News - April 27, 2011

Menlo Briefs: City's dilemma: how to replace Rojas

by Sandy Brundage

When City Manager Glen Rojas announced his intention to retire in July, Menlo Park faced a dilemma.

Voters passed Measure L, a pension reform initiative, in November, but the changes won't take effect for at least another six months, until the contract with a union representing city employees expires in October. If the city hires a new manager from outside Menlo Park before the measure takes effect, that hire would fall under the current pension policy with higher benefits.

The council will consider its options during its regular meeting on Tuesday, April 26. Mr. Rojas offered to stay on for another six months under a contract that would pay the same $18,369 monthly salary he makes now, but saves the city an estimated $4,700 per month in benefit costs, according to the staff report. He would also earn no vacation or sick leave hours.

Personnel director Glen Kramer confirmed that Mr. Rojas would receive both his pension and a monthly salary — as does Mr. Kramer, who retired Dec. 29 before returning as a contractor on Jan. 3 and who makes $68.40 per hour on top of his $10,877 monthly pension. Retired employees are limited by CalPERS to working 960 hours per year as contractors.

Other options include selecting a manager from within the city ranks, which would save the most money, based on the staff report, or recruiting from outside Menlo Park.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in council chambers at the Civic Center, 701 Laurel St. in Menlo Park

Go fly a kite

Bedwell Bayfront Park hosts its annual Kite Day this Sunday, May 1. Bring a kite or buy one at the park, where volunteers will be on hand to help assemble the kits.

The kites take to the sky from 12 to 3 p.m. The park sits at the intersection of Bayfront Expressway and Marsh Road, east of U.S. 101.

Elder financial abuse case goes to trial

A Menlo Park woman charged with using an 81-year-old relative's credit card to rack up $13,000 in bills, which she then allegedly intercepted to cover up the theft, went to trial on Monday, April 25.

Mary Patricia Stuart, 52, is out of custody on $15,000 bond, according to the San Mateo County district attorney's office. Prosecutors expect the trial to last five days.

While out on bail, Ms. Stuart was arrested along with her brother Eric in Palo Alto on Aug. 29 for allegedly assaulting and robbing an employee at Hotel California. The brother and sister were known to the 45-year-old worker, and had an ongoing dispute regarding financial matters, according to Palo Alto police. The Stuarts reportedly forced their way past a door secured with a safety chain, then swiped a cell phone and keys.


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