In a press release issued this morning, the San Carlos Police Officers Association gave a resounding thumbs-down to the proposal that was submitted by the City Manager of San Carlos that recommends outsourcing the police service in San Carlos to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. The San Carlos POA has thoroughly reviewed the proposal that was submitted by the Sheriff’s Department before issuing this press release. To download a copy of this release, click here: San Carlos POA Press Release, or see the full content of the press release at the bottom of this post.
A Refreshing Perspective.
Now, before everyone jumps on the POA’s position as being self-serving, it’s important to note that these officers are turning down a significant raise in pay and possibly upward career mobility that working for the Sheriff’s Department would provide. When was the last time you saw a professional athlete turn down more pay and more opportunity to stay with their current team? Hmmm.
Here’s the press release in its entirety
********FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE********
From San Carlos Police Officers Association
March 19, 2010
San Carlos Police Officers Association Denounces Proposed “Outsourcing” Deal With San Mateo County Sheriff
At the request of San Carlos City Manager Mark Weiss, the San Mateo County Sheriff has submitted a proposal to take over policing services in San Carlos. It is posted on the City of San Carlos website. As you read into it, you can see they are proposing to save the city 3.5 million dollars by cutting the police services by almost half. The proposal assigns a total of 14 deputies to the City of San Carlos to replace the current 30 officers San Carlos now uses to police the city. At the same time the Sheriff claims that police services will not be reduced. How can anyone even believe that for a minute?
The bottom line upfront is one of the highest paid city management teams in San Mateo County has failed to do their jobs and now they want a do over, at the expense of the citizens and the dedicated employees of the San Carlos Police Department.
The San Carlos Police Department has endured budget cuts over the last 10 years that has brought it to its current staffing level of 30, down from 38. San Carlos Police Chief Greg Rothaus was recently asked to propose 10% and 20% cuts for the upcoming budget. The Chief proposed these cuts but also stated that reducing the level of staffing below 25 officers becomes “draconian” and the department could not function. With the current staffing of 30 personnel, the San Carlos Police Department has 1.1 officers per capita, less than half of the national average of 2.4. In a recent report to the city Council “The Dashboard”, Chief Rothaus compared San Carlos against four benchmark cities of comparable size; Belmont, Foster City, Burlingame and Los Gatos. The report, available at the San Carlos Police website, showed that San Carlos Police, although lower in officers per capita and budget then the benchmark cities, outperformed them in property crime clearance rates, burglary clearance rates, and violent crime clearance rates.
Under the Sheriff’s proposal, they will provide only 12 deputies for patrol, 1 traffic unit and 1 Detective for the entire city. This is compared with San Carlos’s current manning of five Sergeants, three Detectives, one Motorcycle Unit (full time), one Motorcycle Unit (part time), fourteen officers assigned to Patrol, two K-9 Officers assigned to Patrol, two Police Service Techs, three Community Service Officers all assigned to Patrol and two Police Service Techs assigned to Detectives.
Knowing what we now know, many things become clear. The problem is not the police department’s budget or their performance. Their budget is clearly lower than their counterparts per capita and they still outperform. They have proven they can do more with less. The problem is not the employees of the police department because despite being the lowest paid in the county, the still outperform. The problem is at the top.
The San Carlos City Management team, has failed to bring the budget challenges of the City of San Carlos under control. They have failed to do their job. How is it that other cities are able to deal with the current recession but San Carlos has not? That is because of leadership.
The City Manager has now concocted this outsourcing of public safety idea so in his own words, “San Carlos can hit the reset button.” To make it more palatable, he has told the city council and citizens that the only alternative is to make dramatic cuts to parks and other services, which is the part of the city they interact with most. He is using his own version of “fear” to push his outsourcing idea and hit the reset button. For all this, he is one of the highest paid city managers in San Mateo County. Maybe we should look at outsourcing his job?
Ken Castle, a San Carlos resident, recently submitted a proposal of outsourcing other city services that has been done by several cities successfully, as well as ideas on how to keep parks open. These were not given the time of day because it would have caused somebody to do some work. Instead they have someone call the Sheriff’s office and ask them to submit a proposal. No work involved except a fancy smoke and mirrors PowerPoint presentation for the city council that showed San Carlos is doomed if they do not follow the City Manager’s advice.
The citizens of San Carlos need to slow down the process so that ALL viable options should be looked at in depth, nothing from the City Manager’s office should be taken at face value. City Manager Weiss and Mayor Randy Royce seem to be in such a big hurry to outsource public safety; that it better make people sit up and wonder why.
Take the most economical and productive department in the city, in comparison to their counterparts, and outsource it to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s office. Seems like the city manager’s office is trying to take the easy way out and get that do over.
If City Manager Mark Weiss truly cared about the safety and welfare of the citizens in San Carlos he would be asking “What are the property crime clearance rates, burglary clearance rates and violent crime clearance rates of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s office?”
According to San Carlos Councilman Andy Klein, the outsourcing of police services will never take place because he places three conditions on it; the level of service must be equal to or greater than our current level of service at a lower cost, we must have an iron clad, transparent agreement that does not come back to haunt us as the years go by and whichever agency we retain must be willing to engage our citizens and be willing to be flexible enough to meet our ever changing needs.
Just the fact that the level of service must be greater or equal has not yet even been looked into. Just on face value anyone can see that 14 deputies are not going to do the same job as 30 police officers, it is not going to happen. In regards to an ironclad agreement that is transparent, that also needs to be drilled down into. On the cover letter from Undersheriff Carlos Bolanos to San Carlos Administrative Services Director Jeff Maltbie, Bolanos states “Our contract includes cost of living adjustments, which cap any possible increases at 6%.” Possible increases? That means this agreement can go up by 18% over three years? I am not sure but it this what Councilman Klein is referring to when he says transparent? What happens when the first contract year is up, the City of San Carlos no longer has a police department and is dependent on the Sheriff’s office and the Sheriff decides to increase the agreement by 2 million dollars to try and close their budget gap?
Citizens need to hold the city accountable and ask the right questions. Please join the hardworking police officers and firefighters of San Carlos at the City Council meeting on Monday March 22, 2010 and hold the city leadership and city council accountable. The meeting will take place at the City Council chambers at 600 Elm Street in San Carlos at 6:00pm.
Point of Contacts for this Press Release:
San Carlos Police Officers Association President Gil Granado (510) 377-8062
San Carlos Police Officers Association Vice President Suzanne Sheppard (408) 857-1519
********FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE********
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