevand grew up in Piedmont and attended Piedmont schools.  She and her children reside in Piedmont.  Lillevand and her family have long been enthusiastic supporters of Piedmont sports and Piedmont schools.

May 28 2019

Piedmont Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee:

Thursday, May 30, 2019

7:00 p.m.

City Hall Conference Room, 120 Vista Avenue, City Hall

The Committee will consider what to recommend to the City Council regarding taxes on Piedmont properties.  The meetings of the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee are not broadcast. Committee minutes of the meetings are not produced.  No supporting documents are available to the public prior to Committee consideration.  The meetings are open to the public, and upon request at the meeting, any documents distributed to the Committee will be made available to the public.

Agenda calls for 

  1. Discussion of the Municipal Services Special Tax (Parcel Tax) and Consideration of the Committee’s Review of the Parcel Tax Pursuant to Resolution 120-14

Roster 

Council Liaison: Mayor Robert McBain – rmcbain@piedmont.ca.gov – (VM) 420-3048
Staff Liaison: Finance Director Michael Szczech – mszczech@piedmont.ca.gov – (W) 420-3045

Committee Members:

Cathie Geddeis

Bill Hosler

Deborah Leland

Christina Paul

Maya Rath

Michael Reese

Frank Ryan

Alternate:

Chris Kwei

Apr 7 2019

Charter Revisions Make City Administrator Selection Vital to Piedmont. 

Will there be an opportunity for public input on the qualifications sought in a new City Administrator?

The Piedmont City Council is moving ahead to find a replacement for City Administrator Paul Benoit, who is retiring in June 2019.

Minutes from February 25, 2019 Special Council action meeting can be read by clicking > 2019-02-25_special

Public input methods and characteristics sought in a new City Administrator by the City Council have not been publicized.  In the past, the community has been given opportunities to provide comments and ideas on desired characteristics of top Piedmont officials.

The recently voter approved Charter revisions place the decision of retention of key employees with the City Administrator rather than with the City Council.

In November 2018, the City Council and City Administrator Paul Benoit proposed and Piedmont voters approved City Charter changes transferring long-held Council responsibilities to the Piedmont City Administrator.  If the City Council and City Administrator disagree on the retention of key-officers – Police Chief, Fire Chief, Planning Director, Finance Director, Public Works Director, etc., only  the City Administrator has the right and authority to determine these key employees continued employment with the City.

The next City Administrator may require a different set of skills than previous candidates.

The Council selects the key-officers of the City, but the Council cannot terminate or retain their choices if the City Administrator does not agree.  Given a disagreement between the City Administrator and the City Council, the Council by law can terminate the City Administrator and then select another person to fill the City Administrator position who will then make decisions.  The City Administrator, by law, is singularly entitled to make firing and retention decisions regarding top officers and will bear the sole responsibility for those decisions.

This major change in Piedmont governance makes selection of an appropriate City Administrator all the more important to Piedmonters.

Some comments made in the community have suggested the following characteristics be sought in a new City Administrator:

  • Understanding of California law and application to Piedmont
  • Belief in open and transparent government
  • Familiar with Piedmont City Charter
  • Proven ability to propose and work within budgetary constraints 
  • Ability to encourage varying points of view
  • Speaking and writing skills commensurate with responsibilities
  • Foster community participation in Piedmont decisions
  • Support broadcasts of Piedmont public meetings
  • Experience with personnel decisions including terminations
  • A previous track record of administering a comparable public entity in California
  • Plans for service in Piedmont extending beyond 5 years
  • Understand the difference between Council and Administrative decisions
  • Willingness to work with the Piedmont School District
  • Ability to develop and encourage appropriate employee activities
Mar 28 2019

At a special meeting on March 25, 2019, the City Council interviewed applicants and made appointments to fill vacancies on commissions and committees. Drawing on the talents of twenty two applicants for twenty vacancies, the City Council made the following appointments:

Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee

Chris Kwei

Christina Paul 

Maya Rath

Frank Ryan

*

CIP Review Committee

Michael Henn

John Lenahan

*

Civil Service Commission

Claudia Harrison

David Hobstetter

*

Park Commission

Betsy Goodman

Jim Horner

Brian Mahany

*

Planning Commission

Rani Batra

Yildiz Duransoy

Douglas Strout

*

Public Safety Committee

Shanti Brien

Lori Elefant

Lynne Wright

*

Recreation Commission

Glyn Burge

Jeffrey Dorman

Vincent Fisher

Congratulations to all and thank you for serving Piedmont!

Mar 25 2019

Alameda County Civil Grand Jury Opens for New Members

Deadline: April 1, 2019

Alameda County is seeking applications for residents who wish to serve on the Civil Grand Jury. The Civil Grand Jury serves as the County’s citizen watchdog group by investigating local government operations and citizen complaints.

For more information on what the Civil Grand Jury does, please refer to Grand Jury’s website at http://acgov.acgov.org/grandjury/ , or view the brochure here.

Civil Grand Jurors serve a term of one year, beginning on July 1st and ending on June 30th. To serve on the Civil Grand Jury, you must be over 18, have lived in Alameda County for at least one year, be able to dedicate 10-20 hours per week, and possess sufficient knowledge of the English language. Grand Jurors are paid $15 per day plus mileage.

If you would like to apply, please download the application form and submit it to Alameda County for consideration no later than April 1, 2019. Please contact Cassie Barner at (510) 208-9855 with questions about the Civil Grand Jury.

Nov 21 2018

The race narrowed to under 50 votes between School Board candidates Amal Smith and Julie Caskey.

As of this publication, none of the previously announced results changed; only the number of votes changed. 

Apparently, the many ballots sent by mail or placed in the community ballot boxes were not counted on election night, hence the reporting delays in Alameda County.

On November 17, 2018, the Alameda County Registrar of Voter posted the following results.  Candidates elected and measures approved are noted with an *.

Members of the Piedmont Unified School Board:

*Megan Pillsbury      3389      31.71 %

*Amal Smith               2833       26.51%

  Julie Caskey               2785      26.06%

  Hari Titan                    1669      15.62 %

 Write-in                             12        0.11%

Members, City Council – Piedmont 

* Betsy Smegal Andersen     4796     34.38%

* Teddy Gray King                   4377      31.38%

* Tim Rood                                 4255     30.50%

   Sunny Bostrom-fleming       451        3.23%

   Write-in                                        70        0.50%

Measure BB: Reduced requirements for contract bidding and Council meetings, increased years to prevent former council members seeking re-election from 4 to 8 years.

* Yes         3923        65.07%

    No          2106        34.93%

Measure CC: Requires top officers of the City to serve at the pleasure of the City Administrator rather than the City Council.

* Yes           3887       66.54%

   No             1955       33.46%

For any further, yet unlikely, updated results, click below:

https://www.acgov.org/rovresults/236/index.htm

Nov 4 2018

The following Letter to the Editor of The Piedmont Post was sent to the Post, but was not published in the Post.  It is published here for PCA readers.

VOTE NO on CC – Unacceptable City Charter changes.

CC  – the “hire, but can’t fire” proposal –  would unacceptably change Piedmont’s successful government by prohibiting the City Council from acting to retain or terminate their chosen Department Heads – Fire Chief, Police Chief, Finance Director, Recreation Director, etc. 

Piedmonters should not enact this law. It promises problems found in other cities where councils have lost their authority and ability to act.  A new government layer will separate Piedmonters from Council authority. 

Only one person, the unelected City Administrator, would be allowed by Charter to evaluate, direct, retain and terminate Council-hired  key employees -Police, Fire, Finance, Recreation, etc.  

Piedmont’s current Charter works and is coveted by others. 

With 22 years in elected office – Mayor, Council Member, Planning Commissioner, AC Transit President and Director, I have reviewed the Charter proposals and found proposals not in the best interest of keeping Piedmont a great place to live. 

The Charter merits updating, but NOT as proposed by Measure CC.  

Keep Piedmont’s Council strong. Await appropriate Charter change proposals.

VOTE NO on CC at the end of your ballot. 

Alice Creason,

Former: Piedmont Mayor, Council Member, Planning Commissioner, AC Transit President, Director, Piedmont Beautification Foundation Trustee

Oct 31 2018

We’ve all heard that old adage, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” That’s what comes to mind with Measures BB and CC on the upcoming ballot.

The proponents of BB and CC claim they are merely updates to our “outdated” City Charter and will result in more openness and transparency. But when you look at what’s actually proposed, you’ll realize that BB and CC do more harm than good.

Measure BB proposes to change at least fourteen sections of the City Charter.

Although the proponents of Measure BB claim it merely updates the City Charter, it’s so much more than that. It impacts several key areas, among them being the elimination of competitive bidding. BB allows Council to raise and, in some cases, waive competitive bidding thresholds. So voting for this measure gives carte blanche for city contracts to bypass competitive bidding. As written, this aspect of Measure BB could have tremendous negative financial impacts on the city.

Measure BB would also impact the election and meeting requirements of the City Council by eliminating the need for twice-monthly meetings and changing the interval from the current four years to eight years (two terms) before a City Council member could run again. School Board members have this same four-year interval, and they are not seeking a change.

Measure CC abolishes Council authority to discipline city staff.

These proposed changes weaken the authority of the City Council and decrease the public’s opportunities to participate in city government and hold its council members accountable.

Piedmont’s department heads – Police, Fire, Recreation Director, Finance, etc. – are currently hired and fired by City Council, allowing the Council to be aware of the workings of various city departments and providing accountability to the public from their elected representatives. Measure CC weakens this authority by giving all responsibility to the unelected City Administrator to evaluate and terminate city employees. This proposed change creates obstacles that currently don’t exist, removes transparency, and is rife with unforeseen consequences, including potential decreases in morale, increases in employee turnover, and wrongful termination lawsuits.

The City Charter has been serving Piedmont well since its last revision forty years ago. It’s not broken. The ballot text for Measures BB and CC don’t tell the whole story. Visit http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/city-council-places-charter-measures-on-ballot/to see what these measures really do.

Please join me in voting NO on Measures BB and CC.

Melanie Robertson, Former Piedmont Planning Commissioner