BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
The city of Los Altos’ new policy of giving most employees every other Friday off never went before City Council, City Manager Chris Jordan said.
Jordan said he made the decision unilaterally and declined to explain how he came to the decision.
Under a 9/80 schedule, which both Palo Alto and Menlo Park have used since 2001, employees are expected to work 80 hours in nine days, rather than 10.
Jordan refused to explain how employees’ hours would be tracked in order to ensure they were still working 80 hours every pay period.
He said residents would know employees were working longer days “the same way they know that the employees are working eight hours a day now,” but declined to say what he meant by that.
Customer service concerns
Vice Mayor Lynette Lee Eng said she “would have preferred” to see the item presented as an agenda item in a public hearing so residents could weigh in.
“It’s a concern because I’m always concerned about decreased services for residents and the constituents,” Eng told the Post.
But Mayor Jean Mordo said he didn’t mind that Jordan made the decision on his own.
“He runs the city, not the council, but he had the courtesy to tell us he intended to propose to do that,” Mordo told the Post.
Mordo also said he didn’t think the city’s employee unions had asked for the new schedule.
“We have only very few of the employees are unionized, and frankly, they haven’t been pushing for that,” Mordo told the Post. “We cannot pay very high salaries. We try to be competitive, but we are a small city and it’s difficult to attract people.”
Mordo said some employees have 90-minute commutes and that one finance employee commutes from South San Jose on a motorcycle.
‘It’s not a perk’
When Jordan announced the new schedule on Wednesday, he touted it as a measure to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the number of days employees have to commute to work.
“I know it looks like a perk, but it’s not a perk,” Mordo said. “They’ll be here at 7:30 a.m., which is much better for the customers.”
City Hall will now be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, closed alternate Fridays. Walk-in service and front counter hours will end at 4:30 p.m. and close from noon to 1 p.m.
On open Fridays, walk-in services and front counter hours will close early, at 3:30 p.m.
Police won’t be affected by the change. Fire won’t be affected either, since it is provided by the Santa Clara County Fire Department, which is not a city agency.
Hillview Community Center and recreation office hours will remain 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
Of the city’s three employee unions, only the Teamsters’ 2016-to-2019 contract has a provision for a 9/80 schedule if an employee requests it in writing and “if it maintains the service levels we provide and is transparent to our citizens.”
>he had the courtesy to tell us he intended to propose to do that
“intended to propose to do that”. Okay…someone ought to ask Jean Mordo and Chris Jordan:
1) What sort of an explanation is that?
2) Did Chris Jordan actually “do what he proposed to intend to do?? Clearly he did not…so his intentions, proposals etc are meaningless and only pabulum for those that enable his subversion of a City’s due process.
3) Can we imagine a Council member, Mayor Mordo, and other silent Council members complicit in the City Manager arbitrarily, unilaterally taking actions that benefit the Manager and his staff? All that talk about transparency and open governance seems intended to be applied to others but not to City Hall and City Council!
What? So the City Manager on his own just decided to serve himself (and his staff) a big plate of self-help?!
No public discussion, no notice to residents, no Council vote…just the Manager, with the Mayor’s complicity and support, engaging in self-help.
A textbook example of what’s wrong in Los Altos and needs to be investigated and changed.
As for Mayor Mordo’s justification why Chris did not present his proposal for public discussion and Council vote: Chris “intended to propose to do that”.
Perhaps all that intending and proposing and doing was too difficult for Jordan…so he took a short cut and just decided on his own to grant himself and his staff every other Friday off! After all the Mayor has his back…and the silent Council members are complicit…so why not!
The story says: “Jordan refused to explain how employees’ hours would be tracked in order to ensure they were still working 80 hours every pay period. He said residents would know employees were working longer days “the same way they know that the employees are working eight hours a day now,” but declined to say what he meant by that.”
That strikes me as an unprofessional and snarky response. Doesn’t he realize that he works FOR the people of this town? He should be able to explain how the city does time management. That’s a reasonable question.
Are there time clocks or RFID badges? My hunch, based on his evasive and rude answer, is that they use the “honor system”, which means everybody cheats and nobody reports it.
Somebody ought to report this to the grand jury or the DA!
>That strikes me as an unprofessional and snarky response.
Yes, it is unprofessional, snarky, arrogant, and completely opposite to the “transparency and open governance” bandied about by Council members and staff.
>Doesn’t he realize that he works FOR the people of this town?
Clearly not. And why would he? He is the Mayor’s errand boy. Mayor Mordo and some Council members who always go along with Mayor Mordo (rather than think independently) support him.
>Somebody ought to report this to the grand jury or the DA!
This is just one example(of many!) of the conflicts of interest prevalent in Los Altos. Council is not responding to our call for independent investigations.
What needs to be done to report this and other instances of fraud and bad faith to the Grand Jury and/or DA?