DECEMBER 2019 |
The Monthly Magazine of the League of California Cities
Beyond Ethics: Establishing a Code of Conduct to Guide Your Council p.9 Investigating Complaints Against Public Employees: New Clarity for Employers p.12 Rancho Cucamongaâ€™s Community Champions Engage Latino Residents p.15
CONTENTS 2 Calendar of League Events 3 Executive Director’s Message Building Public Trust in Times of Adversity
By Carolyn Coleman
hen utility-initiated power shutW offs began, city officials stepped up in new and creative ways to provide practical help to residents and communities left in the dark.
6 City Forum
California Cities Lead on Affordable Housing and Homelessness Services
By Eve Maldonado O’Toole
A bipartisan coalition of 26 mayors, CEOs and stakeholders representing nearly 17 million residents intends to ignite a national conversation about the fact that strong housing policy is pro-family, pro-jobs and pro-investment — and helps hardworking people.
B eyond Ethics: Establishing a Code of Conduct to Guide Your Council By Rod Gould
Local government leaders are adopting codes of conduct to set the rules and expectations for how they govern their cities. Such codes help foster a civil and respectful governing culture consistent with best practices.
Legal Notes 12
Filing Date: September 30, 2019
Against Public Employees: New Clarity for Employers
Annual Subscription Price: $39.00
By Jeff Sloan and Tim Yeung
Community Champions Engage Latino Residents This program plays a critical role in developing health-related policies and programs that improve residents’ quality of life.
Job Opportunities 17 Professional Services 22 Directory
On the Record
Mayors and council members describe their city’s most popular program or service.
Publication Number: 0677-820 Issue Frequency: Monthly
Helen Putnam Award 15
Publication Title: Western City Magazine
A recent decision from the Public Employment Relations Board provides clarity for employers struggling to balance the need for strict confidentiality with the due process rights of the accused and union requests for information, particularly in cases of sexual harassment.
Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation
Cover photo: Olaser
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President John F. Dunbar Mayor Yountville
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Magazine Staff Editor in Chief Jude Lemons, Hudson + Associates (916) 658-8234; email: email@example.com Managing Editor Norman Coppinger (916) 658-8277; email: firstname.lastname@example.org Contributing Editor Jill Oviatt (916) 658-8228; email: email@example.com Advertising Sales Cici Trino Association Outsource Services, Inc. (916) 961-9999; email: firstname.lastname@example.org Administrative Assistant Savannah Cobbs (916) 658-8223; email: email@example.com Contributors Rony Berdugo Amanda Cadelago Melissa Kuehne Corrie Manning Erica Manuel Katie Pebler Jennifer Whiting Kayla Woods
Second Vice President Cindy Silva Mayor Walnut Creek
Immediate Past President Jan Arbuckle Council Member Grass Valley
Executive Director Carolyn Coleman
For a complete list of the League board of directors, visit www.cacities.org/board.
leaguevents DECEMBER 6
League Board of Directors’ Meeting, Napa The League board reviews, discusses and takes action on a variety of issues affecting cities, including legislation, legal advocacy, education and training and more.
Fire Chiefs’ Leadership Seminar, Garden Grove This seminar features a variety of sessions for fire chiefs on timely topics important to fire service professionals and offers attendees networking opportunities with their fellow California fire personnel.
Municipal Finance Institute, Garden Grove This conference provides essential information for city officials and staff involved in fiscal planning for municipalities.
City Clerks’ New Law & Elections Seminar, Garden Grove The seminar covers laws affecting elections as well as other aspects of clerks’ responsibilities.
Associate Editors Carol Malinowski Carolyn Walker Design Taber Creative Group
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For photo credits, see page 18. 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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First Vice President Cheryl Viegas Walker Council Member El Centro
League of California Cities
New Mayors and Council Members’ Academy, Sacramento This vitally important training prepares newly elected officials for the demands of office and introduces them to the legal constraints on city councils.
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.
Legal Advocacy Committee Meeting, Sacramento The committee reviews and recommends friend-of-the-court efforts on cases of significant statewide interest to California cities.
City Managers’ Conference, Napa Geared to the unique needs of city managers, this conference covers issues affecting cities throughout California.
League Board of Directors’ Meeting, Yountville The League board reviews, discusses and takes action on a variety of issues affecting cities, including legislation, legal advocacy, education and training, and more.
Executive Directorâ€™s Message by Carolyn Coleman Cloverdale residents use a warming bus in front of City Hall on Oct. 29, 2019, to charge their phones during the utilityinitiated power shutoffs.
Building Public Trust in Times of Adversity This month marks the beginning of my fourth year as CEO of the League. It is an honor to lead this organization, and I continue to be inspired by and proud of the city leaders and first responders who work hard every day to foster trust in government while keeping our cities strong and their residents safe. Building public trust in government at any level requires that government leaders do the job they were elected and appointed to do. While local government leaders face new challenges every day,
they continue to rise to the occasion and deliver on the promise of a functioning local government that provides essential services. Wildfires raging across our state, leaving families and children running for their lives, have become the new normal in California. Now, our communities face another threat to their quality of life â€” utility-initiated power shutoffs. In the interest of protecting the public from the spread of wildfires, utilities
throughout the state have determined that it may be necessary to turn off electricity when forecasted gusty winds and dry conditions pose a heightened fire risk. They refer to this as a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). The power shutoffs have far-reaching impacts statewide. Although customers in high fire-threat areas are more likely to be affected, any electricity customer in a utilityâ€™s coverage area can have their power shut off because the energy system continued
Western City, December 2019
Building Public Trust in Times of Adversity, continued
The League worked closely with the Governor’s Office and Cal OES to ensure the most up-to-date information on community resource centers and safety guidelines was reaching cities impacted by the shutoffs. relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across cities, counties and regions. Beyond the immediate impact of the shutdowns, secondary impacts include loss of revenue for small businesses, interruptions in work productivity, loss of job security and yet to be determined effects on air quality. Since October 2019, millions of Californians have endured multiple rounds of utility-initiated power shutoffs, leaving homes, small businesses, hospitals and other community institutions in the dark. Many of these same residents have been forced to evacuate due to wildfires. Some communities have also lost gas and cellular service.
Creative Support for Local Communities In response, city officials stepped up in new and creative ways, their efforts strengthening the public’s trust in local government.
League of California Cities
When Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) turned off electricity and gas for two days to its customers in the Sonoma County community of Cloverdale, city officials worked with the Citrus Fairgrounds to open restrooms to those in need, set up a mobile generator and provided garbage bags and soap. In the City of Walnut Creek, located in the east San Francisco Bay Area, officials focused on vulnerable populations, including seniors and those who require electricity-powered medical equipment. While many of the city’s emergency planning efforts involve potential evacuation in the event of a wildfire or earthquake, the planned power outage was different. Elected officials and staff wouldn’t be evacuating residents, but instead would be promoting preparedness and trying to determine where people could get medical devices charged during the outage. Working with PG&E and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), Walnut Creek quickly processed and approved a request to host a community resource center just outside Rossmoor,
a gated community for residents age 55 and older that is home to a significant number of vulnerable individuals. At the same time, city officials continued to communicate increasingly urgent concerns to Cal OES and PG&E about turning off power in a senior community. At the last minute, an engineering fix allowed nearly all of Rossmoor to keep the lights on. In Healdsburg, a small town in the heart of Sonoma County wine country, residents were forced to simultaneously face two unprecedented events: a power and gas shutoff as well as a citywide mandatory evacuation because of the nearby Kincade Fire. The city’s crisis management efforts were possible only because of the support and generosity of surrounding towns. The flames came so close that the city was forced to evacuate its Emergency Operations Center and relocate to the neighboring City of Santa Rosa. The Town of Windsor, also facing power shutoffs and evacuations, helped provide Healdsburg with medical supplies, office supplies and food.
A child does homework without electricity. Utility-initiated power shutoffs also affected traffic signals, streetlights and traffic safety.
These are just a few examples of the valiant efforts by local government leaders protecting their residents and neighboring towns from the threats posed by the utility-initiated shutoffs, thereby helping to build trust and public confidence in local government.
League Works in Tandem With Governor and State Agencies In addition to the tireless leadership and collaboration of our local government officials, the League and the state also collaborated to support local efforts to manage through the shutdowns. The League worked closely with the Governor’s Office and Cal OES to ensure the most up-to-date information on community resource centers and safety guidelines was reaching cities impacted by the shutoffs. With support from Cal OES, we hosted daily conference calls between the utilities and the cities affected by the power shutoffs. Within days of the start of the shutoffs and after consulting with the League, Gov. Gavin Newsom launched the Local Government PSPS Resiliency Program, which includes $75 million in funding to support state and local government efforts to protect public safety and vulnerable populations and improve resiliency in response to utility-led power shutoffs.
Half of the funds were allocated to local governments with $26 million set aside for counties, $10 million for cities and $1.5 million for federally recognized tribes. The cities of Los Angeles, San Jose, San Diego and Oakland were entitled to receive $500,000 each, while other incorporated cities were eligible to apply for funds through a streamlined application process with individual allocations capped at $500,000. Within hours of the governor’s announcement about the new program, Cal OES representatives and League staff convened a conference call with city managers to brief them on the program and the process for requesting funds. To supplement the call, the League’s regional public affairs managers sent information to all city managers about the program. The League also added a new resource for city officials to its website (at www.cacities.org/powershutoffs), providing information about the program and other important updates affecting cities. As the state faced unprecedented highwind events, a hastily scheduled weekend phone call between the League’s Executive Committee and Gov. Newsom touched on the impacts of the shutoffs on cities and the need for state assistance to prepare for, endure and recover from the power shutoffs. This honest and candid conversation underscored the value of our
When the utility-initiated power shutoffs began, the League developed a dedicated webpage for city officials with up-to-date information on power shutoff locations, community resource centers, emergency preparedness best practices and potential financial assistance. The page was linked directly from the website’s homepage.
collective voices and the need for a strong partnership with the state.
The Importance of Communication Throughout these extraordinary challenges, I am reminded why public trust in local government continues to be higher than in the state or federal governments. Our cities are the closest level of government to the people and when a crisis arises, local leaders are the first on the scene to offer help. I am also reminded of how crucial it is for cities to proactively communicate — with their residents, neighboring communities and their state counterparts to share information, offer assistance and ask for help. When we work together, we are able to better serve and protect the public. Thank you to all our city officials for the work you do every day to keep our communities strong and our residents safe. ■
Western City, December 2019
All smiles on move-in day! A woman in the Inland Housing Solutions’ Rapid Re-housing Program in San Bernardino County receives her keys and her Welcome Home basket.
California Cities Lead on Affordable Housing and Homelessness Services by Eve Maldonado O’Toole The lack of affordable housing and rising rates of homelessness are among the most important challenges of our time, putting pressure on urban, suburban, rural and tribal communities throughout the western United States. California city officials are among those leading the charge for workable solutions. The problem is urgent. Today, about 600,000 people experience homelessness in the nation, which faces a shortage of more than 7 million affordable and available rental homes. And despite existing federal, state and local investments in housing, the demand for affordable housing will continue to outpace the supply, as wages have stagnated for decades and not kept pace with skyrocketing housing costs. The Federal Reserve’s Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2018, released in May 2019, presents these trends and numbers. The report finds that one-third of middle-class American adults can’t afford a $400 surprise expense and have fewer resources to meet essential needs like transportation to work, food and medicine — and may face homelessness.
Coalition Takes Action This rising tide is compelling action. In early 2018, a bipartisan coalition of 26 mayors, CEOs and stakeholders, including the League, formed the Mayors & CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment. Its members represent nearly 17 million residents and tens of millions of U.S. households. The coalition intends to ignite a national conversation about the fact that strong housing policy is pro-family, pro-jobs and pro-investment — and helps hard-working people. California local elected officials driving the coalition’s agenda include West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Fremont Mayor Lily Mei, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. These California city mayors collectively represent more than 7.5 million residents and tens of billions of dollars in economic output. They’re working with the federal government, businesses, local governments and nonprofits to increase existing funding and develop new partnerships, policies and resources to address affordable housing and homelessness in their cities and nationwide.
Eve Maldonado O’Toole is campaign manager for Mayors & CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment, in which the League is a key stakeholder. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
League of California Cities
Nevertheless, more needs to be done and should be done, because affordable housing is not a cost but a wise federal investment. Stable and affordable housing allows low- to moderate-income people the opportunity to pursue financial stability, which in turn supports local businesses and future economic growth. Research from the National Association of Home Builders shows that building 100 affordable rental homes generates $11.7 million in local income, $2.2 million in taxes and other revenue for local governments — and 161 local jobs in the first year. And consider our shared future: National Low-Income Housing Coalition research found that for every additional year a child spends in a better neighborhood environment, their economic outcome improves as an adult.
Pending Federal Legislation Addresses Concerns This problem and the opportunity to address it demand action on all fronts. Fortunately, California’s congressional officials are also heeding the call. Recently, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA 33rd District) introduced S 923, the Fighting Homelessness Through Services and Housing Act, a bill to increase federal resources to battle homelessness by authorizing $750 million in grants for local governments annually for the next five years. U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA 43rd District), chair of the House Financial Services Committee, has also introduced HR 1856, the Ending Homelessness Act of 2019. This bill provides a comprehensive plan to ensure that every person experiencing homelessness in America has a place to call home. And Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced S 3250, the Rent Relief Act, which would create a new refundable tax credit to put more money in the pockets of families at a time when renters’ wages have remained stagnant and housing costs have increased rapidly. Sen. Feinstein joined Sen. Harris in introducing the bill. Several of these bills mirror the Mayors & CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment’s five policy recommendations, which would help stabilize the current outlook. The recommendations are: 1. Include affordable housing in any infrastructure plan developed by Congress or the administration; 2. Maximize funding for existing federal programs that work, such as Section 8 housing vouchers, Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance grants, HOME Investment Partnerships Program and Community Development Block grants; 3. Issue new, competitive housing innovation, investment and reform opportunities grants modeled after the U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s successful Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants (formerly Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery or TIGER), designed for local communities to reward innovative thinking and collaborative, cross-sector projects that combat homelessness and affordable housing problems. These types of programs have proved to leverage local investment to provide strong social and economic returns;
Stevenson Terrace opened in May 2019 and includes 80 new affordable housing units for limited-income Fremont families. Built in partnership with MidPen Housing, Stevenson Terrace is located in central Fremont.
4. Build on the successful U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing model by pairing housing with health and human services programs to help families and individuals experiencing homelessness who have mental health issues and other barriers to assistance; and 5. Create a Housing Stabilization Fund that provides one-time, short-term emergency housing assistance to low-income households teetering on the edge of homelessness. Many lowincome renter and homeowner households, though generally able to afford their homes, still lack any cushion when faced with a housing emergency. For these households, a health emergency or the loss of a job can result in eviction and a downward spiral of housing instability that often ends in homelessness. Unfortunately, there is no consistent housing program, fund or tool to help prevent such losses.
A Collaborative Approach Neither government nor business alone can solve homelessness. It will take local, state and federal governments, businesses, neighborhood groups and other stakeholders implementing the kinds of dynamic actions described here, creating and supporting public-private partnerships that generate new ideas to solve one of today’s greatest social challenges. This broad scope is a central reason why the Mayors & CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment coalition is geographically, demographically and industrially diverse. California cities are providing a leadership stronghold on these critical issues. More cities are welcome to join the growing coalition and fight for families who shouldn’t have to choose between a place to stay and necessities like food and medication. All Americans deserve a safe home, a roof over their head and a place to dream of a new chance, a steady job and a better life. Thanks to city leadership, we can get closer to this goal than ever before.
How to Join the Effort For information on joining the coalition, contact Jenny Busby at Jennifer.Busby@hklaw.com. To learn more about the coalition, visit https://housinginvestment.org. ■
Western City, December 2019
Eth Establis to Guide
League of California Cities
hing a Code of Conduct Your Council by Rod Gould It is often said that ethics is the foundation of public service and essential for public trust and confidence in public officials. This is true, but ethics alone is not enough. A 2019 study conducted by the Pew Research Center reports that public trust in government remains near historic lows. The current dearth of public confidence in government requires elected and appointed officials to lead by example even more than in the past. This means conducting themselves with the highest levels of civility and decorum, thereby giving residents a reason to reconsider negative stereotypes of government leaders and to modulate their own behavior when engaging with government officials.
Many observers lament the coarsening of civic dialogue in the United States and note its creeping effects in council chambers. Sometimes this manifests in a few shrill advocates and critics who spew vitriol and discord to disrupt the public process. At other times, council members themselves display an appalling lack of respect for each other, staff and/or the public they serve. Invariably, the council’s example sets the tone. Disrespectful conduct on the council’s part normalizes such behavior by the public attending the meeting or watching it on television or online. The cycle then repeats — for the worse. Elected officials’ lack of civility impedes governance in many ways, such as stalling the decisionmaking process, undermin-
ing employee retention and recruitment, fueling political apathy and discouraging public participation. Over time, the standard set for acceptable behavior becomes increasingly lower. Although cities periodically conduct ethics training for officials as required by state law (AB 1234, Chapter 700, Statutes of 2005), most don’t take the time to discuss how they govern. This is puzzling because local government can be seen as the ultimate team sport, where everyone must play their roles well for civic progress to occur. continued
Rod Gould is vice chair of the board of the Institute for Local Government, the League’s nonprofit training and education affiliate, and a senior partner at Management Partners. Gould previously served as city manager in four California cities and is a past president of the League’s City Managers’ Department. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Western City, December 2019
Beyond Ethics: Establishing a Code of Conduct to Guide Your Council, continued
Fostering Focused and Productive Dialogue How often do councils and senior staff take time to discuss what is working and what can be improved in the ways they interact and carry out their duties? What benchmarks do they use to measure their behavior? Most importantly, how do they hold themselves and each other accountable? Many cities have adopted codes of ethics for their organizations and/or city councils, which is positive and appropriate. Some are taking the additional step of defining how the elected leaders and staff are to behave in carrying out their duties. These policies are typically called codes of conduct or council guidelines or norms. In such policies, the local government leadership sets the rules and expectations for how they govern their cities — defining a civil and respectful governing culture consistent with best practices.
How to Develop a Code of Conduct Whether the city council members are experienced or fairly new, each member articulates their vision of the organizational culture and values for the governing body when the council spends time developing a code of conduct. This also sets the tone for future councils.
This type of exercise should be conducted as an off-site workshop rather than as part of a council meeting with a packed agenda. Welcome the public and media to attend this open workshop but make it clear that the council will focus on the process of governing, not on addressing local issues. When developing a code of conduct, consider these tips for a successful session: • Create an informal atmosphere with seating arranged so that everyone can see each other, rather than using auditorium-style seating; • Engage a neutral facilitator so that everyone may participate freely; • Provide food, beverages and breaks; and • Encourage the use of humor. Use the theme of commitment to community to get things started. This can be accomplished through a team-building conversation that allows the council members to express why they ran for office, what they hope to accomplish, their greatest satisfaction in serving in elected office and the legacy they hope to create. A discussion about the habits of highly effective councils can help clarify the roles of the key local government players before developing the code of conduct or
Local government can be seen as the ultimate team sport, where everyone must play their roles well for civic progress to occur.
civility. To support such a discussion, the Institute for Local Government website (www.ca-ilg.org) offers useful resources that include the articles “Attributes of Exceptional Councils” and “A Key Ingredient for Success: An Effective City Council-City Manager Relationship.” The first offers best practices and the second explores roles and how they function in complementary ways for greatest effectiveness. This information sets the stage for an in-depth discussion of the norms of conduct that the council wishes to embrace. Some councils may find it useful to see codes or policies developed by other cities and borrow specific guidelines that best fit their current situation. Other councils may wish to begin “from scratch” by brainstorming the principles, standards and behaviors that they expect — and draft the code of conduct after the session. Either way is acceptable. Don’t attempt to edit the document to perfection in the group setting. After the session, have your best writer polish the draft and bring it back for formal adoption at the next regularly scheduled council meeting. This gives the community a better chance to weigh in and take note of how the council is committing to carry out the public’s business.
Code of Conduct Models and Examples Avoid attempting to address every eventuality. If the document is too dense, it will be ignored. Keep it general, in the council’s words and in terms that everyone can easily grasp. The following examples offer some typical elements, but this list is not intended to suggest that a code of conduct would include all of these elements. • Demonstrate honesty and integrity in every action and statement; • Inspire public confidence in our city government; • Work for the common good, not personal interest;
League of California Cities
Avoid attempting to address every eventuality. If the Code of Conduct document is too dense, it will be ignored.
• Respect the proper roles of elected officials and city staff in ensuring open and effective government;
• Work for win-win — strive for consensus and seek common ground; and
• Disagree agreeably and professionally (use appropriate language, tone, nonverbal gestures, etc.);
• Honor “discussion” before “decisions” — delay making formal motions until initial discussions have taken place.
• Share information and avoid surprises; • Approach the business of governing in a professional manner — conduct business in a way that brings honor to the institution of government; • Praise in public, criticize in private; • Work together as a body, modeling teamwork and civility for our community; • Communicate through the city manager; • Prepare in advance of council meetings, be familiar with issues on the agenda and ask questions of the city manager before the meetings so everyone can be fully prepared when the meeting occurs; • Fully participate in city council meetings and other public forums while demonstrating respect, consideration and courtesy to others;
Commitment and Accountability The council’s determination of how it will enforce the code of conduct — informally and/or formally — is just as important as the principles expressed in the code of conduct. Enforcing the code can take the form of a personal pledge to behave consistently with its policies and to gently remind one’s peers if they are straying from the joint commitments in the code. It may also involve more formal actions like censure under prescribed rules. Regardless of the enforcement method, council members should not expect the city manager or city attorney to do it for them; imposing this expectation on staff is unreasonable.
• Participate in scheduled activities to increase council effectiveness;
Annual Self-Assessment: Reflection, Learning and Continuous Improvement
• Share information with other council members about committee meetings attended;
It is absolutely essential that the council meet at least once a year to take stock and evaluate how it is performing with respect
to the code of conduct. This process provides a chance to discuss what is working well, identify areas for improvement, examine what should be emphasized and clarify what needs to stop if the council is to function for the greatest community good — and build trust and confidence in the city. It may be useful to consider recent successes and how they were achieved. Conversely, clear-eyed diagnosis of setbacks — without devolving into blaming and finger-pointing — is important. Skilled neutral facilitation is key to making this happen. Again, in such discussions, a little team building can go a long way. The follow-up meeting is also the time to consider amendments to the code of conduct as needs arise or understandings evolve. Debrief afterward to improve the next session; these governance tuneups should become easier and more meaningful over time. This annual exercise should be considered as important as the evaluation of the city manager. It is critical governance hygiene.
The Bottom Line Ethics is the bedrock on which strong cultures are built. A code of conduct can help shape a civil and effective governance culture. ■
Western City, December 2019
Investigating Complaints Against
New Clarity for by Jeff Sloan and Tim Yeung
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, some employers have reported an increase in sexual harassment complaints. To encourage victims of harassment to come forward, advocates have argued that employers must provide as much confidentiality as possible to victims. Advocates for the accused, however, have complained that the desire to maintain strict confidentiality violates the due process rights of the accused because it prevents them from mounting a defense to the allegations. It is within the context of this debate that the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) issued its recent decision in Contra Costa Community College District (June 26, 2019), PERB Decision No. 2652-E (Contra Costa).
Privacy Issues and Other Considerations The main issue in Contra Costa was whether and when a union was entitled to receive a copy of a complaint against an employee. The dispute began when a faculty member received notice that his employer, a community college district, had received a student complaint against him. The district retained an outside investigator to investigate the complaint, and the faculty member was ordered to submit for an investigatory interview. The faculty member sought the assistance of his union, which promptly demanded a copy of the student complaint. Based on its internal policies, the district declined to provide a copy of the complaint. The
district reasoned that withholding the complaint at the pre-interview stage was necessary to protect the privacy of the complainant and protect the complainant from retaliation, in addition to protecting the integrity of the investigation by limiting the ability of the accused to review the allegations in detail and possibly compose untrue or misleading responses to potential questions. In addressing whether the district committed an unfair labor practice by refusing to provide a copy of the complaint prior to the investigatory interview, PERB first affirmed that a union is entitled â€œto all information that is necessary and relevant to discharge its representational duties.â€? However, PERB acknowledged that when, as in this case, the employer
Jeff Sloan and Tim Yeung are partners with the law firm of Sloan Sakai Yeung & Wong LLP and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com respectively.
League of California Cities
Employers asserts a privacy interest over the requested information, a balancing test must be conducted. But PERB cautioned that even when the privacy interest outweighs the union’s need for the information, “the employer may not simply refuse to provide the information, but rather must meet and negotiate in good faith to seek an accommodation of all legitimate competing interests.” In this instance, because the district did not seek any accommodation but rather imposed a blanket policy of refusing to provide copies of student complaints in all situations, PERB held that the district could have committed an unfair labor practice. After disapproving of blanket policies prohibiting disclosure of complaints, PERB went on to discuss the third-party privacy issues at stake in such situations. PERB acknowledged that state privacy laws may prevent disclosure in some www.westerncity.com
circumstances but also explained that even where applicable state privacy laws exist, there are often exceptions to those laws, such as an exception for disclosure upon consent. PERB noted that in the case before it, there was evidence that the district informed students that it might not be possible to investigate a complaint without disclosing the complaint to the accused. Next, PERB examined state regulatory guidance recognizing the due process rights of employees accused of misconduct and the fact that these employees often have additional rights under state laws and/or collective bargaining agreements. Based on this guidance, PERB concluded that an employer would not have to provide a copy of a complaint to the accused in instances where the complainant insists on confidentiality despite knowing that it might limit the employer’s ability to
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.
investigate. And even when the complainant is willing to allow disclosure to permit an investigation, PERB acknowledged the district may still propose that the student complaint only be disclosed to the union’s agents and not directly to the accused employee. PERB also noted that depending on the nature of the allegations, disclosure of the student’s name may or may not be required. For example, PERB suggested that where the allegation is that an instructor made an offensive comment to an entire class, the name of the specific student lodging the complaint may not be necessary. But in other situations, the student’s name may be easily identifiable or necessary to disclose as part of the investigatory interview. PERB also took note of cases under the Public Safety Officers Procedural continued
Western City, December 2019
Investigating Complaints Against Public Employees: New Clarity for Employers, continued
Bill of Rights Act (PSOPBOR) and the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights Act. PERB acknowledged that under the PSOPBOR, the California Supreme Court has held that while employees are entitled to reasonable notice of the allegations against them prior to an investigatory interview, employees are not entitled to a copy of the underlying complaint. In an interesting twist, even though the PSOPBOR is distinct from the statutes that PERB administers, PERB decided to adopt the same standard that only reasonable notice of the allegations is required prior to an investigatory interview. Significantly, PERB held that employees are not entitled to a copy of the underlying complaint prior to that initial interview.
Additional Helpful Points Based on its holding — and because the only allegation in this case was that the employee did not get a copy of the complaint prior to his initial interview — PERB dismissed the case. However, in doing so PERB strongly hinted that if the issue was whether the district provided “reasonable notice” of the alleged wrongdoing in advance, it would have reached a different conclusion. Accordingly, although the district prevailed in this
Looking for Footnotes? For a fully footnoted version, read this article online at www.westerncity.com.
case, employers would be wise to remember that if there is a request, a union is entitled to some notice and information about a complaint prior to an employee’s initial investigative interview. Here are some additional important take-aways from this case: • When there is a complaint against an employee, the employer is not required to provide a copy of the complaint to the union representing the accused employee prior to the initial investigatory interview; • However, although the union is not entitled to a copy of the complaint, the union is entitled to “reasonable notice” of the alleged wrongdoing in advance of the investigatory interview; • At a minimum, reasonable notice of the alleged wrongdoing requires a general statement about the subject matter of the interview that identifies to the employee the misconduct for which discipline may be imposed;
Taking Action on Problem Landlords When a landlord with a long history of abusing the court system made life miserable for tenants and neighbors alike, frustrated residents reached out to the city council. In response, the City of Elk Grove took action. Read about the city’s successful efforts in “The Nightmare Next Door” — available only on westerncity.com.
• Depending on the specific situation, the employer may need to disclose additional information about the allegations in the complaint to the employee. The touchstone is “what is necessary to allow meaningful representation.” This necessarily depends on the facts of the specific situation, but based on PERB’s discussion in this case, it appears that in some situations the employer may need to disclose the name of the employee to allow for meaningful representation; • The employer must provide the required information sufficiently in advance of the investigatory interview so the employee may consult with a union representative. The amount of advance notice must be reasonable, and again, necessarily depends on the facts of the specific situation; and • In instances where an employer has to provide information to allow for meaningful representation and that information is subject to privacy interests, the employer may propose safeguards to the union. These safeguards might include restrictions on the use of the information provided or agreements akin to a protective order. PERB requires that an employer meet and confer with a union over any safeguards as opposed to unilaterally imposing one.
Moving Ahead Because this area of law continues to evolve, cities are encouraged to proceed with caution and consult their legal counsel when confronted with union requests for information regarding employee investigations. ■
League of California Cities
Community engagement helped create and support programs that improve the quality of life, including Safe Routes to School, bilingual cooking classes and more.
Rancho Cucamonga’s Community Champions Engage Latino Residents Socioeconomic differences and health disparities divide the City of Rancho Cucamonga (pop. 179,412) into communities with distinct needs. In 2008, this Southern California municipality developed a citywide health initiative, Healthy RC, to address these challenges. The initiative focuses on bringing together the community’s diverse voices and developing targeted strategies to improve the quality of life for all residents. Healthy RC includes a collaborative group of representatives from local government, public health agencies, educational institutions, area businesses and nonprofits. The city’s southwest area has historically faced significant barriers to healthy living,
including a lack of sidewalks, bike lanes, safe places to play and outlets selling fresh produce. And southwest area residents and Spanish-speaking community members in general were underrepresented in civic activities, community meetings and local government policymaking processes. Approximately 20 percent of the city’s residents live in households that speak only Spanish. In 2013, the collaborative group conducted a comprehensive community engagement process in Rancho Cucamonga’s southwest area to identify major cultural and language barriers to residents’ civic engagement. Using surveys and focus groups, the effort reached over 32,000 residents in mobile home parks, senior
housing and affordable housing complexes, schools and places of worship. Armed with the results, city staff pictured what it would be like to be a non-English speaker who receives an invitation to a city meeting, held in a foreign language at an unfamiliar facility — by a government that is not fully trusted. In response, the city changed its “one-size-fits-all” community engagement approach to one centered on inclusivity and empowerment.
City Focuses on Building Trust and Community Capacity Working through Healthy RC, the city focused on building trust with the Latino community, which represents over onethird of its population. The city was committed to creating opportunities for these residents to participate in improving the quality of life in their neighborhoods. In 2010, Rancho Cucamonga launched Campeones para la Comunidad (Community Champions), a volunteer continued
The City of Rancho Cucamonga won the Award for Excellence in the Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics & Community Involvement category of the 2019 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more about the award program, visit www.helenputnam.org.
Western City, December 2019
Rancho Cucamonga’s Community Champions Engage Latino Residents, continued
Rancho Cucamonga reached out to its Latino residents for help in building trust, inclusivity and empowerment.
program that fosters civic engagement and provides leadership training for Latino residents. “The Community Champions program was established to give a voice to a part of the community that traditionally hasn’t always been well represented in local government,” says City Manager John Gillison. “We specifically wanted to make an effort to break down the barriers and empower residents to participate in the process of shaping the future of their community.” Since 2010, the Campeones have met every two weeks at a neighborhood community center. These meetings are held in the evening to help ensure that working families can attend. Bilingual city staffers teach the Campeones about local government, public speaking and more. The program equips participants with the skills and capacity to improve the community’s quality of life by engaging in the policymaking process. Participants invite family, friends and neighbors to join the Campeones. Rancho Cucamonga has used a variety of sources to fund the program over time, including private and public grants and the city’s General Fund.
Campeones Make a Positive Difference Francisco Cardenas is a member of the Campeones. He says, “We feel heard, and we trust the city to listen to our needs. We work together to develop solutions.”
League of California Cities
The Campeones have played a critical role as partners in developing health policies and programs that have improved residents’ quality of life. Their efforts have helped bring more fresh and healthy food options to the city by supporting robust farmers markets and community garden policies that led to changes in city zoning. To help prevent obesity and chronic illnesses, the Campeones developed healthy cooking classes for youths and adults, taught by a bilingual chef. In addition, the Campeones have contributed significantly to the development of the city’s nationally recognized Complete Streets Ordinance and its comprehensive Nutrition and Beverage Standards policy. The Campeones are also responsible for helping to bring much-needed infrastructure to the neighborhood. To address the need for more sidewalks and bike lanes, the Campeones conducted walkability assessments and created a photo-voice project to complement the city’s Safe Routes to School successful grant application. And they played an integral part in the community engagement process that helped secure a state grant for a new park in an area previously considered a “play desert.” Teresa Gonzalez says, “As a member of the Campeones, I feel my voice is heard, respected and valued, despite only having finished primary school in Mexico and knowing little English. It’s rewarding to see our work, from sidewalks to the farmers market, become reality — because
it’s for the benefit of our families and the entire community.”
The Work of Effecting Change Continues Since Healthy RC’s inception, community health outcomes in Rancho Cucamonga are improving, with reductions in rates of childhood obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. These health improvements reflect the Campeones’ hard work and dedication in partnering with the city to develop effective health policies and programs. Healthy RC has sustained its community engagement through a comprehensive approach that builds resident leadership and community capacity to engage with city staff, elected officials and professional and partner organizations. This effort has created strong, supportive relationships and an environment where residents influence local decisionmaking from the grassroots up. As Rancho Cucamonga prepares for the formal adoption of a community engagement policy with a healthy equity framework and updates its General Plan, the Campeones continue to be essential partners in shaping city policies and future development for generations to come. Contact: Erika Lewis-Huntley, management analyst III, City Manager’s Office; phone: (909) 774-2008; email: Erika. Lewis-Huntley@cityofrc.us. ■
Western City magazine’s job opportunity section is the source for job seekers looking for positions in local government. When you place a job opportunity ad in Western City
Call Cici Trino, Association Outsource Services, at (916) 961-9999 to place a display (boxed) ad or for rate and deadline information, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 Savannah Cobbs, Western City administrative assistant; email: scobbs@ cacities.org; phone: (916) 658-8223.
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Western City, December 2019
Find Leadership Inspiration City of San José, CA Communications Manager The San José Police Department (SJPD) is recruiting for a Communications Manager position in the 9-1-1 Communications Center, responsible for managing the answering and dispatching of emergency 9-1-1 calls. The Bureau of Administration (BOA) is one of four bureaus within the Police Department and is comprised of the Communications Division, Operations Support Services Division (OSSD), and the Training Division. The Communications Manager is an essential executive position within the Police Department reporting directly to the Deputy Chief of BOA. The San José Police Department Communications Manager will be responsible for operating and managing the largest Communications Center in Santa Clara County. Qualified candidates will possess a bachelor’s degree in Business, Public Administration, or closely related field such as Criminal Justice or Human Resources Management – training and experience will not be substituted for this requirement; possess at least (6) years progressively responsible experience in Public Safety Communications, including three (3) years of supervisory experience; and submit to a personal background investigation as required by the Police Department. The San José Police Department is a California POST certified agency. The selected candidate must possess or obtain a California POST Basic Dispatcher certificate and California POST Management Certificate within 2 years of employment. Possession of a valid driver’s license is also required. The annual salary range for the Communications Manager is $106,318 to $162,386, dependent on qualifications and experience. If you are interested in this exciting career opportunity, apply online at www.bobmurrayassoc.com. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call Mr. Joel Bryden at (916) 784-9080.
Filing Deadline: January 10, 2020
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The Western City website offers numerous articles on leadership for mayors, city council members, municipal department heads and city staff. Visit www.westerncity.com and search for “leadership” or browse “Everyday Ethics” features under the “Articles” pull-down menu.
City of Pleasanton, CA
ocated in Northern California’s East Bay, the City of Pleasanton (pop. 80,492) excels as a livable community with an exceptional quality of life marked by a low crime rate and incomparable amenities. The Pleasanton Police Department’s relationship with the community has long been a cornerstone of the City’s well-established success. Staffed by over 120 sworn and professional personnel and supported by a FY2019-20 budget of just under $30 million, the Department is organized across two divisions – Operations and Support Services. Pleasanton is seeking a forward-thinking servant leader to serve as its next police chief. The ideal candidate must exhibit relentless dedication to delivering extraordinary service that is highly customized to community needs and desires. This inspiring professional will also be visible, approachable and highly engaged with the workforce as well as the community. Substantial municipal law enforcement experience, which includes management experience, and a Bachelor’s degree are required. Pleasanton offers competitive compensation and benefits and an incredibly collaborative executive team. Visit www.tbcrecruiting.com for latest information, detailed brochure and to apply online. Teri Black • 424.296.3111 Bradley Wardle • 650.450.3299
Photo/art credits Cover: Olaser Page 3: Courtesy of Sonoma West Publishers Page 4: Groveb Page 5: Clockwise from left, Shylendrahoode; Jeffadl; courtesy of League of California Cities Page 6: Courtesy of Inland Housing Solutions Page 7: Courtesy of City of Fremont Pages 8–9: Olaser Page 11: Sshepard
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Current & Upcoming Opportunities City of Pleasant Hill, CA – Chief Building Official Pleasant Hill is a modern and dynamic city in the East Bay Area of San Francisco and home to approximately 35,000 residents. Located at the center of the Interstate 680 corridor in Contra Costa County, Pleasant Hill is characterized by small-town charm and a strong sense of community. The ideal candidate will possess strong supervisory skills to lead a team of experienced building professionals. He/she will be an individual who is trustworthy, approachable, honest, and ethical. A Chief Building Official who will create a teamwork-oriented environment that emphasizes cooperation, accountability and responsiveness is sought. Candidates must possess equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in architecture, structural engineering, civil engineering or a closely related field, five (5) years of experience similar to that of a Building Inspector with at least two years of supervisory experience, and Certification by the International Conference of Building Officials as a Combination Building Inspector. The monthly salary range for the incoming Chief Building Official is $9,684 - $12,879 monthly; placement in this range is dependent upon qualifications. Contact: Mr. Joel Bryden, (916) 784-9080 – Filing Deadline: December 20, 2019
City of Davis, CA Finance Director
City of Fairfield, CA Community Development Director
City of Hermosa Beach, CA Chief of Police
City of Livermore, CA Assistant City Attorney
City of Moreno Valley, CA Community Development Director
City of Newark, CA Police Chief
City of Riverside, CA Chief of Police
City of San José, CA Assistant Communications Manager
City of San Rafael, CA Fire Chief
If you are interested in these outstanding opportunities, visit our website to apply online.
City of Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Situated among the hills and bluffs of the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles County, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes is a contract city that has maintained its low-tax, low density, semi-rural environment. The community’s diverse and active population of approximately 43,000 residents enjoy 7.5 miles of Pacific coastline, the 1,400-acre Palos Verdes Nature Preserve, and hundreds more acres of open space. Appointed by the five-member City Council, the City Manager will oversee a staff of 66 FTEs and approximately 62 PTEs within Administration, Finance, Community Development, Recreation & Parks, and Public Works. With an excellent team of employees and a variety of interesting capital projects on the forefront, the Council is seeking an innovative and resourceful problem solver, proven manager, and leader possessing effective listening and communication skills. Bachelor’s degree in public or business administration or a related field required; Master’s degree preferred. Annual salary DOQE. Filing deadline is December 30, 2019. Contact Bobbi Peckham.
Assistant City Manager City of Moorpark, CA
Recognized as a comfortable, safe and beautiful place to live, the City of Moorpark (population 37,000) is located in a bucolic valley with majestic mountain views, a year-round climate, and a variety of cultural and recreational opportunities. The City’s outstanding schools, including an exceptional community college; low crime; historic downtown; and business community provide a wonderful environment to raise a family, work, and enjoy a variety of activities both locally and regionally. The Assistant City Manager will serve as Chief Operating Officer for the City and have broad responsibility of providing leadership and working with the City Manager in a variety of areas pertaining to the administration of City services, human resources, economic development, community engagement and organizational development. The position specifically has direct oversight of the City Clerk’s office, Human Resources and Risk Management. Other functional areas may be assigned dependent on the qualifications of the most desired candidate. Ten years of increasingly responsible experience in municipal government including a minimum of four years of administrative and supervisory responsibility, and a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited four-year college, is required. The annual salary range of the position is $146,764 to $197,412, and the City provides an excellent benefit package. Filing deadline is January 10, 2020. Contact Tony Dahlerbruch.
Community Development Director City of Astoria, OR
Rich in history and character, Astoria sits near the mouth of the mighty Columbia River with expansive views of the Coast Range, Long Beach Peninsula, and Pacific Ocean. The city is home to beautiful Victorian and Craftsman homes, successful businesses and industries, art galleries, restaurants, microbreweries, an eclectic mix of shops, and a fascinating community of people whose own stories are as unique and interesting as those of the place itself. A welcoming, friendly, vibrant, and inclusive community, Astoria offers a sense of home and community. The Community Development Department is responsible for economic development, land use planning, zoning administration, building inspection, and historic preservation. The Director oversees four employees, including the city planner, building inspector/code enforcement officer, administrative assistant and building permit technician. Astoria’s Community Development team has repeatedly earned national recognition for innovative planning and development projects that utilize state and federal grant funds for community improvement. Creativity, innovation and partnership are what make projects like these possible, and will be key qualifications for the successful Community Development Director. Bachelor’s degree in planning, resource management, public administration or related field is required; a Master’s degree is preferred. The City is offering an attractive annual salary range of $92,127 to $111,981 DOQE. Filing deadline is January 6, 2020. Contact Bobbi Peckham.
“All about fit” The Sea Ranch Association, CA Community Manager
The Sea Ranch is a community known world-wide for its concern for the environment and distinctive, thoughtfully sited architecture. It has been the subject of numerous books and articles, as well a recent exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Known for its strong focus on rural coastal living emphasizing ecologically sensitive land management, the Sea Ranch community aims to “perpetuate the rich variety of this rugged coastal, pastoral and forested environment for the benefit of all who acquire property at The Sea Ranch.” The Sea Ranch is located 125 miles north of San Francisco on about 3,000 acres along ten miles of dramatic Sonoma County coast. The Sea Ranch Association is a not-for-profit mutual benefit corporation owned by its members with 1,777 homes currently built out of 2,288 homesites. With an operating budget of $6.3 million, the Association is organized much like a small city with operations similar to administration, public works, building and planning, finance, parks and utilities. The Board of Directors is seeking an experienced manager with unquestionable ethics and integrity who has the ability through excellent interpersonal and communication skills to educate, facilitate and bring people together while promoting the design concept and protecting the environmental setting. Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s preferred. Salary range from $154,544 to $211,453 DOQE with comprehensive benefits (this is not a CalPERS agency). Filing Deadline is January 13, 2020. Contact Phil McKenney.
Upcoming Opportunities General Manager, Humboldt Community Services District, CA Police Chief, City of Sebastopol, CA
Congratulations to Recent Placements David Kwong – Community Development Director, San Joaquin County, CA Maria Ojeda – Assistant City Manager, City of American Canyon, CA Nitish Sharma – CAO, Cosumnes Community Services District, CA Mike Bordogna – County Manager, San Miguel County, CO Krishan Chopra – City Attorney, City of Mountain View, CA Teri Smith – Human Resources Director, City of Kent, WA Chelle Putzer – Recreation Director, City of Piedmont, CA David Campbell – City Manager, City of Rio Rancho, NM Paul Chung – Finance Director, City of San Marino, CA Steve Roser – Police Chief, City of Prescott Valley, AZ Afshin Oskoui – City Manager, City of Belmont, CA Paula Painter – Finance Director, City of Kent, WA Dan Brotzman – City Attorney, City of Aurora, CO Josh Comte – Police Chief, Town of Telluride, CO Sara Ott – City Manager, City of Aspen, CO To apply, please visit our website at:
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Western City, December 2019
What is your city’s most popular program or service? Read more “On the Record” at www.westerncity.com.
Deborah Novelli Mayor Patterson
Claudette Staton Council Member Brentwood
Kenneth Leary Council Member American Canyon
League of California Cities
Our Children’s Safety Fair, held in conjunction with back-to-school events; we launched it after two children in our city were murdered. More than 4,000 people attend.
Our family events — concerts and movies in the park, recreational activities and arts and jazz festivals.
Our Citizens Academy, a six-week program that introduces residents to city services, functions and finance.
Nolan Sullivan Council Member Vacaville
Pam Bertani Vice Mayor Fairfield
Amanda Rigby Council Member Vista
Our Police Cadet Program, now linked with high school youth to promote careers in public safety and fire services. This approach also supports community policing principles.
Our Fun on the Run program, which takes mobile recreation services for kids into underserved neighborhoods.
Our award-winning municipal Moonlight Amphitheatre, which hosts musicals, concerts and comedy, and our Wave Waterpark.
Laborers’ International Union of North America
BUILDS PEOPLE BUILDS PROJECTS BUILDS CALIFORNIA
The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) partners with public and private entities, elected officials, community groups, and responsible contractors to build and maintain the infrastructure needs of communities throughout California while providing residents a career in the construction industry.
Find out more @ www.LIUNAbuildsCA.org Visit us at booth #445
Oscar De La Torre Northern CA District Council (925) 469-6800 www.ncdclaborers.org
Jon P. Preciado Southern CA District Council (626) 350-6900 www.scdcl.org