BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
This sounds like a question from a bad cop show: What were the members of the Los Altos City Council, City Manager Chris Jordan and City Attorney Chris Diaz doing yesterday (Nov. 27) between 6 and 7 p.m.?
They had posted an agenda on Monday afternoon saying they would be talking about giving raises to the city’s highest-paid employees — who last got raises in June — behind closed doors.
But that didn’t happen, Diaz announced after 7 p.m., at the beginning of the public portion of the council meeting.
The raises for non-union employees — around 20 or 30 managers and other salaried workers — were the only item listed on the closed session agenda, but Diaz said in open session that the council had not discussed local agency executive salaries.
The Post reported yesterday (Nov. 27) that the city would be violating the Brown Act, California’s open meeting law, if it discussed the salaries in closed session yesterday.
Under the Brown Act, local agency executive salaries can only be discussed at regularly scheduled meetings, which require at least 72 hours’ notice to the public.
Yesterday’s closed-session meeting was scheduled around 4:15 p.m. Monday as a “special meeting,” which only requires 24 hours’ notice. But salaries aren’t an allowed subject for a “special meeting,” according to the law.
The late agenda came after the Post left messages with Jordan and Administrative Services Director Sharif Etman asking why almost no information about the raises — including the amounts, the cost to the city or the findings of a consultant recommending them — had been publicized with the agenda announcing a public discussion of the raises.
The council also didn’t end up discussing the raises in public last night, as initially planned.
Salary hikes punted to next council
After emerging from closed session, Mayor Jean Mordo said the council had decided to postpone the public discussion of the raises for “further study” on a future agenda.
That means the discussion will come after Councilwomen-elect Neysa Fligor and Anita Enander are sworn in next Tuesday, knocking Mordo and Councilwoman Mary Prochnow off the dais.
Roberta Phillips, who managed Vice Mayor Lynette Lee Eng’s campaign in 2016, said on Monday that she thought the city was trying to rush the raises through before the more fiscally conservative Anita Enander takes over for Mordo.
Mordo responded Monday that the city was trying to set the raises before the council changed hands to avoid having to bring Enander and Fligor up to speed on prior closed-session discussions about the raises.
Decision was to have been made in secret
Mordo said on Monday that the raises would be approved in public only after the council decided on them in private.
Non-union employees got 3.2% raises in June 2018. In June 2017, they got 3.8% raises and in June 2016 they got 2.7% raises.
Jordan makes $228,360 and has no salary cap. The assistant city manager, the police chief and department directors can all make more than $200,000 a year.