Let’s reward our public employees for their work – ?? | An alternative view | Diane Diamond


More, we need more. The morale of our public employees is declining.

Two more deputy city managers are what City Manager Ed Shikada asked Palo Alto City Council to approve the other night. This is an increase of two people in its staff. The city already has a deputy general manager and a deputy manager. The board also agreed to hire a new receptionist for the Development Center and a public relations officer for the police department.

A few years ago, that city had about 1,100 employees, but that number has been reduced to 861, in part because of a two-year budget deficit. The city is currently budgeted for up to 961 employees, but hiring is an issue, the council was told. Yet the benefits for employees are immense!

Council member Pat Burt explained that he wanted to hire many more staff, as the city’s financial analyzes indicate that more money than expected will flow into their coffers later this year.

Maybe, but should it be spent immediately? And why do we need more? Because the general manager is overwhelmed with four assistants? And do we really need 1,100 employees for 65,000 inhabitants?

Benefits for Palo Alto employees include medical, dental, employee financial assistance, life insurance, long term disability, and day care assistance. assistance with health care, retirement savings, pensions (5 to 100 percent of a retiree’s salary, cost of living adjustments, etc., according to the city’s website, https: //www.cityofpaloaltoemployee. com / benefits-by-category.


One of our city officials, human resources director Rumi Portillo, urged the council on Monday evening to give more to employees. She said the city normally has gifts to make employees happy. As reported in the Post, she said this year, only masks have been distributed to employees. Morale suffers and “the employees are tired. They are really just to the point of exhaustion.”


City Hall has been closed since March 2020, and many employees “work from home,” they say. They were receiving their full salary, health insurance and continuing pension benefits. The Town Hall started to open slowly on June 1, 2021 (14 months later) but it is still not fully operational. New regulations must be studied, was the reason given for the slowness of the opening.

I know when I used to work from home sometimes home was work. I wrote first, then I had to throw things in the washer, then in the dryer. And sweep the kitchen. At noon I had to run to the grocery store to buy chicken and something else for dinner. For me, home was work. I don’t know if men see it that way.

Either way, Portillo told council the city should spend $ 80,000 on an employee appreciation program – it would help morale.

Is she the city’s human resources manager or is she the head of the employee union? We feel like the latter.

Supervisor Je Simitian pioneered the idea of ​​giving employees who have suffered from the pandemic a ‘Hero Pay’ for working during the coronavirus outbreak. The federal government had given the county $ 72 million for pandemic relief, and I guess supervisors thought the money was a great way to reward employees for working, to the tune of $ 2,500 each ($ 76 million dollars in total) for the 22,000 county employees. County Assessor Larry Stone and County Director Jeffrey Smith said they would each donate money to their hero to help the poor and needy. that and spent all that money to help the poor and the underprivileged. The poor in the county really need it. County employees don’t. Many of them worked from home during this time, with a salary, and the average salary is at a six-figure level.


The ten-digit question: If you have a phone with a 650 prefix, since last Tuesday you have to dial the area code of everyone you call, including your next door neighbor. This is the new FCC requirement, currently for certain designated areas. If you have a 408 prefix, you don’t have to use it for a local call. – at least not yet.

This new requirement has quietly crept into our telephone system, as of October 24. Many of us were surprised, including several newspapers, who read “From today…” As immediately.

This was all apparently done to create a new triple-digit assisted suicide line – nationwide it will be 988, as of July 16, 2022.

Guess it’s a good idea for people who are considering suicide to have an easy number to call if they need help. But was the only possible solution to force all phone users in various parts of the country to dial 10 digits for a call? I mean, are all three digit numbers already in use? Like 444 or 922 or 001? Or was it simply the result of an extremely effective lobby group that caused the FCC to make this change?

It’s all in the numbers these days.

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