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JUNE 2014 |

The Monthly Magazine of the League of California Cities速

Technology, Tools and Techniques To Reach Your Community p.13 The Gatto Act: New Opportunities For Environmental Cleanup p.10 Use Free Technology to Enhance Public Meetings p.6

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CONTENTS 2 Calendar of League Events 3 President’s Message

10 Legal Notes

Taking Service to the Next Level With 311

 The Gatto Act Provides Cities With New Opportunities for Environmental Cleanup

By José Cisneros

By Leah Goldberg

The 311 Customer Service Center operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide access to City and County of San Francisco government information and services.

The Legislature’s elimination of redevelopment agencies in 2012 stripped cities of several important tools to address blight in the community. Meanwhile, contamination or the threat of contamination still serves as a blighting influence in many California communities. The Gatto Act provides local agencies with a tool to address brownfields.

The goal is to assist callers with questions or requests for service at the time of the call.

6 City Forum

Use Free Technology to Enhance Public Meetings By Melissa Kuehne Local governments can access free resources and borrow equipment, including keypad polling devices and translation gear, to enhance public meetings and engage the community.

7 Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

 Deciding When to Step Aside From the Decision-Making Process: Abstentions And Disqualifications, Part 2 of 2 The issues related to refraining from participation in an agency decision can be vexing. It may be tempting to abstain because of concerns about making an unpopular decision or simply not knowing which decision is best. Nevertheless, making decisions is what officials are elected to do.

Technology, Tools and 13  Techniques to Reach Your Community

By the Institute for Local Government Public Engagement Team Local governments use a wide variety of technology options in their efforts to connect with their communities. While some technology may be costly, many options are reasonably priced and the range of available choices is broad enough to be feasible for any local government, from large to small.

Job Opportunities 19  Professional Services 23  Directory

Cover Illustration: Vladgrin/ Shutterstock.com


President José Cisneros Treasurer San Francisco

1400 K Street Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 658-8200 Fax (916) 658-8240

Second Vice President Katherine Miller Council Member Stockton

Immediate Past President Bill Bogaard Mayor Pasadena

Executive Director Chris McKenzie

leaguevents

Magazine Staff Editor in Chief Jude Hudson, Hudson + Associates (916) 658-8234 email: editor@westerncity.com

June

Managing Editor Eva Spiegel (916) 658-8228 email: espiegel@cacities.org

19 – 20

Policy Committee Meetings, Sacramento The League’s policy committees review issues of interest to cities statewide and make recommendations to the League board of directors.

Advertising Sales Manager Pam Maxwell-Blodgett (916) 658-8256 email: maxwellp@cacities.org

20

Legal Advocacy Committee Meeting, Sacramento The committee reviews and recommends friend-of-the-court efforts on cases of significant statewide interest to California cities.

Administrative Assistant Anita Lopez (916) 658-8223 email: alopez@cacities.org

JULY

Contributors Dalea Fong Koreen Kelleher JoAnne Speers Patrick Whitnell

17 – 18

Board of Directors’ Meeting, Monterey The League board reviews, discusses and takes action on a variety of issues affecting cities, including legislation, legal advocacy, education and training, and more.

Associate Editors Jim Carnes Carol Malinowski Carolyn Walker

SEPTEMBER

Design Taber Creative Group

3– 5

Advertising Design ImagePoint Design For photo credits, see page 20. Western City (ISSN 0279-5337) is published monthly by the League of California Cities, 1400 K St., Sacramento, CA 95814. Subscriptions: $39.00/1 year; $63.00/2 years; student: $26.50; foreign: $52.00; single copies: $4.00, including sales tax. Entered as periodical mail January 30, 1930, at the Post Office, Los Angeles, CA 90013, under the Act of April 13, 1879. Periodical postage paid at Sacramento, Calif.

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ED US IN

Event and registration information is available at www.cacities.org/events. For the latest information on League conferences and events, follow us on Twitter @CaCitiesLearn. For legislative and policy updates and more, follow @CaCities. Follow Western City @WesternCityMag. Join us on Facebook. www.facebook.com/westerncity www.facebook.com/LeagueofCaCities

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League of California Cities 2014 Annual Conference & Expo, Los Angeles This conference offers dozens of educational sessions, numerous professional development opportunities, hundreds of exhibits and a chance to participate in the League’s policy-making activities at the Annual Business Meeting.

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Postmaster: Send address changes to Western City, 1400 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. Western City Trademark Reg. U.S. Pat. Off. ©2014 League of California Cities. All rights reserved. Material may not be reprinted without written permission. This issue is Volume XC, No. 6.

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First Vice President Tony Ferrara Mayor Arroyo Grande

League of California Cities

Did You Miss the May Issue? Read it online at www.westerncity.com www.cacities.org


e c i l v e r v e S ext Le N g n i k a T

With

his month Western City focuses on technology and how cities are using it to enhance public service and engage the community. In San Francisco, we offer a 311 Customer Service Center that residents, businesses and visitors can access in a variety of ways — online, through mobile applications or with a phone call. The 311 Customer Service Center operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide access to City and County of San Francisco government information and services. The goal is to assist callers with questions or requests for service at the time of the call. Less than 5 percent of the center’s overall call volume results in a caller being transferred to another department for an answer. The 311 customer service representatives (CSRs) use the system to easily access information needed to answer the most frequently asked questions. The 311 service uses a customer relationship management system to facilitate: • Easy placement of customer orders for city services; • Efficient routing of those requests to the appropriate department; and • Tracking and reporting on those requests.

to the

1 1 3 How It Works

Call center. The CSRs answer calls for general information and take service requests in more than 170 languages. A total of 65 staff the phones, including CSRs who are certified bilingual for Spanish and Cantonese. The city contracts with a translation service for other languages, and the 311 call center uses this service. The call center also employs six CSR supervisors and 14 administrative support staff, plus a group of five to 10 as-needed employees.

President’s Message by José Cisneros

Mobile services. The 311 center’s mobile applications allow users to quickly and easily report issues by sending pictures, a brief description and a map-based location. The SF311 Mobile App provides current request status and sends a notification upon completion. In addition to the SF311 Mobile App, the system also includes the Open311 application programming interface, which is a platform that allows outside developers to create apps for the 311 system. Users can access Open311 apps created specifically for their particular mobile device. This feature is located on the website under “Contact Us.” continued

Online services. Information about city services is available on the 311 website and spans a range from birth certificates and local events to housing and parking meters. The user can request services from menu items that include animals and pets, building and construction, business, community, parks, streets and sidewalks, garbage and graffiti, transportation, utilities and other city services. Users can also submit service requests via a self-service portal on the website and through Facebook and Twitter.

The center was launched in March 2007 and answered its 16 millionth call on March 4, 2014.

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Western City, June 2014

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Taking Service to the Next Level With 311, continued

The 311 center’s mobile applications allow users to quickly and easily report issues by sending pictures, a brief description and a map-based location.

Enterprise reporting and open data. The 311 system manages the information that it collects through all of its contacts and consolidates it into organized and informative reports for city agencies as well as the Mayor’s Office, the board of supervisors and any member of the public or press who requests information. The 311 service requests are published to San Francisco’s Open Data Portal.

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3 City Addresses, Phone, Fax and Websites 3 Advertisers with Products and Services That Your City Needs

With the 2014 City Hall Directory, the information you need is right at your fingertips. Download the order form online: http://www.cacities.org/Resources or call (916) 658-8217.

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Service hub integrates requests. Many city agencies have applications optimized for their specific work. The service hub enables city departments, including public works, the municipal transportation agency and the water, power and sewer agency — as well as contracted city maintenance agencies — to exchange requests electronically and complete the requests in their own system. This eliminates the need to train department users on additional systems, simplifies work routing, eliminates the need for faxed requests and provides capacity for tracking and accountability. In essence, the service hub makes 311 the repository of most service requests, allowing various departments to pick up 311 requests and route them through their own department. Anyone doing business with the city can use the system to track requests. Funding. The costs of the 311 service are paid through a mix of the General Fund and the enterprise funds of some municipal departments. Marketing and building awareness. When San Francisco first launched the 311 center, the service was promoted extensively through the use of street banners, ads and promotions at bus stop shelters. Now in its eighth year, the 311

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service benefits from widespread word of mouth, and virtually every city department references and links to 311. Occasionally a 311 representative will attend a neighborhood meeting to speak about the service if the requesting group includes a large number of people. Brochures explaining the service are also available.

Figure 1. Cases by Channel Period

Web

Open311

Voice

Twitter

FY 2012–13

66,256

4,797

223,418

3,915

FY 2013–14 (Through second quarter)

35,217

12,900

115,678

1,368

Key Facts and Statistics As Figure 1 (at right) indicates, the service has seen a significant increase in self-reporting using the Open311 apps during the first half of FY 2013–14. Figure 2 (below) shows the number of cases per year for each service category. The chart reflects how the 311 service has changed and expanded since its inception.

Tips for Cities Seeking to Launch Similar Efforts If your city is considering a 311 service, keep the following points in mind.

• Simple can be better. Avoid the common desire of trying to automate 100 percent of the processes. Allowing for some manual intervention can greatly reduce complexity. Work collaboratively with all departments to address their concerns prior to taking on any new processes. A 311 customer service representative can be courteous and professional but if the reported pothole doesn’t get fixed, 311 will be blamed. • Don’t become a switchboard. The value of 311 comes from being able to address each caller’s questions and issues at the time of the call.

• The support of local elected officials is essential. • Every department should have a 311 designated liaison to assist with questions and/or explain business processes.

• Establish a quality assurance process to ensure adherence and customer satisfaction.

• Don’t skimp on training. This applies to 311 customer service representatives as well as other agencies’ staff who will also need to learn the system to manage the requests. • Don’t announce a launch date until staff is fully trained and the system has been tested and is ready to go. If the center is not successful from inception, people will say it has failed — and you may not get a second chance. • Maximize your reporting capabilities to build in transparency and accountability and add value to the center. For more information, visit www.SF311.org. ■

Figure 2. Cases Per Year by Service

350,000

Assessor - Recorder Building Inspection Human Services

300,000

Public Health Public Housing

250,000

Public Transportation Public Works Recreation and Parks

200,000

Sustainable Streets Taxi Services*

150,000

Treasurer Tax Collector Water - Power - Sewer

100,000 50,000 0 2007

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2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

*Taxi services include taking reports such as lost and found items or complaints but not dispatching taxis.

Western City, June 2014

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Use Free Technology

To Enhance Public Meetings by Melissa Kuehne Technology offers a way for local government agencies to increase the reach of their public engagement efforts. The Institute for Local Government (ILG), the nonprofit research and education affiliate of the League and the California State Association of Counties, provides local governments with free resources and equipment on loan to enhance public meetings.

Keypad Polling ILG offers local agencies the use of handheld wireless devices for a process known as keypad polling. Typically these devices are used in a meeting to gather instantaneous responses from individual participants. The small keypads, which resemble a palm-sized calculator or TV remote, transmit each participant’s choices to a laptop computer that tabulates the responses and quickly produces an easy-to-read graph of the aggregated data. When combined with dialogue, this technology allows participants to anonymously select or prioritize options and then immediately view the group’s collective judgment or the opinions of different subsets of participants. Keypad polling makes it possible to gather candid input from a large number of participants about contentious issues and minimizes opportunities for grandstanding. ILG lends a set of 100 keypad “clickers” to local agencies at no cost, because purchasing or renting the equipment can be cost prohibitive. The City of Buena Park used the clickers for its January 2014 State of the City address, which 400 people attended. City Manager Jim Vanderpool says,

“The system was a powerful tool because it provided instant feedback from community leaders in attendance regarding potential projects, upcoming events and trivia. It also allowed the audience to interact with the presenter. Staff would definitely use this system again if given the opportunity.” The Stanislaus Council of Governments (StanCOG) used ILG’s keypad polling equipment for a series of public workshops to help develop a sustainable communities strategy in the Central Valley. According to Mike Costa, StanCOG staff planner, “The keypad polling empowered StanCOG to conduct a more robust public engagement effort than it ever had before.”

Translation Equipment ILG also offers translation equipment to local jurisdictions. Language barriers are a frequent challenge to increasing public engagement. Providing accurate and culturally informed translations that make sense and reflect cultural nuances, including humor — as opposed to just a literal translation — can broaden community participation and improve the meeting outcome. The digital meeting translation equipment supports simultaneous translation of public meetings. Each set consists of 40 receivers and headsets as well as the transmitter and speaker/headset for the person translating. The equipment is easy for interpreters and meeting participants to use, and each set contains instructions in both English and Spanish.

More Information Online For more information and links to related resources, read the online version of this

Participants in a public workshop conducted by the Stanislaus Council of Governments use keypad polling to provide input. article at www.westerncity.com; for specifics about the equipment described here, visit www.ca-ilg.org/technology-enhancedpublic-meetings. To borrow equipment, contact Christal Love Lazard, program coordinator; phone: (916) 658-8221; email: clovelazard@ca-ilg.org. ■

Things to Keep in Mind When planning to use the equipment described here for a public meeting, be sure to: • Clearly communicate the public meeting objective; • Promote and advertise the meeting beyond the usual methods; • Allow sufficient time for each agenda item; • Keep it simple; • Practice using the equipment beforehand; • Phrase questions impartially; • Strive to provide a way for participants to generate new ideas and/or voice their concerns; • Use culturally relevant communication methods — identify the community values that matter to participants and incorporate these into the meeting; and • Ask participants to assess the process afterward. 

Melissa Kuehne is communications coordinator for the Institute for Local Government and can be reached at mkuehne@ca-ilg.org.

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League of California Cities

www.cacities.org


Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Deciding When to Step Aside from the

Decision-Making Process: Abstentions and Disqualifications Part 2 of 2

Question Our governing body is struggling with the issue of abstentions. What are the important things to keep in mind when disqualified or abstaining from the decision-making process?

Answer The issues related to refraining from participation in an agency decision can be vexing. As with many ethical issues, it is an area where the law provides some — but not all — of the answers. continued

Western City originally published this article in December 2002; it has been updated for this issue. This column is a service of the Institute for Local Government (ILG), whose mission is to promote good government at the local level with practical, impartial and easy-to-use resources for California communities. For more information and to access ILG’s resources on public service ethics, visit www.ca-ilg.org/trust.

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More Resources Online For additional information and links to related resources, read the online version of this article at www.westerncity.com.

Western City, June 2014

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Deciding When to Step Aside From the Decision-Making Process: Abstentions and Disqualifications, Part 2 of 2, continued

Part 1 of this two-part article appeared in the April issue of Western City and covered the distinction between abstaining and being disqualified from the decisionmaking process, as well as examples that illustrate these situations. To read Part 1, visit www.westerncity.com.

to pay money and all ordinances require a majority to pass. A majority vote of the entire membership of the board is required for acts by county boards of supervisors. The law also requires more than a majority of the body in order to take certain actions.

who is waiting to receive an advice letter from the Fair Political Practices Commission may be counted toward the quorum). This is because they have not yet been disqualified; typically their agency attorneys recommend that they abstain pending resolution of the conflict issue.

Disqualifications, Abstentions And the Ability to Take Action

These special rules reflect a judgment that some agency actions are sufficiently important that the body may not act with just a small number of its members participating in the vote.

Conversely, those who are disqualified from participating in the decision are not counted toward the quorum.

The general rule is that a majority of a decision-making body must be present for it to conduct business — a concept known as a quorum. Having a quorum ensures that a legally specified minimum number of decision-makers participate in a decision. Typically a quorum is necessary for an item to pass, although special rules apply to certain kinds of actions or bodies. For example, city council resolutions, orders

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How do abstentions and disqualifications affect the existence of a quorum? The general rule is that elected officials who abstain are counted to determine whether a quorum exists. This includes those who abstain from voting because of a pending question concerning a conflict of interest (for example, an elected official

What to Do if You Abstain or Disqualify Yourself When you disqualify yourself or abstain, you should not participate in any aspect of the decision-making process. The theory is that if it is inappropriate to vote on a matter, it is also inappropriate to participate in the discussion or in any other activity that could influence a colleague’s vote.

Use Special Caution When a Public Official Has An Interest in an Agency Contract Another disqualification and abstention issue arises when a public official has a financial interest in a contract that comes before the agency for approval. State law prohibits public officials from having a financial interest in any contract made by their agencies. This is a prohibition against self-dealing. The prohibition is absolute, and it applies even if the official abstains from voting on the contract and does not participate in any of the preliminary discussions, negotiations, planning or solicitation of bids. The penalties for violating the contracting conflict-of-interest rules are severe. Violations are a felony, punishable by fines, imprisonment and disqualification from ever holding office again. The contract is also “void,” meaning the agency does not have to pay for goods or services received under the contract and may seek repayment of amounts already paid. There are limited exceptions to the rule, including when the interest is so small that it amounts to “noninterest” or a “remote interest.” There is also a limited rule of necessity. A wise approach is to consult agency counsel immediately if you believe you may have an interest in a contract being contemplated by your agency.

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California law codifies this concept regarding disqualifications. Typically a person with a disqualifying financial interest in a decision must take the following series of actions:

Local elected officials may wish to consider whether, as an ethical matter, they want to also follow these practices when they voluntarily abstain from participating in the decision.

• Publicly identify the financial interest or potential conflict of interest in sufficient detail to be understood by the public; and

The Duty to Decide

• Refrain from discussing or voting on the matter.

In an ideal world, all members of a governing body would be able to participate in any given decision. This underscores how important it is for all members of a

For certain officials, the rules require that one leave the room until after the discussion, vote and any other disposition of the matter are concluded unless the matter is on the consent calendar. The law does allow a public official to speak on the issue at the same time as the public speaks on the issue if the subject of the decision is the official’s business or property.

governing body to attend every meeting, so decisions can reflect the views of every voting official who can participate in the decision. Attending and being prepared for meetings is a major component of an elected official’s responsibilities and ethical behavior — so is voting in general. continued on page 18

What should you do if you have reason to believe that a colleague is disqualified or ought to abstain?

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Western City, June 2014

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s e d i v o r P t c A The Gatto r i v n E r o f s e Opportuniti by Leah Goldberg The Legislature’s elimination of redevelopment agencies in 2012, ostensibly a state budget-balancing measure, stripped cities of several important tools to address blight in the community. One such tool was the Polanco Redevelopment Act, also known as the Polanco Act, which authorized redevelopment agencies to compel cleanup in redevelopment project areas and recover the full costs of cleanup from recalcitrant responsible parties. It also granted legal immunity to the redevelopment agency, the redeveloper and lenders for hazardous substances releases cleaned up under an approved cleanup plan. While the Polanco Act is still on the books, the law has no further application unless a redevelopment successor agency has an enforceable obligation mandating cleanup of a specific property in a former redevelopment project area. Meanwhile, contamination or the threat of contamination still serves as a blighting influence

in many California communities because most developers prefer not to step into the chain of liability and deal with the uncertainties associated with contaminated property. This results in abandoned, idle and underutilized properties, or “brownfields,” that can serve as a catalyst for community degradation. Even if a developer wants to reuse contaminated property, finding a lender willing to make a loan on the project can be challenging. The solution to the brownfields problem comes in two forms. The first is monetary relief in the form of grants and loans or tax credits to alleviate the financial burden associated with cleaning up contamination. The second is addressing the liability. The Polanco Act sought to address the liability by providing immunity for the redevelopment agency, the redeveloper and its lender. It also addressed the costs of cleanup by providing powerful costrecovery tools to recover not only the cost of cleanup from recalcitrant parties, but also attorneys’ fees and staff costs.

Assembly Bill (AB) 440 (Chapter 558, Statutes of 2013), unofficially known as the Gatto Act, took effect Jan. 1, 2014, and provides local agencies — including cities, counties and successor housing authorities — with a tool similar to the Polanco Act. Similarities and Benefits for Cities In sponsoring AB 440, Assembly Member Mike Gatto (D-43) recognized that blight in the form of contaminated properties remains a critical issue in the wake of redevelopment dissolution. He also realized that to be meaningful, the Polanco Act model needed to be available on a broader scale to cities, counties and housing authorities, rather than just to redevelopment successor agencies. As a result, the Gatto Act provides many of the same benefits as the Polanco Act. It provides California cities and other local agencies with the needed authority to compel cleanup of contaminated properties, now that redevelopment

Leah Goldberg is senior deputy city attorney with the City of San Jose. Prior to joining San Jose’s legal team, she worked closely with Assembly Member Gatto’s office on AB 440. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Goldberg and not the City of San Jose. Goldberg can be reached at Leah.Goldberg@sanjoseca.gov.

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League of California Cities

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w e N h t i W s e i Cit p u n a e l C l a t o n m en agencies have dissolved. As a result, cities can employ the Gatto Act anywhere within their jurisdictions, thus expanding this powerful tool for use nearly statewide.

• It provides extensive cost recovery provisions that include recovery of city staff time and attorneys’ fees in addition to the cleanup costs;

Procedurally, both laws utilize a process much like nuisance abatement. Before the city can take action to clean up property, it must give the responsible party the opportunity to clean it up. If the responsible party fails to respond or fails to clean up the property in compliance with an agreed-upon schedule, the city can enter the property, conduct the site investigation and clean up and sue to recover its costs.

• It can be used to clean up petroleum contamination;

Like the Polanco Act, the Gatto Act provides the following benefits for cities: • It allows cities to require landowners to turn over environmental assessment information; • It provides immunity to the city, the redeveloper and its lenders for any release or releases of environmental contaminants addressed in an approved cleanup plan;

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• The city does not have to undertake the cleanup but can “cause” a third party to do the work; and • The city can take title to the property during the cleanup without entering into the chain of liability. Understanding the Differences Although the Legislature stated its intentions that the Gatto Act serve as the policy successor to the Polanco Act and that existing case law used to interpret the Polanco Act be used to interpret the Gatto Act, the two laws are not identical. Failure to understand the differences can be a trap for unwary city officials.

About Legal Notes This column is provided as general information and not as legal advice. The law is constantly evolving, and attorneys can and do disagree about what the law requires. Local agencies interested in determining how the law applies in a particular situation should consult their local agency attorneys.

The terminology in the Gatto Act differs from the Polanco Act. Instead of referring to a “remedial action plan,” the Gatto Act refers to a “cleanup plan.” The Gatto Act also uses the definition of “hazardous materials” instead of “hazardous substances.” And the law added definitions of “blighted area,” “blighted property,” “investigation,” “investigation plan,” “phase I investigation” and “phase II investigation.” Unlike the two-part definition of blight under the former redevelopment law, the definition of “blighted area” for Gatto Act purposes is “an area in which the local agency determines there are vacancies, abandonment of property, or a reduction or lack of proper utilization of property, and the presence or perceived presence of a release or releases of a hazardous material contributes to the vacancies, abandonment of property or reduction or lack of proper utilization of property.” By design, the definition to a large extent mimics the definition of a brownfield. continued on page 21

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Technology, To Techniques to Your Community by the Institute for Local Government Public Engagement Team

The Institute for Local Government Public Engagement Team members who contributed to this article include Terry Amsler, Melissa Kuehne, Christal Love Lazard and Sarah Rubin. Special thanks to consultants Susan Stuart Clark and Brian Moura, who also contributed to this article. The Institute for Local Government (ILG) is the nonprofit research affiliate of the League and California State Association of Counties. For more about ILG’s Public Engagement program, visit www.ca-ilg.org/public-engagement.

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League of California Cities

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ools and Reach Local governments frequently use technology to engage their communities in public meetings and the decision-making process. Many such options are outlined in new resources available from the Institute for Local Government (ILG), the research and education affiliate of the League and the California State Association of Counties. (Find ILG’s free resources on public engagement and technology online at www.ca-ilg.org/ public-engagement-technology.)

Benefits of Increased Public Engagement Increasing public engagement in your community offers many benefits. Engaging the public early in the decision-making process can help local public agencies avoid costly pitfalls and mistakes. Involving residents and others in the process can generate more support for the final decisions reached by city or county decision-makers. Constituents who have helped shape a proposed policy, project or program typically have a better understanding of the issues at hand and the reasoning behind the final decision.

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Participation helps generate ownership. Effective communication about the public’s involvement in a local decision can broaden community support. Most California cities have diverse populations, and many communities are experiencing rapid demographic changes. Community composition varies by age, gender, ethnicity, immigrant status and income level. Incorporating technology into standard public engagement channels, such as flyers and mailers, can increase the reach of an agency’s engagement efforts.

Exploring Technology Options and Costs Local governments use a wide variety of technology options in their efforts to connect with their communities. While some technology may be costly, many options are reasonably priced and the range of available choices is broad enough to be feasible for any local government, from large to small. Examine the costs and benefits associated with the options that seem to offer the best fit for your agency’s needs.

Maximize communications and outreach methods already in place. All local agencies have outreach and engagement channels in place. Local governments can take advantage of these current vehicles to better engage the public as well. Although many of these options cost only staff time, that is nevertheless a very valuable resource. Communication channels such as newsletters, websites, social media, blogs, local government TV channels and online surveys are vital to engaging the public and can often be better utilized by local agencies. For tips on these communication vehicles and examples of local governments that are maximizing these tools, see “Technology Tools for Local Governments: A Brief Overview” on pages 16 and 17.

Emerging Technologies For local jurisdictions interested in pursuing more advanced options, technology allowing open access to public agency data and the development of mobile apps is now more accessible to local governments. continued

Western City, June 2014

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Technology, Tools and Techniques to Reach Your Community, continued

Open Data

Open data refers to making information and data freely available online. The data must be presented in “usable form,” which generally consists of a clear visual format and easy access via commonly used computer software. Local agencies can use this approach to post information such as maps, data sets, tables and documents. This allows residents and other interested parties to view and analyze the data. Many cities throughout California are using open data platforms for a variety

More Resources Online For more information and links to related resources, read the online version of this article at www. westerncity.com.

of purposes that include sharing census redistricting data and geographic information systems (GIS) and establishing local budget priorities. Local government agencies that have implemented open data cite several benefits: • Increased transparency. If all information is open and accessible to the public, it helps convey that the agency’s operations are transparent; • Time and cost savings. Open data can save local jurisdictions some of the costs and staff time associated with requests for public records; and • Checks and balances. Because open data allows all community members access to the same information, it can create a checks and balances system to identify if data has been manipulated.

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Other things to consider include: • The need for education. Agency staff and officials may need to be educated on the meaning of open data and how its use can affect and benefit their particular jurisdiction. • Local governments have limited resources. Because of this, it’s necessary to present a compelling case for why open data is important. It can be helpful to identify a champion — for example, the city manager, chief information officer or a city council member — to build support from other departments and elected officials. • Governance structure. Once the decision to implement open data has been made, the local government will need to establish policies and procedures to ensure the quality and uniformity of the data. The City of Santa Cruz (http://data. cityofsantacruz.com/) and the City of Sacramento (http://portal.cityofsacra mento.org/OpenData) provide two examples of how local agencies are offering residents access to open data. “In addition to increasing transparency and accountability — which can lead to greater trust with constituents — open data can enable innovators to build useful applications, analysts to find helpful insights and innovators to create derivative value,” says Palo Alto Chief Information Officer Jonathan Reichental. “Done right, there is little downside and a high-value upside.” Mobile Apps

Once your agency has its data, such as tables and budget information, in a usable form, agency staff can convert this information into mobile apps. These apps can be developed for all the services a city offers, bundling large amounts of information, or can be used for specific departments, projects and proposals. Uses can range from municipal services and cultural attractions to civic engagement. It is always important to keep the user in mind and focus on the information the user needs or seeks.

www.cacities.org


With increasing numbers of people using smartphones, many local jurisdictions are developing mobile apps for their residents. For example, San Diego County has developed an app center (www.sdcounty. ca.gov/appcenter/index.html) to provide residents access to county information and services, such as fire and police and reports on beach water quality, while on the go. The City of Elk Grove (www.elkgrovecity. org/ask-elk-grove/mobile.asp) also offers an app that allows residents to obtain city news and information on public meetings and events and submit non-emergency service requests. Code for America

Code for America (http://codeforamerica. org), a nonprofit organization, focuses on how technology can help governments operate more collaboratively and efficiently. Local agencies can partner with Code for America through programs such as: • Fellowship — links technology volunteers with local agencies to build apps and inspire innovative thinking; • Brigade — connects volunteers and government employees to help sustain open data infrastructure; and • Peer Network — allows government officials and staff to share resources, best practices and open data policies.

Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing is the practice of engaging large groups of people, including online communities, to obtain input. It can be used for a wide variety of purposes from gathering feedback on a particular project or proposal to setting budget priorities or spreading the word about missing persons. Several for-profit and nonprofit vendors have developed crowdsourcing technology designed with local government in mind. These platforms are becoming an increasingly popular method for connecting with community members who might not otherwise participate through traditional means, such as city council meetings or public hearings. Crowdsourcing platforms typically use vibrant graphic design and offer sophisticated statistical analysis of inputs. Some might think of these efforts as online town hall meetings where ideas are shared and the most popular ones can emerge. Engage Oakland (www.engageoakland. com/) and the City of Salinas (www. peakdemocracy.com/portals/164) offer innovative examples of such efforts. One potential concern about online engagement is the voluntary and often anonymous nature of the participation, which may not be completely representative of the entire community. While this issue is perhaps most frequently raised about crowdsourcing, it also applies to other communication channels.

Interested in Learning More? The Institute for Local Government will be offering a free webinar on “Technology, Tools and Techniques to Improve Public Engagement” on June 18, 2014, from 10:00 to 11:00 am. Panelists will discuss: • Ideas on how to use technology to get the word out and encourage more participation in the public engagement process; • Methods of coordinating digital engagement with in-person meetings and typically traditional forms of outreach

www.westerncity.com

to generate more ideas and input from the community; • Tips on how to use this input to enhance local agency decisionmaking; and • Examples of cities and counties that are reaching and engaging new audiences. To register, visit www.ca-ilg.org/ post/technology-tools-andtechniques-improve-publicengagement.

Effective communication about the public’s involvement in a local decision can broaden community support.

Conclusion With increasing numbers of people using online platforms to get news and information, local jurisdictions have additional opportunities to reach and connect with their communities. The options outlined here should be used in conjunction with nontechnical, traditional engagement and outreach efforts as part of a comprehensive approach. continued

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www.tabercreative.com Western City, June 2014

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Technology, Tools and Techniques to Reach Your Community, continued

Technology Tools for Local Governments: A Brief Overview Tool

Description

Things to Consider

Example

Website

Websites function as venues that cities can use to connect with and engage the public. This includes providing news about community events, updates on programs and projects, public meeting agendas and minutes and general information about what is happening in the city or a specific department.

• Create visible and inviting ways for people to connect and participate.

www.chulavistaca.gov

• Establish a go-to section of the website for specific proposals currently under consideration. • Allow staff to quickly edit and add material in their area of expertise. • Visit top websites to get ideas on how to organize information and invite participation. • Ensure that the site is accessible for people with disabilities.

Social Media

Social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook have large and increasing audiences. A Pew Research Center study found that among U.S. adults nearly 10 percent get their news from Twitter and 30 percent from Facebook. Other popular social media sites include LinkedIn and YouTube.

• Seek out online posts and conversations on topics related to your agency’s interests.

https://www. facebook.com/ CityofRiverside?fref=ts

• Post to your agency’s existing accounts where you already have a following. • Use visuals, graphics and maps to add interest to posts. • Keep posts concise. Use links to direct users to your agency website for more detailed information.

Blogs and e-newsletters

Blogs and e-newsletters provide residents and local businesses with articles on a variety of topics. Local governments can use these tools to deliver general information or create specific distribution lists (for e-newsletters) or blogs for individual departments, projects or proposals.

• Check your agency’s website software to assess its existing capacity for blogs and e-newsletters.

http://redwoodcitypd. blogspot.com

• Make sure the notification system does not require duplicate subscriptions. • Consider if the blog should enable comments on posts or use an informationonly approach. • Examine whether it is preferable to create a project-specific blog or if an existing blog can do the job.

Local Agency TV Channels

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These channels broadcast live meetings and share other information about cities and local agency departments. Cities can use this as a way to engage the public by including overviews, videos and other information on proposed developments, projects and programs.

League of California Cities

• Use the public access government channel to cablecast city council meetings, election programming, local emergency announcements and other agency events and programs of interest.

https://www.youtube. com/user/cupertinocity channel?feature=watch

• Consider working with ethnic media TV channels if appropriate.

www.cacities.org


Tool

Description

Things to Consider

Example

Online Surveys

Informal online surveys can be developed internally by agency staff with minimal software costs. Properly administered surveys can be a useful tool for gathering public input on budgeting and strategic plan updates.

• Keep the survey short.

www.monterey.org/ en-us/residents/ communitysurvey.aspx

• Pre-test the questions with select community members. • Announce the survey through multiple channels. • If possible, include demographic questions (such as age, gender and zip code) to help evaluate whether responders generally represent the community’s demographic composition.

Open Data

Information and data are made freely available online in a format that can be opened with commonly used computer applications.

• Agency data and computer-readable datasets become more accessible for viewers.

http://data.cityof santacruz.com

• Staff should explore which information is of high interest to constituents and could be shared. • Open data provides an opportunity to enhance public trust through transparency and better involve the public in discussions on the budget and projects. • Data must be provided in accessible and readily understood formats for community use.

Code for America

Code for America is a nonprofit organization that helps residents and governments harness technology to solve community problems using a collaborative approach.

Code for America: • Holds a competitive process for cities to obtain free technical professional fellows for one year to solve civic problems using technology;

http://codeforamerica. org

• Offers free resources for all interested cities and counties; and • Creates new software companies and jobs.

Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing brings external input to an innovation process that was traditionally performed internally. For example, a city may take a function once performed by employees and outsource it to an undefined (and generally large) network of people in the form of an open call.

• Can be used for a wide variety of purposes from gathering feedback on a particular project or proposal to setting budget priorities and spreading the word about missing persons.

www.engageoak land.com

Mobile Apps

Mobile apps for smartphones and tablets can be developed for all the services a city offers or can be used for specific projects and proposals.

• High quality and colorful e-magazines can be created using website and blog feeds.

www.sdcounty.ca.gov/ appcenter/index.html ■

• Large amounts of agency information or smaller project-specific sets can be presented. • Mobile apps offer interactive options for users to request or report information ranging from public works repairs to crimes in progress and more.

www.westerncity.com

Western City, June 2014

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Deciding When to Step Aside From the Decision-Making Process: Abstentions and Disqualifications, Part 2 of 2, continued from page 9

It may be tempting to abstain because of concerns about making an unpopular decision or simply not knowing which decision is best. Nevertheless, making decisions is what officials are elected to do. It is manifestly unfair — and unethical — to abstain or otherwise put one’s colleagues in the position of taking the heat for a necessary but unpopular decision.

Concerns About Others’ Participation What should you do if you have reason to believe that a colleague is disqualified or ought to abstain? Discussing your concerns privately with the colleague is a good approach. If you believe that the colleague may be legally disqualified from participating, a key concern is the penalties for participating in a decision when one

is forbidden from doing so. Such participation can also harm the agency and those involved by making the decision subject to challenge. If your colleague insists on participating, but you are still concerned that the colleague is legally disqualified from participating, the next step is to discuss the issue with the agency attorney and relevant law enforcement authorities.

Making sure that you are legally allowed to participate in a decision-making process is the first step. The second step is to analyze whether you should participate, given relationships and other factors. The question is whether these factors will cause the public to reasonably question if a decision-maker can put the public’s interests and fairness ahead of more personal interests. ■

Conclusion Being aware of and alert to these issues is critically important. It enables officials to contact their local agency attorney or the Fair Political Practices Commission for help in determining whether they must step aside from the decisionmaking process.

Looking for Footnotes? A fully footnoted version of this article is available online at www.westerncity.com.

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Display Advertising Call Pam Maxwell-Blodgett at (800) 262-1801 to place a display (boxed) ad or for rate and deadline information, or email admanager@westerncity.com. Website Job Postings Display ads are posted on our website at no additional charge. But if you miss the deadline for getting your job opportunity ad into the magazine, you can post it on the Western City website right away. To post your job opportunity ad on our automated website, visit www.westerncity.com or contact Anita Lopez, administrative assistant; email: alopez@cacities.org; phone: (916) 658-8223.

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Police Chief, City of East Palo Alto, CA The City of East Palo Alto is located in the heart of the Silicon Valley and is uniquely positioned to maximize its potential as a significant city in the San Francisco Bay Area region. Now, the city of 29,000 is home to a broad multiethnic population. East Palo Alto is now seeking a Police Chief to oversee a Department of 37 sworn and 10 civilian employees who are dedicated to the philosophy of Community Oriented Policing. The City is seeking a forward-thinking and visionary individual with strong leadership and management skills. Candidates must possess at least seven years of police experience, five of which must be equivalent to Lieutenant or a higher level, and demonstrated advanced supervisory experience. A Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration, Criminal Justice, Police Administration, Police Science, or a related field is required; a Master’s Degree is preferred. All candidates must possess POST Advanced, Supervisory, and Management certifications, as well as a CPR certification. Fluency in the Spanish language is highly desired. The salary range for the Police Chief, effective July 1, 2014, is $150,431-$182,850 annually DOQ. If you are interested in this outstanding opportunity, please apply online at www.bobmurrayassoc.com. Please contact Joel Bryden at (916) 784-9080 with questions. Brochure available. Closing date July 10, 2014. phone 916•784•9080 fax 916•784•1985 www.bobmurrayassoc.com

Western City, June 2014

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City Manager; City of Tracy, CA Tracy’s history of small-town friendliness, pro-business environment, progressive management practices, and high level of service delivery to its community have made it a highly desirable location to live and work. Conveniently located just an hour from Sacramento, San Francisco, and San Jose, Tracy (pop. 84,500) is poised for significant economic growth. The City Manager oversees a full-service city with a balanced 2013/14 total budget of $195.9M ($117.7M operating) and 446 FTEs. The ideal candidate brings proven experience in economic development and marketing, labor relations, land use/CEQA, municipal finance/ budgeting, and an understanding of the issues affecting a growing community. Bachelor’s degree in public/business administration or a related field is required; Master’s preferred. Salary DOQ.

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The Gatto Act Provides Cities With New Opportunities for Environmental Cleanup, continued from page 11

Before giving notice to the responsible party to investigate and clean up a property, however, the city must find that the property is a blighted property in a blighted area. This finding was not required under the Polanco Act because that law was available only for use in redevelopment project areas. Redevelopment agencies found that the properties were blighted when they put the properties into the project areas, thus avoiding the need to make a separate blight finding when using the Polanco Act. The Gatto Act also has some limitations not found in the Polanco Act. For example, when properties are already under regulatory oversight, the city must meet and confer with the appropriate regulatory agency before employing the statute. If the responsible party has entered into a Voluntary Cleanup Agreement with the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and the city and DTSC cannot agree on the city’s use of the Gatto Act, the Lead Agency Designation Committee, sitting without the DTSC representative, serves as the neutral arbiter. Importantly, the Gatto Act does not require consistency with the National Contingency Plan, which is the Superfund process for cleaning up properties under federal law. Since the court in Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Diego v. Salvation Army held that strict compliance with the National Contingency Plan was not a requirement for cost recovery, the purpose of the Polanco Act’s National Contingency Plan consistency requirement was confusing. Accordingly, the Gatto Act replaced this obligation with robust public participation requirements.

Looking for Footnotes? A fully footnoted version of this article is available online at www.westerncity.com.

www.westerncity.com

Concerned that some unscrupulous local agencies would use the Gatto Act to harass property owners, the Legislature also provided a right to appeal the notice to clean up the property. The responsible party has 30 days to appeal the responsible party determination to the city council. The appeal J

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period stays the other timelines in the Gatto Act until the appeal is heard, but any challenges to the legislative body’s determination can be made only in the cost-recovery action following the cleanup. continued

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Police Chief, Humboldt State University, CA Humboldt State University (HSU) is the northernmost campus of the 23-school California State University with a student population of approximately 8,200. HSU’s Police Department is a 24/7 POST certified police agency staffed by 25 full and part-time employees, including 13 sworn peace officers. Leadership, the ability to establish relationships with the community outside of the campus as well as outside agencies, business acumen, and a passion for the educational environment are desired strengths in HSU’s new Police Chief. A typical candidate will be a currently employed sworn peace officer or honorably retired within the past year and able to meet POST certification requirements within one year of appointment, including completions of a POST management certificate. Candidates must possess a Bachelor’s degree; a Graduate degree or advanced training is preferred. Fifteen years of law enforcement experience is required, including a minimum of four years of management and administrative responsibility at the command level. A combination of education and experience that is equivalent to these requirements may be substituted. The salary range is $110,000-$140,000 annually; placement within the range is DOQ. Please apply online at www.bobmurrayassoc.com. Contact Joel Bryden at (916) 784-9080 should you have any questions. Brochure available. Closing date July 18, 2014. phone 916•784•9080 fax 916•784•1985 www.bobmurrayassoc.com

RECREATION DIRECTOR — City of Piedmont Located in the beautiful Oakland Hills overlooking San Francisco Bay, Piedmont’s approximately 11,000 residents take great pride in their community and enjoy quality homes on quiet tree-lined streets. The City is seeking a Recreation Director with a strong entrepreneurial spirit to run a department with a wide array of programs, services and activities, including a popular pre-school and after school program, aquatics, sports, camps, classes, facility rentals and special events. The ideal candidate will be a spirited individual with a strong interest and talent for engaging the citizens of Piedmont, along with a successful record of designing, managing, and marketing programs that best serve the customer while also creating positive revenue. Requires a Bachelor’s degree, background in parks & recreation, and considerable administrative, managerial and supervisory experience. Offers an excellent benefits package and salary is dependent upon qualifications. Candidates are encouraged to submit a resume and cover letter electronically to Peckham & McKenney, apply@peckhamandmckenney.com. Call Bobbi Peckham at (866) 912-1919 for more information. A detailed brochure is available at www.peckhamandmckenney.com. Filing deadline: June 16, 2014.

Western City, June 2014

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The Gatto Act Provides Cities With New Opportunities for Environmental Cleanup, continued

Procedural and Structural Differences Between Polanco and Gatto Acts

much earlier when using the Gatto Act. Regulatory oversight commences at the site investigation stage rather than later at the cleanup plan stage. If the property is not fully characterized, meaning that the lateral and vertical extent of the contamination is not fully demarcated, the responsible party or the city submits an

In addition, several procedural differences exist between the Polanco Act and the Gatto Act. First, the Gatto Act does not require the city to request cleanup guidelines. Second, regulatory oversight occurs J

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investigation plan to the applicable regulatory agency for review and approval. Because a drawn-out site investigation can stall the reuse of the property, regulators must review the investigation plan within 30 days of receipt. Following the investigation in accordance with an agreed-upon schedule, the responsible party has 60 days to prepare a cleanup plan. Other notable differences between the Gatto Act and the Polanco Act include: • A right of entry for the city to conduct site investigation or cleanup;

Opening soon . . .

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Current information available at www.tbcrecruiting.com. Teri Black • 310.377.2612 Carolyn Seeley • 949.487.7606

• Authority for the city to make the initial determination whether a cleanup plan is acceptable based on the intended use of the property and the development timeline; • More detail on the obligation of the city or the responsible party to pay oversight costs; and • Clearer language related to the conditional immunities letters that are issued concurrently with the cleanup plan approval. The most significant difference between the Polanco Act and the Gatto Act, however, is not statutory but structural. Former redevelopment agencies could float bonds secured against future tax increment to pay for cleanup costs. Cities currently do not have that option. Instead the costs of cleanup must either come from scarce General Fund money or from developers who agree to fund the work. This may result in greater emphasis on the costrecovery provisions in the new law. In the years immediately following promulgation of the Polanco Act, some

Blight in the form of contaminated properties remains a critical issue in the wake of redevelopment dissolution.

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www.cacities.org


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regulatory agencies were apprehensive about overseeing cleanups that would result in certain parties gaining immunity. However, with the enactment of the Gatto Act, the regulatory community (DTSC and the water boards in particular) has immediately focused on how to work with cities and other local agencies to implement the statute. Shortly after Governor Brown signed the new law, DTSC convened a meeting to discuss its implementation with water board representatives, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the attorneys who worked on the bill with Assembly Member Gatto. Both DTSC and the water boards are now considering standard oversight agreements with cities — similar to the environmental oversight agreements former redevelopment agencies used with DTSC. The regulators have requested that sites be assigned to the regulatory agency through the CalEPA brownfields Memorandum of Agreement process. The regulators also suggested that, especially for time-critical cleanups, the city serve as lead agency for California Environmental Quality Act compliance purposes.

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Combination Building Inspector (Montebello, CA) The City of Montebello is currently recruiting for a Combination Building Inspector ($3,510 – $4,480/mo) to conduct field inspections of buildings, structures, and the installation of various types of mechanical equipment, alterations and repairs for conformance to current codes and laws.

This recruitment will remain open until filled. Please call the HR office at 323-887-1380 or visit our website, www.cityofmontebello.com, for more information or to obtain a City application.

City Manager

City of San Clemente, CA The beautiful coastal city of San Clemente is located midway between Los Angeles and San Diego, is a family-oriented community of about 65,500 residents, and encompasses 18.5 square miles. San Clemente enjoys a stable organization with strong, awardwinning financial planning and a supportive City Council. The City has approximately 185 FTEs within the City Manager’s office; Finance & Administrative Services; Community Development; Public Works; City Clerk; and Beaches, Parks & Recreation. With the recent announced retirement of the incumbent, this outstanding career opportunity is now available. Proven local government experience and a Bachelor’s degree in public/business administration or a related field is required; Master’s desirable. Current annual salary range: $183,564 to $223,128 DOQ.

While redevelopment agencies might be history, the community benefits of cleaning up brownfields can still be achieved using the Gatto Act. Despite concerns about the lack of upfront funding to initiate cleanup, the statute provides cities with a new, but familiar, tool to combat blight throughout the state. ■ R

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Western City, June 2014

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League of California Cities

Irvine (949) 251-8628

P O L I C Y · D E S I G N · S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y · S TA F F I N G

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2014

THE CALIFORNIA MUNICIPAL REVENUE SOURCES HANDBOOK Edition

Michael Coleman

The Municipal Revenue Sources Handbook is the definitive resource on municipal funding for city managers, city finance directors, academics and other professionals engaged in the complex world of municipal finance. To order please visit www.cacities.org/publications


Western City June Issue