Police Chief Landy Black A Finalist For Fairfield Position

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landy_blackThe Vanguard has learned through numerous sources that Davis Police Chief, Landy Black, since 2007, is a finalist for the Chief position at the Fairfield Police Department.

Chief Black acknowledged that in part this was due to financial considerations, but also the opportunity for professional advancement.  The city is in the process of considering whether to increase the Chief’s compensation in order to insure a continuation of his services.

Chief Black told the Vanguard that several months ago he was invited by the Fairfield City Manager to consider applying to become the new Police Chief in Fairfield.  This invitation followed a lengthy but periodic discussion following the expiration of his contract with the city of Davis at the end of June 2008.

“While there have been periodic discussions resembling contract negotiations during the nearly two years since the contract ended, no real progress had been made,” he said in a statement to the Vanguard. “Additionally, with the economy causing great concern with so many folks regarding the City of Davis budget–long-term and structurally–and the notable attention regarding employee compensation, I became concerned that a mutually satisfactory agreement might not be reached.”

He also expressed great love and appreciation for the city of Davis, the community, and his department.

“I truly love it here in Davis,” he wrote.  “I like the community–quirky as it sometimes appears to be–and find its challenges to be fulfilling and rewarding to tackle. This community has welcomed and encouraged me and has helped make me and the Davis Police Department successful and constantly improving in so many ways.”

He continued, “I could not find a greater group of people to work with than my fellow Police Department members. It really feels like family so often. They have helped and encouraged me and seem truly open and appreciative of what I have tried to bring to the professional policing equation in Davis.”

His fellow officers have been informed of this process and have provided him with support and encouragement to remain in Davis.  “I am truly humbled by the respect and affection that has been communicated to me during this troubling time,” he said.

The move puts the city in a tough spot as it attempts to ask rank and file city employees to take concessions and temporary pay cuts.  At the same time, Chief Landy Black has brought great stability to a department that upon his arrival was racked by controversy and difficulties with several different aspects of the communities.

When Chief Jim Hyde bolted for Antioch, the trust between the department and segments of the community was frayed at best.  There were frequent complaints lodged not only regarding racial profiling, but a whole host of other management problems.

The Vanguard has learned for instance that the last three years under Chief Hyde, the city’s risk management insurance pool, YCPARMIA, paid out over $1.4 million in claims from anything ranging from use of force complaints to $400,000 for a collision involving a police car.  In the three years under Chief Black that number is $90,000.  The Vanguard is in the process of trying to obtain those records, but in a general sense, recognizes that a good chief not only makes good public relations sense but also good fiscal sense.

While complaints of racial profiling have persisted, the entire Davis Police Department appears to be run better from top to bottom.  Meanwhile, in Antioch, Chief Hyde is now involved in a federal lawsuit involving discrimination against Section 8 housing residents while last year he fired shots back at the city of Davis, likening its officers to the cable parody, Reno 9-11.

Chief Black has worked hard to repair fractures between the department and portions of the community, and it would be a great tragedy for the city if he were to leave.

Nevertheless, the timing of this could not be worse for the city that is still in negotiations with the Davis Police Officer’s Association and the Department heads trying to trim an immediate budget deficit and deal with long range fiscal matters such as retirement pensions and health care.

He said at this point, he hopes to reach an agreement to remain in Davis.  “During the past week or so, the indications are good. I am encouraged and hopeful,” he told the Vanguard.”

“However, I had already undergone a great deal of the candidate process in Fairfield and was selected as one of the final three candidates under consideration before my Davis negotiations began to show signs of life,” he continued.   “So, [Wednesday] (5/5/10) I underwent the final competitive hurdles and expect to hear from the Fairfield City Manager in the next couple of days. I have had no discussions with him about what sort of working agreement we will strike since I do not know yet if I am his choice.”

While he is appreciative of the community, the department, and the city, he also believes that he needs to at least explore his professional options.  “I am closer to the end of my career than the beginning,” he wrote.  “I have an obligation to myself and my family to seek professional and personal growth and advancement, including increased current and future financial security/development.”

He continued, “In short, I have to make sure that I keep my eyes and options open and see what other possibilities exist. With the admittedly somewhat pessimistic view that I may have gone as far as I was going to go in Davis, and even finding the risk of going backwards a real fear, I accepted to the offer to entertain a move to the Fairfield Police Department, which would present me with new challenges and opportunities to improve my future.”

Chief Black in closing made it clear that this was not entirely about financial considerations.  “If I end up having a decision to make between Davis and Fairfield, it will not be entirely based on financial considerations, but that will play a role,” said the Chief.  “I again have to stress that I really love Davis and feel love in return. There is real value in that.”

Our best information at this time indicates that the city at this point is willing to reach some sort of agreement that will keep him here.  It is clear that everyone involved thinks that the Chief is a value to the community.  There is a concern that they do not want to risk things going back to where they were under Chief Hyde.  Despite any public statements to the contrary, the city is well aware of the turmoil that Hyde sowed and the divisions he created.

It is disappointing that during these times it has come to this.  It puts the city in a tough position during a very tough time.  However, from a fiscal standpoint, a good chief with a stable police department is a net fiscal benefit to the city.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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56 thoughts on “Police Chief Landy Black A Finalist For Fairfield Position”

  1. SODA

    Why were there no conversations about his contract until this potential opportunity came along. Isn’t that the city manager’s role to play?

  2. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]Why were there no conversations about his contract until this potential opportunity came along.[/i]

    That’s pretty obvious: Because certain members of the city council come to every meeting thinking that city staff is overpaid, particularly those with the highest salaries. In such a political environment, it makes no sense to ask for more money for a manager’s salary in open session.

    Now you see the downside of hardcore populism. If you don’t pay managers as much as other jurisdictions pay them, they walk. As David finally points out, stable management is a net fiscal benefit. The flip side of which is that unstable management is a fiscal disaster. It’s not about paying top dollar for the creme-de-la-creme — Landy Black sounds like a good police chief, but he’s not Elliott Ness. It’s also not about “keeping up with the Joneses” just for the sake of keeping up with the Joneses. It’s also not true that no one can find a job “in this economy”. California’s economy is still in horrible shape, but miracle of miracles, Fairfield has an opening.

    The question now is whether we want to be last in line in the California job market for the position of police chief, or hopefully pay a decent police chief what it actually costs to have one.

  3. David M. Greenwald

    That’s the point. As Chief Black said, he’s had talks about a new contract but they have not come to a resolution. Part of that may be that their focus was on the collective bargaining agreements with the bargaining units and that the department heads will come afterwards. Now I personally think, the department heads starting with Emlen should have stepped up with 10 percent pay cuts and then asked the employees to follow their lead. Don’t get me started.

  4. David M. Greenwald

    Greg: It’s also about bidding against ourselves at some level. As Paul Navazio told me, a few years ago when Davis gave the FF’ers a big contract raise, they did it based on competitiveness with surrounding the communities. From Davis’ perspective this closed the gap. However, it pissed off cities like Fairfield and Vacaville because this forced their hand in giving their employees commensurate raises. Why when they already paid more than Davis? Because it was tied in to increases regionally. So that in turn would put pressure on other cities to increase their salaries which would put more pressure on Davis. That is the cycle that has to be broken that will cripple local government which is what has happened now that we are not continuing to grow in sales and property tax revenue like we did five years ago.

  5. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]I personally think, the department heads starting with Emlen should have stepped up with 10 percent pay cuts[/i]

    Do you want to cut Landy Black’s pay by 10 percent, or do you want to keep him? If you can’t make up your mind about that, then it looks like you’re happy to criticize from both sides.

    [i]It’s also about bidding against ourselves at some level.[/i]

    No, it’s about bidding against others. Yes, when you raise your bid, everyone else can too. That’s the way that bidding works. You can’t wish away a job market just with political ideology.

    The only way out is with market collusion, and the only above-aboard version of that is through the state government. Yes, the state government caters to public safety unions and it should change course. You can’t fix the problem at the city level.

  6. E Roberts Musser

    GK: “Yes, the state government caters to public safety unions and it should change course.”

    And do what exactly? Just curious as to what your proposed solution is…

  7. Frankly

    Now you see the downside of hardcore populism. If you don’t pay managers as much as other jurisdictions pay them, they walk.

    While I agree with this point about the downside of hardcore populism, I think there is always going to be competition from larger cities for management talent. The scope of responsibility in a larger city would require/justify higher compensation. Also, Davis police work is made more stressful from the population of law enforcement-skeptical activist do-gooders watching their every move. When you add that to the lower compensation you get more turnover. Because he is a genuine nice guy and natural leader, Chief Black might deny that this Davis job comes with more stress managing citizen expectations… but we know it to be the case. Hell, even Woodland’s law enforcement jobs are made more difficult by Davis citizen activism.

    When you compare a police chief and fire chief considering the number of employees, the number of transactions, the level of real and political risk for each of these transactions, the statesmanship and the level of technical/procedural knowledge required… it is clear that we overpay our fire chief and underpay our police chief.

  8. David M. Greenwald

    “Do you want to cut Landy Black’s pay by 10 percent, or do you want to keep him? If you can’t make up your mind about that, then it looks like you’re happy to criticize from both sides. “

    In an ideal world, I think he has merited an increase in pay. In the real world, we cannot give him that pay because we have given a lot of other people increases in pay without qualification for service. I agree with the point that Jeff makes, we overpay our fire chief and much of the rest of the fire department in comparison to the police chief and the police department.

    In the real world, we need our leaders, and in city government that’s Emlen and the department heads to show an example by taking one for the team. The timing for Mr. Black’s move, no matter how deserving he may be for a raise, could not be worse from the city’s perspective.

    I don’t see how this is an either/ or issue. We simply do not have the resources now to pay out raises. If the cost of past fiscal policies is that we lose good people in the top, maybe, that is a lesson we need to learn. You certainly have not learned it yet.

    “No, it’s about bidding against others. Yes, when you raise your bid, everyone else can too. That’s the way that bidding works. You can’t wish away a job market just with political ideology. “

    We’ve set up a system that is not sustainable and unfortunately we do not have the resources to fund that system anymore without either cutting services, employees, or changing the system. Something has to give.

  9. David M. Greenwald

    Jeff: The problem isn’t with Davis being to tough (I’d argue we’re not tough enough), the problem is that other communities are not tough enough. All communities should demand accountability not just of law enforcement but all of their public services.

  10. Frankly

    The problem isn’t with Davis being to tough (I’d argue we’re not tough enough), the problem is that other communities are not tough enough.

    David: that very well might be true, but the higher the volume and intensity of citizen oversight, the more stress it would cause a police chief. It is a big enough job already.

  11. David M. Greenwald

    From my talks with the Chief, I don’t think he sees it that way and he doesn’t seem to fear scrutiny. That’s one of the reasons we have always gotten along well. Now other Chief’s might not have that approach, but then again, I probably wouldn’t want that kind of chief anyway.

  12. biddlin

    “In the real world, we need our leaders, and in city government that’s Emlen and the department heads to show an example by taking one for the team.” In what real world does that happen? I see very few examples either in the private sector or government.

  13. David M. Greenwald

    I said that’s what we “need” the to do it – it’s unfortunate that it hasn’t happened more. But the example I’ll point to is the Superintendent and his staff taking pay cuts in advance of asking the teachers to do so.

  14. Frankly

    Like I said, I doubt Chief Black would admit this. True leaders do not make themselves out to be victims. How can he lead a police department that must accommodate all the scrutiny if he complains about it himself?

    I agree that he handles it as good, if not better, than most top-shelf police chief talent. But let’s be objective here… if you or I had the choice of two jobs… all other things being equal… and one came with more active and intense oversight from citizens… many of which have a natural skepticism of law enforcement to begin with… would you naturally gravitate toward the one with less of this?

    Maybe the chief is a bit of a masochist, or likes the extra challenge… but my impression of him is that he just does the job he has to do. In Davis it would be a bigger job for less pay in comparison to many other cities.

    Study after study have proved that pay levels, if not grossly inadequate, are further down the list of motivating factors for employee retention. Certainly Fairfield may be a more prestigious job because it is a larger force, so it makes sense that a capable leader like Chief Black might be motivated by this as a step up in his career. My suspicion is that pay levels combined with the challenge of the Davis job make the Fairfield gig more attractive. If we want to retain talent like Chief Black in Davis, we may need to pay a premium to compensate for the hassle of higher citizen activism.

  15. biddlin

    Indeed, the Superintendent is the exception and should be noted. Unfortunately very few folks are that farsighted or so egalitarian.

  16. Don Shor

    Davis can’t compete with Fairfield on this, plain and simple. Moreover, municipalities are going to go broke one by one as long as the current paradigm for salaries and benefits persists. Since there is little will for a collective solution to it (such as all governments essentially agreeing to cuts across the board), it’s just a matter of which cities will follow Vallejo’s lead first.
    It doesn’t make much difference whether we like this chief or not. That probably isn’t the primary consideration in contract negotiations, and I doubt if public acclaim is going to ultimately affect Chief Landy’s decision. Davis will continue to be a stepping stone to larger cities for talented public employees at the management level.

  17. Frankly

    Davis will continue to be a stepping stone to larger cities for talented public employees at the management level.

    That might be. Though, personally, I earn a lower salary than I could doing the same work in a larger city, but I choose to keep my current job in Davis. The value proposition for a job exceeds just the level of pay. That is a point worth considering for a talent retention strategy.

  18. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]I don’t see how this is an either/ or issue.[/i]

    It very clearly is an either/or issue. If Landy Black gets an offer from Fairfield, then we [b]either[/b] offer him a retention package, [b]or[/b] we don’t. If you want him to take a 10% pay cut, given that he is one of the department heads, you’re choosing door #2. It’s that simple.

    Again, unlike some in this discussion, I have no opinion about what Landy Black “deserves” or “ideally merits”, nor any other such argument based on social justice. All I’m saying is that if you want to buy labor, you have to read the price tag.

    [i]In the real world, we need our leaders, and in city government that’s Emlen and the department heads to show an example by taking one for the team.[/i]

    On top of everything else, it’s a hypocritical request. Because, (1) Hammond is paid more than any city employee, (2) to manage a smaller budget, (3) which faces bigger cuts than the city, and yet (4) you didn’t ask him for a 10% pay cut.

  19. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]And do what exactly? Just curious as to what your proposed solution is…[/i]

    For instance, 3% at 50 was created by a state law. This law created a tremendous amount of market pressure to offer this benefit, because it was in effect subsidized by CalPERS.

  20. biddlin

    Greg Kuperberg- The 3%@50 formula was “sold” to the state and the people based on the erroneous assumption that police and fire personnel were at great risk of death and injury on the job. They are not of course, not even in the top ten, but the emotional appeal is compelling to the public. As I’ve noted before, the formula for many other public retirees is 2%@55. I guess we needed better press agents.

  21. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]The 3%@50 formula was “sold” to the state and the people based on the erroneous assumption that police and fire personnel were at great risk of death and injury on the job.[/i]

    That was one of the arguments at the time, although by no means the only one. It could not have been the whole story, because 2.5% at 55 is also a fairly generous benefit that was ushered in in the same period. The point is, whatever arguments they made or didn’t make, the state government changed the job market for public workers. It wasn’t something that Davis or other cities could easily control.

  22. E Roberts Musser

    GK: “That was one of the arguments at the time, although by no means the only one. It could not have been the whole story, because 2.5% at 55 is also a fairly generous benefit that was ushered in in the same period. The point is, whatever arguments they made or didn’t make, the state government changed the job market for public workers. It wasn’t something that Davis or other cities could easily control.”

    This business of 3% at 50 and 2.5% at 55 seems overly generous to me. Does anyone know if this is a CA phenomenon, or is this something that has happened across the nation? The sense I have is this has happened across the nation. If so, perhaps it is a sign that unions have gotten too big (for their britches)?

  23. Rich Rifkin

    GK: [i]”If you don’t pay managers as much as other jurisdictions pay them, they walk.”[/i]

    Some will. Some won’t. It depends on how financially ambitious the individuals are; how tied into Davis they are with their children and spouse and friends; and what possible negatives come with a new, higher paying job.

    DS: [i]”Davis can’t compete with Fairfield on this, plain and simple.”[/i]

    Don is of course right.

    Greg seems to be sayin, “we need to raise our rates of pay to keep up with Fairfield.” But Fairfield is a larger city with a much larger tax base. Fairfield and other larger cities react when smaller, poorer cities like Davis like Davis pay Fairfield wages. They step up how much they pay, and both larger and smaller municipalities are worse off, if they end up paying out unsustainable increases, the way almost all cities in California did from 1996-2008.

    What I think the City of Davis is doing wrong with regard to its department heads is that they are all treated equally, regardless of performance or market conditions. The Assistant City Manager, Community Development Director, Finance Director, Fire Chief, Parks & Community Services Director, Police Chief, and Public Works Director all make the exact same salary with the same benefits*.

    While we can never keep up with larger cities like Fairfield or Sacramento, we ought to be using our limited resources as wisely as possible to try to retain our best people as long as possible, especially if some are leaving for greener pastures. If that means paying a great Police Chief more than a Parks Director (who might be more easily replaced and whose duties may be less crucial), I think we ought to do that.

    *The Police Chief and Fire Chief get a better pension benefit if they are on the 3% @ 50 retirment plan (and notably pay an employee contribution the others do not). That is what Rose Conroy was on. So when she retired in November after 30 years with the DFD, her pension started at $10,064.20 a month. If she had been on the same PERS formula as the others, she would have started at $1,677.37 per month less. I don’t know if Chief Black is on the 3% @ 50 plan. He would not have had that nice a pension in Washington state.

    [i]”This business of 3% at 50 and 2.5% at 55 seems overly generous to me. Does anyone know if this is a CA phenomenon, or is this something that has happened across the nation?”[/i]

    It is not exclusive to California. However, it is uncommon. I surveyed all the state plans and the most common are close to what we used to have: 2% @ 60 for non-safety; and 2.5% @ 55 for cops and fire. Many states have lower amounts than those.

  24. biddlin

    Sorry GK and ERM, I know it just doesn’t seem right, us poor ignorant servants having a decent retirement, but we get hungry and cold just like everyone else. By the way, nobody held a gun to anyone’s head. The mou’s are agreed to by both sides. When the job was offered, I didn’t get to negotiate the compensation and benefits. I lived up to my part of the bargain. I expect the employer to do the same.

  25. David M. Greenwald

    I think the question biddlin is what constitutes a decent retirement. Is a decent retirement $27,000 like the average state worker gets or is the $80,000 or more that the typical firefighter in this town will get?

  26. Rich Rifkin

    Elaine, if you go to this link ([url]http://www.leoff.wa.gov/board/documents/AgendaItem5-2PercentMultiplier-InitialConsideration.pdf[/url]) and go to pages 5 and 6 of 6, it shows the pension formulas for every state (as of 2005, when this document was published).

    You will notice that Washington State, where Chief Black worked before coming to Davis, his pension formula (for all police and fire, there) was 2% x years of service x average of last 5 years working. By coming to Davis, even if his salary had held constant, he greatly increased the value of his pension. (Note: Keep in mind that Black cannot count his Washington years of service for his CalPERS benefit.)

  27. Sue Greenwald

    Greg Kuperberg: Just a point of information. From what I saw — being involved at the time — is that the labor demand for 2.5% at 55 for non-public safety workers came after 3% at 50 for public safety was instituted, and was a direct consequence of 3% at 50.

  28. Greg Kuperberg

    David: [i]But the example I’ll point to is the Superintendent and his staff taking pay cuts in advance of asking the teachers to do so.[/i]

    It would count for something, but only if you actually did point to it. You asked Emlen to take a 10% pay cut. Did Hammond, who as far as I can tell is paid more, take a 10% pay cut or not? Did he take a pay cut this year and last year, or last year only?

    Don: [i]Davis can’t compete with Fairfield on this, plain and simple.[/i]

    That’s nonsense. Maybe Davis doesn’t want to compete with Fairfield and maybe it shouldn’t compete with Fairfield, but it’s not true that it can’t.

    [i]Moreover, municipalities are going to go broke one by one as long as the current paradigm for salaries and benefits persists.[/i]

    I don’t see that the simple fact of a somewhat free market for managers has to drive anyone other than fools into bankruptcy. Yes, to save money we might prefer to let Landy Black go if he gets an offer, just congratulate him and get someone cheaper. It isn’t reasonable to then also declare a crisis for losing him as David is doing. If you don’t want to pay managers competitively, you have to be prepared for this sort of outcome.

    Rich: [i]Greg seems to be saying, “we need to raise our rates of pay to keep up with Fairfield.”[/i]

    If Landy Black gets an offer and you want to keep him, then yes, that’s what you would have to do. I personally wouldn’t be upset either way.

    But again, David made an important point that seems to have washed out of the conversation. A good manager at the top saves money in the rest of the food chain. My impression is that Linda Katehi and John Meyer are each worth 10 times their salary, if not 50 times.

    [i]It depends on how financially ambitious the individuals are[/i]

    Well, we can really save a lot of money if we suppose that city employees are all ostriches when it comes to their salaries.

    biddlin: [i]Sorry GK and ERM, I know it just doesn’t seem right, us poor ignorant servants having a decent retirement, but we get hungry and cold just like everyone else.[/i]

    You’re getting me wrong here. I’m a public employee too (although not a city employee). I have nothing against your pension, necessarily. All that I’ll say that I don’t argue any of this on the basis of sympathy or resentment. You should be paid your market value, and so should I.

  29. Andrew T.

    One small, but important, point that is forgotten when comparing public pension systems is the COLA factor. Most California agencies contract with CalPERS at the 2% COLA cap, which usually falls below the long-term, average annual cost of living increase of around 2.9% in this part of the country. (It is my understanding that cities and other public agencies have the option of contracting with CalPERS for pension COLA’s as high as 5%, but off-hand, I don’t know of any that do. In fact, I’ve only heard of 2% being used, but there must be some city somewhere that went higher.)

    Some other states’ pension systems, including Washington State’s, provide a pension COLA factor of 3%. Factored out to normal life-spans, the net present value (NPV) of a Washington pension with that 3% COLA factor surpasses the NPV of a California pension with a 2% COLA factor.

  30. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]That’s the point you missed Greg, I never needed to ask him, he offered before I even got the chance.[/i]

    Okay, since he “offered”, exactly what pay cut is he taking this year?

  31. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”Most California agencies contract with CalPERS at the 2% COLA cap, which usually falls below the long-term, average annual cost of living increase of [b]around 2.9%[/b] in this part of the country.”[/i]

    The correct number is actually 3.07%. That comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for our region.

    [i]”Some other states’ pension systems, including Washington State’s, provide a pension COLA factor of 3%.”[/i]

    Washington does not have a 3% COLA. They don’t have a fixed inflator of any sort. ([url]http://www.leoff1.net/articles/91/1/2010-LEOFF-1-COLA/Page1.html[/url]) They do make an inflation adjustment, but they base that on the funds available. This year, the inflator in Washington is 0.44%.

  32. Rich Rifkin

    GK: [i]”David made an important point that seems to have washed out of the conversation. A good manager at the top saves money in the rest of the food chain.”[/i]

    It is not necessarily consequential that if you increase the rate of pay for your managers, you will get better people. In real dollars, Hyde and Black made the same money in Davis. Hyde is (I believe) making more now in Antioch.

    DG: [i]”… the last three years under Chief Hyde, the city’s risk management insurance pool, YCPARMIA, paid out over $1.4 million in claims from anything ranging from use of force complaints to $400,000 for a collision involving a police car. In the three years under Chief Black that number is $90,000.”[/i]

    As I understand the system — David told me a few days ago he is looking into this — Davis saves nothing by having fewer payouts from its JPA. I asked him to check also to see if our rates increase following lost lawsuits and so on.

  33. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”Hyde is (I believe) making more now in Antioch.”[/i]

    I was right. Black makes $144,000 + benefits. Hyde makes $165,876 + benefits.

  34. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]It is not necessarily consequential that if you increase the rate of pay for your managers, you will get better people.[/i]

    Today’s post addresses the question in this correct order: You should identify people who you think are good, for instance David thinks that Landy Black is good. Then you should consider how much they cost. There may well be some terrible candidates out there who are expensive. But that does not mean that you can find good candidates who are cheap.

    I actually don’t know whether Hyde was a good or bad police chief. Or maybe he’s a good fit for Antioch and not for Davis. Hyde is not the point. The point right now is Landy Black, who David likes as police chief but who might get an offer from Antioch. This has led to an uncharacteristic awareness of the need to pay people well enough to keep them.

    By the way, according to posted school reports, Hammond makes $201K, presumably plus benefits. I have nothing against his salary either, necessarily. However, David has often said that managers should show leadership by taking pay cuts, but he hasn’t said what pay cut Hammond is taking for the next year. He wants Emlen to take a 10% pay cut, so what about Hammond?

  35. Rich Rifkin

    One note on comparing school district salaries with city salaries: the benefits package, the retiree health care, and by a LONG LONG SHOT the pension plan are much more lucrative for the city employees. Emlen’s pension contribution, for example, is now about $32,000 a year on top of his salary. That is not to say he makes more than Hammond or that he should not make more than Hammond. The district has second bananas who are making more than Emlen. And the district is much less challenging to run than the City of Davis is.

  36. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]And the district is much less challenging to run than the City of Davis is.[/i]

    I agree. To begin with, no one on the school board is trying to work against Hammond.

  37. preston

    Rifkin “What I think the City of Davis is doing wrong with regard to its department heads is that they are all treated equally, regardless of performance or market conditions. The Assistant City Manager, Community Development Director, Finance Director, Fire Chief, Parks & Community Services Director, Police Chief, and Public Works Director all make the exact same salary with the same benefits*.”

    Simply not true., They all make way too much, but not “the exact same salary.” Police and Fire Chiefs make about 11,000 more than Public Works and Parks Directors. Couldn’t find Finance Dir.

    http://agency.governmentjobs.com/davis/default.cfm?action=agencyspecs

  38. preston

    Sue Greenwald – “Greg Kuperberg: Just a point of information. From what I saw — being involved at the time — is that the labor demand for 2.5% at 55 for non-public safety workers came after 3% at 50 for public safety was instituted, and was a direct consequence of 3% at 50.”

    You say that the non-public safety employees demanded 2.5%. IF they demanded it why would they agree to pay for the entire cost, while giving up thier cost of living increases. I think they may have requested this benefit, not demanded it. Here is the portion of DCEA’s MOU covering the increase.

    The ASSOCIATION agrees to fund the entire cost of adding 2.5% @ 55 PERS retirement benefit. This includes the approximately 2.4% for the employer share contribution, the 1% additional employee share contribution, as well as a 1% premium. These costs will be paid by foregoing this Agreement’s future cost of living adjustments (COLAs) as follows:
    1. Effective June 18, 2007 the ASSOCIATION agrees to forego 4.4% (or the actual cost of the enhanced employee/employer retirement cost plus the balance of the 1% premium) of the agreed upon cost of living and/or market increases. (If the enhanced retirement benefit is not going to take effect July 1, 2007, the Association will not forego this COLA.)
    2. Upon implementation of the 2.5% @ 55 enhanced retirement, if the employer’s contribution increases beyond the approximately 2.4% above, the ASSOCIATION agrees to cover any additional cost of the PERS employer contribution rate, up to an additional 3%, through the life of this contract. The Association will fund this by foregoing all or a portion of the COLA provided in this Agreement for the 2008-2009 fiscal year.
    21
    The intent of the City Council is to have employees share in the risk associated with the long term costs of adding the enhanced retirement benefit.
    c. The CITY agrees to implement Government Code Section 20636(c) (4) pursuant to Section 20691, Employer Paid Member Contribution. The CITY agrees to report the 7% (8% effective July 1, 2007, as described above) employer paid employee PERS contribution as additional compensation to PERS. The resolution to implement would go to City Council no later than June 13, 2006 and will be implemented the following pay period after it is approved by CalPERS.

  39. Andrew T.

    preston – “Police and Fire Chiefs make about 11,000 more than Public Works and Parks Directors.”

    Incorrect. All department heads except the Assistant City Manager (former Finance Director) are on the same salary scale. The difference is that the Police and Fire Chiefs pay their 9% pension contributions out of their salaries while the non-safety Directors’ 8% pension contributions are paid by the City on top of their salaries.

    For instance, the top pay step for the Parks and General Services Director is $11,048.32 per month. In actuality, that is what the Police and Fire Chiefs make, but then the 9% PERS payment of $994.34 is added to that to show salary of $12,042.66 before the $994.34 is deducted back out. [To make a long story short, that’s the difference between Employer Paid Member Contribution (EPMC)–for non-safety employees–and IRS section 414(h)(2)–for safety employees.]

    The net effect, as you can now see, is that all department heads are on exactly the same pay scale–$11,048.32 top step per month once PERS payments are made.

  40. Sue Greenwald

    [quote]Some other states’ pension systems, including Washington State’s, provide a pension COLA factor of 3%. Factored out to normal life-spans, the net present value (NPV) of a Washington pension with that 3% COLA factor surpasses the NPV of a California pension with a 2% COLA factor — Andrew T.[/quote]I have actually brought this point up myself many times. When employees push for unsustainable pension packages, we end up killing the goose that lays the golden egg. Our pensions are not fully inflation adjusted, and when push comes to shove, the country will inflate its way out of the pension obligations.

  41. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”Our pensions are not fully inflation adjusted, and when push comes to shove, the country will inflate its way out of the pension obligations.”[/i]

    I will restate this in case you missed it–his claim about Washington state having an annual 3% COLA is entirely false. This year’s COLA for Washington retirees is 0.44%. This year’s COLA for those with a normal CalPERS pension is 2.0%.

    I have looked over the state pension COLAs for all states and have discovered there tend to be two types. (CalPERS’s 2% fixed inflator is unique.) Many states have no COLA at all built into their pensions. However, they will increase the pension amounts periodically, based on a legislative vote. That is how it works in Pennsylvania ([url]http://senatorbrowne.com/finance/2010/012710/mayer.pdf[/url]), for example. Other states will inflate their pensions in line with what the Social Security inflator is every year. This year, there was no increase in SS or federal pensions ([url]http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=214321,00.html[/url]).

    If we were to adopt the federal COLA system, which may (over the long term) inflate faster than the CalPERS pensions inflate, we would have to cut back the starting pension amounts by about one-third across the board at today’s pension contribution rates.

    What is shocking when you compare the California pensions with other states is the employer contribution amounts. For the 3% @ 50 plans, they are approximately 28% of salary (plus the 9% kicked in by the employees). That’s what it takes to fund our pensions–and that might be insufficient, as rates are going up. By contrast, the employer contribution in Washington state (for cops and fire) is 3.06% of salary. That is a huge difference, and it is a large part of the reason why government in our state is broken, and most other states are much better off.

  42. E Roberts Musser

    I’m going to posit an idea here, to see what reaction I get, bc I really don’t know the answer. Is part of the problem of rentention of city staffers like the Police Chief a result of hiring folks from outside the city/state, and not from Davis. These people have no roots in Davis, no ties to Davis, no stake in Davis, and so move on as soon as they get a better offer. Wouldn’t it be better to try and find well qualified people from the Davis community itself?

    Obviously that may not always be possible – I get that well enough qualified people for the job from Davis just may not be available. But for instance, in the case of the Davis Police Dept., would it be better to try and promote a good candidate from within the DPD, than hunt for someone from the outside who will leave as soon as s/he gets a better offer? Just a thought.

    Because what I see is decisions often made by city staff that appears to not necessarily be in the best interest of Davis, bc the people making the decisions don’t live in Davis – in regard to salaries in particular. If you don’t live in Davis, as a city staffer, what do you care if there is a cut in city services, just so long as you get fat salary/pension/health benefits? The service cuts won’t effect you. This is NOT a criticism of city staff per se – many (probably most) do the very best they can for the city, and are extremely conscientious. But when it comes to city staff salaries, there is a built in conflict of interest for those who do not live in Davis.

    Also, and this will probably be seen as sacrilege, but perhaps we need to set our sites a little lower, as to the “quality” we are seeking. Isn’t it possible that someone within the DPD, for instance, is qualified enough to be Police Chief, would do a good job, but may not have all the fancy credentials that other candidates from outside Davis have? Landy Black has done a wonderful job – but will bolt at the first opportunity for advancement/salary increase he gets, and understandably so.

    If Landy Black is clearly looking for “advancement” in his career beyond salary, even if we dodge the bullet this time, and there was even talk of Hammond possibly leaving for greener pastures at one time, isn’t it clear the city just becomes a revolving door for career advancement no matter how much the city pays? Why not promote from within if we can?

    Pros and cons from readers of the blog on this?

  43. biddlin

    ERM-The current thinking, in public service at least, is that hiring from within promotes cronyism. I agree about the value of municipal workers having “roots” in the community.

  44. Sue Greenwald

    No, I didn’t miss you point, Rich Rifkin. You made very interesting points. I was just bringing up a slightly different point, which is that our pensions are not tied to the inflation rate, so if inflation greatly exceeds historical averages, our pensions would be decimated even if start out at a very high level.

  45. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”Is part of the problem of rentention of city staffers like the Police Chief a result of hiring folks from outside the city/state, and not from Davis.”[/i]

    Elaine, I think you’re assumptions are correct. I also think there are plenty of talented people who work for the city and could be promoted to the head positions.

    One risk doing that, though, is that the person promoted, who has strong friendships with other city employees, ends up less of a “manager” and more of an advocate for his friends. Bill Emlen, who was promoted from inside, has been accused of this.

    I think that was also part of the problem — brought out in the Grand Jury investigation — with the DFD under Rose Conroy. She started her career in 1979 in Davis as a rookie firefighter. She worked her way up the chain of command for 15 years and was a qualified candidate for fire chief when she was promoted to the top job in 1994. My perception of her leadership style was to advocate for the best interests of the fire union, all of which was made up of her subordinates. Never mind if at times those interests were contrary to the city’s best financial interests or even in violation of other city policies (such as not allowing drunk, off-duty firefighters to crash at the downtown station*.)

    While ultimately the difference in leadership style may be just unique to the personalities of those promoted, it is my understanding that, since the Grand Jury report, there is a strong push to not promote from within for department heads.

    *I should add, I don’t think it is really a bad idea to let drunk, off-duty firefighters to sleep off their intoxication. To the best of my knowledge, their presence at the fire house never interfered with the on-duty activities.

  46. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”… if inflation greatly exceeds historical averages, our pensions would be decimated even if start out at a very high level.”[/i]

    All the CalPERS pensioner has to do to off-set that is to place a very small amount of his money in an interest bearing account (which pays in interest no more than the rate of inflation). Take the woman who just retired from the City of Davis whose pension started at $10,064.20 a month. If she sets aside 1.4607% of her monthly pension ($147.01/month) and earns 3% interest on that money, she will have no inflation loss. If she puts that money in an account which earns 4% interest, she would only have to set aside $145.53/month (1.446%) to start. That is quite easy with the high pensions we are paying for.

  47. E Roberts Musser

    RR: “Elaine, I think you’re assumptions are correct. I also think there are plenty of talented people who work for the city and could be promoted to the head positions.

    One risk doing that, though, is that the person promoted, who has strong friendships with other city employees, ends up less of a “manager” and more of an advocate for his friends. Bill Emlen, who was promoted from inside, has been accused of this.”

    Seems like the city is da_ned if it does, da_ned if it doesn’t. If the city promotes by searching for candidates outside the system, its set up a revolving door for talented people to go elsewhere once they get a better offer, bc outsiders have no ties to the community that will keep them here if offered career advancement. On the other hand, if the city promotes from within, cronyism rears its ugly head.

    But what if the city had fairly rigid rules in place, to get around cronyism. For instance, when contract negotiations are up for reconsideration, hire outside negotiators to end any possibility of inherent conflict of interest. Same goes for promotions within the firefighter heirarchy. Weren’t some changes proposed that would have gone a long way to end the perceived cronyism there?

  48. Mind_hunter53

    The police chief position is that of a civil servant. If he likes the job and compensation, he will stay; if not, he will move on. If we adjust his compensation because we like his work, there will be no end to the demands of other employees who will similarly posture about offers from other potential employers.

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