HomeCity Government NewsCity Council Approves Interim City Manager Contract for Collins

City Council Approves Interim City Manager Contract for Collins

Three Firefighters on the Engine, Safe Streets Committee, City Commission Codes and San Marino Ave. Left Turn Lane Also Addressed at July 13 City Council Meeting

The San Marino City Council approved an 11-month contract for incoming Interim City Manager Cindy Collins at its July 13 meeting. Her contract will take effect on August 1, when she assumes her new role, and remain in effect through June 30, 2017.

Collins, currently the City of San Marino’s interim community service director, will start with a base salary of $185,000. In addition, she will be entitled to a $600 automobile allowance, $200 technology allowance, 120 hours of vacation time and 80 hours of administrative leave.

“The compensation package…represents a $1,097 per month savings from what is budgeted for the City Manager position,” according to a city staff report attached to the new interim city manager’s contract.

Her retirement benefits, provided through the state’s public employees’ retirement system, or CalPERS, will be based on a 2 percent at 55 formula—the same formula used in her prior employment with the city.

Collins started with the city in 2001 to oversee the transition of the recreation department from a Joint Powers Agreement with the San Marino Unified School District back to being a sole entity of the city.

She eventually moved up to the position of assistant city manager before retiring in 2012. Since 2012, she has served in interim positions in the cities of San Marino, Chino Hills and Irvine.

According to the contract’s separation clause, Collins may resign at any time provided she supplies the city with 45-day advance written notice. The council may also remove her at any time with or without cause by a majority vote of the council. She is not represented by a union.


Council Says Three Firefighters On Engine Is Acceptable

The City of San Marino can now operate its only fire engine with three firefighters instead of four, thanks to new language which was imposed on the San Marino Firefighters’ Association, or SMFFA, last week.

The language was drafted in a fact-finding report between the city, SMFFA and an independent chairman, which was published in June of this year.

The SMFFA, which bargains with the city on behalf of San Marino’s firefighters, has been at an impasse with the city regarding fire engine staffing since August, 2015.

City Manager John Schaefer and the San Marino City Council embarked on the effort to cut engine staffing to three firefighters in order to reduce overtime costs.

During budget discussions this year, the city council decided to budget $130,000 less than requested for fire department overtime pay, which allows for position coverage when a firefighter uses his earned vacation, sick or injury leave time.

The smaller budget allotment effectively means that there will be four firefighters on the engine for only about nine months out of the year, though past practice has been to staff four firefighters.

San Marino residents pay nearly $3 million per year in public safety taxes. The public safety tax was first approved by San Marino voters in 1985 and has since been reapproved several times.


Safe Streets Committee Appointments

The council appointed 13 members to the newly-formed City of San Marino Ad Hoc Advisory Committee for the Huntington Drive Safe Streets and Safe Routes to School Corridor Improvement Plan.

According to a city report, the plan—to be prepared by traffic engineering consultant KOA of Monterey Park—will include “safety and circulation enhancements for both motorists and pedestrians and planning documents for improved aesthetics and a sustainable community along the Huntington Drive Corridor.”

The 13-member ad hoc advisory committee will provide input on the development of the vision plan for Huntington Drive.

The city received $170,456 in grant funds from the Southern California Association of Governments, or SCAG, “an association of local governments and agencies that voluntarily convene as a forum to address regional issues,” to fund this local program. The city will also provide $18,574 of in-kind matching funds for staff time spent on the plan.

The committee members are residents Crandal Jue, Catherine Lin, Jenna Latt and James Okazaki; business owner Robert Houston; neighborhood leaders Steve Morgan and Mary Ulin; service organization representatives Paul Brassard and John Morris; school representative Liz Hollingsworth; youth representative Jonathan Liu; Police Lt. Richard Ward; and Deputy Fire Chief Mark Phillips.

The committee will have three two-hour meetings—a “project kickoff,” “review of public comments,” and “review and comment on the final document”—which will be held over the course of approximately two years. The committee will approve a final plan at its third meeting, which will be presented to the San Marino City Council at one of its scheduled meetings.

The plan is not binding and the council is free to approve or deny the plan. The council accepted the grant funds in May of this year.


Commissioners on More Than One Commission

The city council agreed with the five findings of a County of Los Angeles Civil Grand Jury report titled “Appointed Commissions: Transparency Will Maintain Public Trust.” It directed City Attorney Steve Dorsey to draft ordinances to implement the recommendations within the findings.

The report recommended that cities in Los Angeles County add to their “Commission Facts” whether or not city commissioners are compensated and attendance is mandated; whether or not elected officials may serve on city commissions; and whether or not city commissioners can serve on more than one commission.

The report also recommended that the cities publish a link to current council and commission agendas and minutes on its website and list its commissioner, departments, services and government in a visible location, again on its website.

“Nobody gets money for all of this, so it’s irrelevant,” said City Attorney Steve Dorsey, referring to the first recommendation. He also added that the city already complies with the latter two recommendations.

Council Member Steve Talt noted that a state law precludes elected officials from serving on a commission and the city council at the same time, which resolved the consideration of one of the two remaining recommendations.

In regards to whether or not commissioners can serve on more than one commission, or “Recommendation 5.3” in the report, Dorsey said commissioners cannot serve on more than one commission if it allows them to decide on an original case and its appeal.

For example, a Design Review Committee member cannot serve on the Planning Commission simultaneously, and vice-versa.

“As far as recreation [commission], library board and traffic [commission], there would not be a prohibition, and whether or not you wanted a prohibition is up to [the council],” Dorsey said.

Talt suggested that the council make its final decision regarding “Recommendation 5.3” after holding a study session at a future council meeting.

The council has until the end of September to respond to the Grand Jury “with information as to whether [the city] agrees or disagrees with the findings and what we have done, will do, or will not do, to implement the recommendations,” according to a staff report.


San Marino Ave. Left Turn Lane Extension

The city council approved a recommendation from the city’s Transportation Advisory Committee to extend the northbound left turn lane on San Marino Avenue at Huntington Drive by 45 feet.

The modification will allow approximately three more cars to get in the left turn lane, according to Terry Rodrigue, the city’s traffic engineer.

The extension will result in one lost street parking space in front of the San Marino Police Department. It will cost $2,000.

Originally proposed as a 100-foot extension and a loss of three street parking spaces, conversation between SMPD and city staff resulted in “a healthy compromise,” according to Police Lt. Aaron Blondè.


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