The meeting was called to order at 6:23 P.M. by Mayor Long at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, notice having been given with affidavit thereto on file.
City Council roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Clark, Gardiner, Stern, and Mayor Long
Also present were City Manager Carolyn Lehr, City Attorney Carol Lynch, Deputy City Manager Carolynn Petru, Director of Planning, Building & Code Enforcement Joel Rojas, Director of Public Works Jim Bell, Director of Finance/Information Technology Dennis McLean, Deputy Director of Finance/Information Technology Kathryn Downs, Director of Recreation and Parks Ron Rosenfeld, Senior Administrative Analyst Matt Waters, and City Clerk Carla Morreale.
The Flag Salute was led by City Manager Carolyn Lehr.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to approve the Agenda. Hearing no objection, Mayor Long so ordered.
Sunshine, Rancho Palos Verdes, commented that she missed Lois Knight LaRue’s presence at the Council meetings.
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
Councilman Gardiner requested a separate vote for Item 3 and he indicated that he would be abstaining from voting on the approval of the Minutes in Item 2 for the following meetings from which he was absent: January 16, 2007, January 30, 2007, and April 3, 2007.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to approve the Consent Calendar, as amended. The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz and Mayor Long
Motion to Waive Full Reading
Adopted a motion to waive reading in full of all ordinances presented at the meeting with consent of the waiver of reading deemed to be given by all Council Members after the reading of the title.
Approval of the Minutes
Approved the Minutes of January 16, 2007 Regular Meeting (Councilman Gardiner abstained), January 30, 2007 Adjourned Regular Meeting (Councilman Gardiner abstained), February 6, 2007 Regular Meeting, March 6, 2007 Adjourned Regular Meeting, March 20, 2007 Adjourned Regular Meeting, and April 3, 2007 Adjourned Regular Meeting (Councilman Gardiner abstained).
Adoption of Ordinance No. 458 Governing Residential Picketing
A separate roll call vote was taken for the Adoption of Ordinance No. 458 Governing Residential Picketing. The roll call vote reflected the following:
AYES: Clark, Stern and Mayor Long
ADOPTED ORDINANCE NO. 458 “AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING TITLE 9 OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE TO ADD REGULATIONS GOVERNING PICKETING IN RESIDENTIAL ZONES IN THE CITY.”
Annual Levy of Storm Drain User Fee (Fiscal Year 2007-08)
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2007-57, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, DESIGNATING A TIME AND PLACE FOR HEARING PROTESTS IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROPOSED LEVY OF THE ANNUAL STORM DRAIN USER FEE FOR FISCAL YEAR 2007-08.
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Budget Work Session for FY 07-08 & FY 08-09
Deputy City Manager Petru provided a brief staff report and noted she had recently received statistics indicating a slight increase in the number of service calls for 2006 which increased the costs for the Sheriff’s contract for FY07-08.
Responding to Mayor Pro Tem Stern, Deputy Finance Director Downs clarified that the General Fund contribution to the Equipment Replacement Fund had been decreased because the Equipment Replacement Fund currently has a fund balance that exceeds the fair market value of capitalized assets.
Councilman Gardiner asked for additional information about the proposed four new staff positions.
City Manager Lehr explained that in deciding on the additional staff positions needed, the factors considered were the following: the scope of work added to departments over the last several years, new mandates, requests for service, and additional goals to be addressed per the City Council’s requests, which added a great deal more to the staff’s work load. She noted that the proposed positions were standard classifications and the mid-salary range was proposed for the corresponding positions.
Council and staff discussed various tasks that have been added over the years and which departments were responsible for handling the additional workload. Discussion also focused on modifying, eliminating, or improving programs and goals to decrease the amount of required work. The Council considered the pros and cons of contracting out tasks and acknowledged that the increased workload requiring excessive regular overtime hours was unacceptable and had to be discontinued.
Councilman Gardiner indicated that he desired to see a list of the additional duties and responsibilities with a corresponding analysis to support the four requested staff positions. He stated he would like to know if the staffing needs were long term or short term and if they were short term, he would like to see them filled on a contract basis.
Councilman Clark inquired how staff quantified the number of positions necessary to close the fundamental gap between the workload and the current staffing level.
City Manager Lehr explained that staff arrived at the number of positions after examining the major growth in responsibilities over the years, department by department, taking note of the extra hours worked by staff and the additional responsibilities that had been absorbed. She reported that the more dire situations were identified and she believed the overall situation was unacceptable. She noted that although the Recreation and Parks Department had not been included, they needed additional help as well because of increased responsibilities related to Open Space and Trails, which was anticipated to continue growing.
Councilman Clark inquired if there were staff positions that had been identified with diminished duties.
City Manager Lehr reported that she had examined low priority tasks but had not been able to identify tasks to delete. She observed that the City had a large number of Boards and Commissions in order to encourage public involvement and that these advisory boards increased staff workload significantly.
Mayor Long indicated that he believed the staff positions were justified as a result of the increased workloads.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern acknowledged the qualitative difference between the work performed in the past compared to the present and commented that staff had the perspective to see recurring issues and identify areas that need to be changed to make the processes more efficient.
City Manager Lehr indicated that staff had not developed a wish list, but rather had sought positions to handle the increasing workload. She acknowledged that she was new to the City and wanted to make additional observations, and suggested that there could be tasks that the Council could consider scaling back on.
Council and staff discussed the proposed upcoming management audit, current overtime levels, and whether establishing four new positions could decrease overhead.
Councilman Gardiner indicated that he believed it foolish to establish four new staff positions with an operational audit pending.
City Manager Lehr suggested that if the audit indicated that four positions were not necessary, staff would look at options to reorder the workload. She pointed out that a small amount of attrition typically occurred throughout each year and estimated that the management audit would be complete by the end of 2007.
Sunshine, Rancho Palos Verdes, expressed concern with the level of maintenance of the trails outside of the Portuguese Bend Preserve and cited safety issues with the trails along Palos Verdes Drive East in the vicinity of Sunnyside Ridge Road.
City Manager Lehr indicated that staff would provide the requested level of analysis in the area of Human Resources and that further study would be made regarding the impact of increases in the Sheriff’s contract.
Councilman Clark expressed opposition to increasing the budget for Channel 33 until he saw a different plan other than the City underwriting the expenses. He inquired if staff was pursuing grants or collaborative relationships with other cities on the peninsula, the school district, or private sponsorships to assist in the funding of the station.
Mayor Long moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to continue discussion of the budget for Channel 33 until after the subcommittee met on June 4, 2007. Hearing no objection, Mayor Long so ordered.
Responding to Councilman Clark, Deputy City Manager Petru indicated that the increase to the Sheriff’s contract was primarily due to increased labor costs. She noted that the budget item reflected that the dedicated traffic enforcement officer’s rate of pay would be converted to the regular rate, as staff had been unsuccessful in negotiating for an extension of the decreased initial rate.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern directed staff to return with a more detailed analysis and clarification for Council regarding the request for four additional staff positions.
Mayor Long inquired if City staff had assessed the effectiveness of the animal control contract and reported receiving several complaints about the present service level. He requested that consideration be given to assessing the present animal control contract performance and possible alternatives, because he did not feel the City was getting the described response times.
Councilman Gardiner requested that professional technical services and maintenance services within the Information Technology program be broken down by vendors.
Responding to Councilman Clark, Finance Director McLean indicated that while staff had not compared the current informal bidding process with members of the South Bay Cities Council of Governments’ or the League of California Cities’ pool, staff had compared the current process with California Multiple Award Schedule pool purchasing and the City had compared favorably.
Responding to a request from Councilman Gardiner, Finance Director McLean explained that the increase under telephone service was predominantly due to the proposed addition of seven BlackBerry devices and noted there was very little long distance telephone usage at the City.
Councilman Gardiner observed that he did not see customer service performance indicators reflected in the staff report.
Mayor Long pointed out that Councilman Gardiner was assigning an additional task and noted he should be mindful of how many hours that would take to accomplish.
City Manager Lehr reported that staff had discussed ways to improve customer service, but noted the items in the budget were not intended to be specific customer service measures. She indicated that there would be a greater emphasis on customer service improvement measures once the City Manager’s Achievement Plan was approved. She added that greater specificity would be achieved when each department head developed his own management achievement plan for his department.
Responding to Mayor Long, City Manager Lehr indicated that staff would investigate the possibility of using the 1911 Street Lighting Act Funds on a joint project with Southern California Edison to replace existing street lights in residential neighborhoods with more energy efficient light fixtures.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Mayor Long, to review the draft budget document for FY 07-08 and FY 08-09 and instruct staff to include the following in the draft document: 1) $206,300 decrease in the City Attorney program; 2) $208,400 decrease in contributions to the Equipment Replacement Fund; 3) $300,000 increase in revenues; and, 4) $156,800 increase in the Sheriff contract costs. The motion included the direction to staff to conduct a more detailed descriptive and quantitative analysis justifying the need for four additional staff positions with a cost comparison to hiring contract employees, and the retention of the employee merit pool of 7% in lieu of a step system. A voice vote reflected unanimous approval.
RECESS AND RECONVENE:
Mayor Long called a brief recess from 7:58 P.M. to 8:13 P.M.
Council and staff discussed the transition from contract to in-house employees in the Building Safety Department and Councilman Gardiner requested further information on the matter.
Proposed Management Achievement Plan
There was Council discussion regarding the City Manager’s proposed Management Achievement Plan and if management performance should be measured by expenditure of effort, performance, or the achievement of goals, regarding the goal of incorporating the Eastview area into the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District (PVPUSD).
City Manager Lehr pointed out that achievement of the goal was dependent on cooperation from the PVPUSD Board Members, the Los Angeles Unified School District Board Members, and Assemblymember Betty Karnette. She indicated that neither the Council nor staff could guarantee a meeting or the end result.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to approve the Management Achievement Plan for the first six-month period in accordance with the Employment Agreement dated March 7, 2007. Hearing no objection, Mayor Long so ordered.
CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:
Councilman Clark reported that he had recently appointed another Council member from the region, Councilwoman Sunja Lowenthal of Long Beach, as an alternate for his position on the California Coastal Commission. He also reported attending the 42nd Annual California Contract Cities Educational Conference in Indian Wells with City Manager Lehr and three other Councilmembers.
Councilman Gardiner reported that the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) was looking for an appropriate site on the east side of the City to place a sensor to monitor air quality and added that he had become aware of an opportunity for the City to join with others to influence activities in the Port of Los Angeles.
City Manager Lehr indicated that staff had discussed the AQMD air-monitoring device and Planning Director Rojas indicated that further research was being done to find an appropriate location.
Public Works Director Bell reported on a recent accident involving a gravel truck with failed brakes traveling down Hawthorne Boulevard, causing the truck to strike another vehicle. He noted that staff has been in communication with the developers of the Terranea Resort Hotel to see what they could do to assist and was told that no further trucks have been delivering loads to Terranea since that time.
COUNCIL DISCUSSION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS & SUGGESTION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:
Councilman Clark requested that a specific schedule for an operational audit of City Hall, including the RFP release, review of proposals, and award of the contract be placed on a future agenda. Councilman Clark requested that Council be apprised of steps being taken to maintain the current condition of the Pt. Vicente Interpretive Center in light of the heavy public and private use of the facility.
At 8:35 P.M. the Council adjourned to Tuesday, June 5, 2007 at 6:30 P.M. at Hesse Park.
s/ Thomas D. Long
/s/ Carla Morreale