You are on page 1of 2

A T H E RT O N S L A ME D U C K C O U N C I L TAKES REVENGE

On November 28, 2012, the Widmer McKeithen Dobbie Council will meet for their final time as majority. Its lame duck Council. They should be meeting to recognize their achievements. Instead, the Council will use the meeting to implement policy based on their disconnected views. Widmer, Dobbie, and McKeithen will use their last majority vote to exact revenge for their political loss upon Athertons residents and its employees. At this next Council Meeting, Widmer, Dobbie, and McKeithen will consider resolution that fundamentally changes the way it compensates Town workers. The resolution will also shut down non-essential services for week. The voters know Widmer, Dobbie, and McKeithen have been passionate about their causes. They wanted to build at 13,000 square foot library in Holbrook Palmer Park. They resisted attempts by residents to stop the project. At the election, nearly 70% of the voters rejected their plans. Voters also elected an outsider, Cary Wiest, who promised change in the Councils direction. Yet, the lame duck majority was apparently not persuaded. They continue to believe their principled views on other issues reflect those of the community. This new compensation resolution is yet another example of the lame duck majoritys arrogant perception of their elected authority, despite having been recently checked in the election. Similar to their library plans, Widmer, Dobbie, and McKeithen have dogmatic views regarding Californias fiscal problems. They championed Joe Nation, an advocate for government reform, and had him speak at Holbrook Palmer Park. This lame duck majority has declared publicly their disdain for Government workers who they perceive as overly compensated. Though Atherton contributes miniscule percentage to the States problem, these three plan on correcting the larger problem on the backs of their residents and employees. To be sure, Athertons compensation and benefit costs have increased tremendously in the past decade. Atherton has kept pace with the surrounding communities competing for government workers. There is now trend among local governments to dial back this spending and shift the benefit burden to their employees. Its problem created over period of years that the Atherton Council seeks to correct in matter of months. Their drastic changes will harm Atherton, not only through the loss of employees, but also through their inability to hire replacements. They will be uncompetitive in the market. Atherton residents will suffer from the Towns inability to deliver services for lack of employees to perform the work.

More bothersome, perhaps, is the vengeful nature of this last minute resolution. The Mayor will even attend by telephone to ensure sufficient votes. That this Council would rush to implement furlough that shuts down Government for week certainly appears to be punishment for the voters not approving the library and their preferred candidate(s). Though the Atherton Police Officers Association (APOA) caused the political disruption, the Council will take its revenge upon Police Departments Chief, Lieutenant, and Training Manager. Its as if they want to send message and quash further political activities. The Towns fiscal problems dont rise to the level of fiscal emergency. The Council would not be able to declare one based on the funds they have in the General Fund or many of their other reserved accounts. They fired many of the other Government workers last year, pocketing great deal in savings. They have also benefited from growth in their tax base. The severe policies in this resolution simply cant be explained by fiscal issues alone. The Council majority of Widmer, McKeithen, and Dobbie will use their final session to enact vengeful policy that aligns with their personal views, but not necessarily with those who elected them into office. Their plans will cause significant disruption to Town services. The resolution will drive up employee replacement costs, offsetting whatever savings they might achieve. This lame duck majority should heed to the will of the voters and allow this resolution to be considered after the Councils newest elected representative is seated.