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Atherton deputy clerk named interim manager

Original post made on Jan 28, 2012

Deputy City Clerk Theresa DellaSanta is now Atherton's interim city manager. Former manager John Danielson will continue working for the town as a consultant at $12,000 a month ($2,000 less per month than the town appeared poised to pay him just a day before his contract was signed).

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 27, 2012, 4:02 PM

Comments (18)

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Posted by Robert
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 28, 2012 at 11:53 am

"The town faced an urgent situation with CalPERS' decision not to exempt Mr. Danielson"
Because this was a big surprise????
Really...
OK, the Town has known PERS rules as do those of us who work under PERS; yet they make it seem like they were totally caught off guard
So, I go back to - he has 3 options....One of which he selected...
1. He can work 960 hours (aka 6 months) per year
2. He can bridge his time and become 'active' again and they count all of his time and hours
3. He can work in the private sector with NO restriction
So it seems those who are so outspoken on some subjects seem to vanish on those they know oh too well
Peter - we wait your response.
Oh, and to answer your other question why not post the full name (as of course you asserted incorrectly the other newspapers make you do) well as one of those on "a" City dime, I am sure you would argue we should be for for speaking out... Assumption of course - but I ask you make sense of this with a reasonable financial responsibility too Atherton


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 28, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Peter - we wait your response."

Why ? - I am not on the council and made none of these decisions - which, however, I do approve.


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Posted by FAIL
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Jan 29, 2012 at 7:19 am

The Council thought they had CALPERS in their pocket. They got caught short. No planning.

Danielson resigned retroactively. Let's hope he didn't sign anything after the 19th!

The Council approved a contract they had never looked at. The attorney read it from his phone. Did the public get it in advance?

Lewis has it right. The Town needs to get a City Manager from the list of hired guns they used the last time they had a management decapitation. Wasn't that just last year?

FAIL


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Posted by doesnt matter
a resident of another community
on Jan 30, 2012 at 1:41 pm

The Town needed a Manager urgently under the circumstances. There was no need to act urgently re Mr Danielson except apparently for his sake to accept his retroactive letter of resignation. A consultant contract did not need to be approved under such awkward circumstances at this special Council meeting. The need to have BOTH in place at the same time should raise the specter of a sham in somebody's (CalPERS?) eyes.


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Posted by interested
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jan 31, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Just wondering what are the qualifications for Ms DellaSanta to assume the position of Interim City Manager.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 31, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

First - all five members of the council and the outgoing interim manager agreed that she was qualified - an historic concurrence by these six people.

Second - she has hands on experience, a year's mentoring by Danielson, support by the Police Chief and Town Attorney.

Third, having worked with her, I am very impressed with both her skills and work ethic. There are not many local government employees who are still at their desks and answering emails at 9 PM - as she does routinely.


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Posted by Kimberly Sweidy
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Jan 31, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Kimberly Sweidy is a registered user.

Many people believe that reality can be controlled by voting. Unanimous votes are particularly mesmerizing to those people. Votes are opinions. In actuality, opinions are not facts. Ms. DellaSanta does not possess the necessary education, experience, skills or expertise to perform the job of Interim City Manager (as described by the Town of Atherton --- see second link below). She may be qualified to perform the job of clerk (I am not addressing that issue).

The following links yielded the below information.

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Name: Theresa Nichole DellaSanta (nee Hayes)
Age: 30

Education:
- 1999: Graduated high school from Terra Nova High in Pacifica, CA
- January 2012: Completed requirements for a B.S. in Public Administration from the University of Phoenix
- Fall 2012: Will begin a Masters program at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, CA.

Work History:
- August 16, 2006, to March of 2009: Deputy Secretary for the San Mateo County Harbor District in Half Moon Bay, CA. Classified at Administrative Assistant II (AAII) starting at around $22 per hour. Duties included answering phones, and expanded to include preparing board meeting agendas and minutes and setting up board meetings. Hired by Eileen Wilkerson, the Human Resource Manager of the San Mateo County Harbor District from around early 2005 to December 14, 2007. Interestingly, Eileen Wilkerson also went to Terra Nova High (class of 1974) and attended the University of Phoenix (2000-2003).

- 2009 to present: Deputy City Clerk for the Town of Atherton, CA. Her position (at its start) cost the Town approximately $109,735 in salary and benefits. Interestingly, Eileen Wilkerson was the Assistant City Manager at the Town of Atherton from September 17, 2008, to October 21, 2010, and likely played a role in the hiring of Ms. DellaSanta.

This amount and type of education and experience are totally inadequate to perform the job of Interim City Manager for the Town of Atherton. Anyone possessing additional relevant facts should share them.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 31, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Kimberly - You are entitled to your opinion. I would encourage you to meet with the individual involved before rushing to a conclusion.

Others with more knowledge and familiarity with the position and the individual disagree with your view.


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Posted by oh really
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 1, 2012 at 11:08 am

Kimberly, you are absolutely right about the educational aspect of Theresa qualifications. For instance she would not be able to handle an episode like you produced with Dr Buckheit making a video of you and John Johns yelling and screaming at Jerry Gruber in the Town office demanding access to a town computer. Theresa would not be intellectually qualified to deal with you and your assistants. Obviously Jerry did not feel up to either and left shortly thereafter. She would need to have a doctorate in psychiatry at a bare minimum to serve as town manager.
In the meantime she is a lovely person and thrust into job that she can handle well and deserves the support of town citizens.


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Posted by Kimberly Sweidy
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Feb 2, 2012 at 9:19 am

Kimberly Sweidy is a registered user.

Verbatim transcription of above referenced video taken on August 20, 2010.

I once again implore the Almanac to require posters to register using their legal names. Such transparency would eliminate the dissemination of false information.

Transcription:

John Johns: We're here to see…

Kimberly Sweidy: Hello, Mr. Gruber

John Johns: Good morning. How are you?

Jerry Gruber: How are you?

John Johns: Very well, thanks. How are you?

Jon Buckheit: Hey, Jerry. How you doing? Alright.

Kimberly Sweidy: Hello, Mr. Gruber. Good to see you again.

John Johns: Well, I'm here to inspect some public records. Basically there are records in electronic format with a software program that is my understanding that Kelli Robertson knows how to use. She knows how to extract. But when we went across the street (She told me that she was) she directed me over here to obtain those public records. So, may I get those public records that I'm requesting that are available on electronic format? I have a disk right here

Jerry Gruber: The building official is not here today, as we previously indicated to you. The Town is unable to allow a member of the public to access the Town computers.

John Johns: Well I'm not asking to access the town computer. Additionally, I've worked with Kelli Robertson for a number of years and I have observed her access Q and A. Kelli Robertson has told me that she can in fact acquire those computer programs. And frankly, I'm at a loss as to how it is that a building official can walk off the street without any documentation of QA, be able to export the records that are there. And yet, a person who is familiar with that computer system has somehow suffered a lapse in memory? So, Mr. Gruber, can you please explain to me how it is that Kelli Robertson, who used that computer system before, is now unable to?

Jerry Gruber: The Town is unable to allow a member of the public to access the Town computer…

John Johns: I'm not asking to access it. I am asking Ms. Robertson to retrieve those records.

Kimberly Sweidy: We're not asking to access it. I don't even want to touch it. Ms. Robertson. We are asking that Ms. Robertson retrieve them.

Jerry Gruber: May I finish? May I finish? May I finish reading this?

Kimberly Sweidy: But, reading that is not responsive, Mr. Gruber. I personally don't want to touch a Town computer because I can get into all kinds of…

John Johns: Mr. Gruber, is that a script?

Kimberly Sweidy: Yes, he's reading from a script.

Jerry Gruber: Moreover, may I finish please? Moreover, it is not the Town's practice or policy to permit a member of the public to train its employees…

John Johns: I'm not suggesting that an employee be trained.

Jerry Gruber: May I finish please?

Kimberly Sweidy: Wynne Furth wrote this. This is classic Wynne Furth.

Jerry Gruber: Employees on how to utilize outdated software. So, let me read it in its entirety again, please. The Town is unable to allow a member of the public to access its Town computers. Moreover, it is not the Town's practice or policy to permit a member of the public to train its employees on how to utilize our computer software.

John Johns: Are you through?

Kimberly Sweidy: Is that all? Are you through? Okay. So first of all, this is probably written by Wynne Furth because this is classic Harvard Law School nonsense. Number one, neither myself nor Mr. Johns wish to access a Town computer. In fact, I specifically do not ever want to ever touch a Town's computer. I would not want the responsibility or liability associated with doing so. I am requesting that the Town employee, Kelli Robertson, who apparently has been here for a number of years and I have worked with since I started handling my own project, do that. Mr. Johns indicates that Ms. Robertson from his own experience and from her own testimony knows how to do that. If they have some kind of outdated or antiquated system, I can't speak to that because that's a big question of what are you talking about, an outdated system. And neither myself nor Mr. Johns have any intentions of engaging in training Ms. Robertson as I'm sure Ms. Robertson has been trained by the Town to do her job. So, this is an entire misstatement of our position. I would like copies of my own records and I'm now going to request them of Mr. Gruber. I don't know if he has a nonsensical, nonresponsive script to read to me, but here's a list of the permits on my property. This has nothing to do with any other because I wouldn't know how to make use at this point of all the information Mr. Johns has. I'm just learning and I'm not up to speed, but I am most certainly at this point entitled to figure out the status of all my permits that are a mess. This is a list…

Jerry Gruber: Is this a public records request?

Kimberly Sweidy: Yes. Absolutely.

Jerry Gruber: Okay, I'd be more than happy to give that to the City.

Kimberly Sweidy: Yes, and I can give this to you and e-mail this to you. In fact that would be the best way to do it if you want it to be a public records request. I want the same information that Mr. Johns is talking about for all the permits. I would like them at this time for my permits. I need them for my permits. I need to know what the status was, who conducted the inspection, and what the status of it is and I'm happy to e-mail you the most current. This actually was run out. It's not the most current copy in a public records request.

Jerry Gruber: Would you email it to the City Clerk's desk? That's actually the proper way to do it.

Kimberly Sweidy: Yes, I absolutely will. And do you need me to leave this?

Jon Buckheit: Ugh, well, wait. Hold on a second. Sorry to interrupt, I know the Public Records Acts pretty well.

Kimberly Sweidy: Better than me I'm sure.

Jon Buckheit: Well, you know, and Government Section 6254 says, "Public records of a government agency shall be open for inspection by members of the public at all business hours by the public agency." There's no requirement you e-mail it. There's no requirement that you wait. You can make an inspection request under 6254 right now. I don't believe that saying that employees are not here, who can't access it, can be used to shield access to the records on an ongoing basis. And if they don't give it to you, you can file a writ of mandate. And since you're an attorney you can actually get reimbursed for your own time in filing that writ of mandate because there is an attorney's fees clause in it. And that if they have to give the records to you, they have to pay attorney fees, as they paid my attorney to get my police report. As a taxpayer here, Jerry, I resolve conflict. You know, I try to solve problems. I'd just like to see them get their records. These are public records. They're not asking for personal files. These are permits that they pulled out.

John Johns: Jon, I don't want to interrupt, but I want to ask. Mr. Gruber, are you telling me at this point and time that Ms. Robertson is unable to access Q and A?

Jerry Gruber: The Town is unable to allow a member of the public to access a Town computer…

John Johns: Mr. Gruber, that is not the question that I am asking.

Jerry Gruber: Moreover, it is the Town's general practice or policy to permit a member of the public…

John Johns: Mr. Gruber, that is not the question that I am asking.

Jon Buckheit: Hold on, let's make this convivial. What's her name?

John Johns: Kelli Robertson.

Jon Buckheit: Can she access it, Jerry? Without reading from the script now, we heard the script. Can Kelli access it and dump the records? Because if he has to file the lawsuit, he's going to take her deposition. He's going to ask her if she's trained in it. It's not going to go well. Maybe you want to call Furth? The question is can Kelli just dump the records for them?

Kimberly Sweidy: Without us touching the computer

Jon Buckheit: He doesn't want to touch the computer

John Johns: We're not asking to touch the computer. Can Kelli Robertson access records? That is the question.

Jon Buckheit: To avoid a conflict, to avoid a lawsuit which I'm trying to help the Town with. I know you do. Can she just dump the records? If you need to check on that, take some time, please.

Kimberly Sweidy: Because you need to understand, that this is being taped. And if Ms. Robertson cannot access records, she needs to be dismissed as Mr. Wasmann was. And if you can't answer questions from the public, I'm going to have to request that you removed from your post as well. I can't have Town employees that cannot do their job. We are taxpayers. Do you want to see the list of fees I pay in addition to the $70,000 taxes I pay a year? If you are incapable of performing your job, Mr. Gruber…

Jerry Gruber: I would ask that you remain civil, please

Kimberly Sweidy: This is very civil. Have I raised my voice? No. Have I called you any profanity? No. I am saying, I am a member of the public. I'm requesting that you do your job as Town Manager. You cannot answer contemporaneous questions from three members of the public. You're reading from a script. That is incredibly disturbing to me. I know what you're paid. We all know what you're paid. If you're paid that and you can't answer questions, I have, as a taxpayer, some concerns about that. And if you're implying or insinuating that Ms. Robertson, who I don't believe it's true, cannot export records. I absolutely do believe that she can do her job. Then there is some question of why she is being paid?

John Johns: I will ask again, Mr. Gruber. And you can either answer it or you can refuse to answer it. Can Ms. Robertson access Q and A? Yes or no?

Jerry Gruber: Is there anything else I can help you with?

Kimberly Sweidy: Are you refusing to answer Mr. Johns' question regarding whether a member of your staff can actually perform her job?

Jerry Gruber: Is there anything else I can help you with?

John Johns: Mr. Gruber, the only question you can help me with is to answer my question.

Jerry Gruber: Is there anything else I can help you with?

John Johns: Is that a refusal to answer my question?

Jerry Gruber: Is there anything else I can help you with?

John Johns: Is that a refusal to answer my question?

Jerry Gruber: Thank you.

John Johns: Is that a refusal to allow access to public records? You will hear from my attorney, Mr. Gruber.


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Posted by oh really
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 2, 2012 at 9:33 am

ignoratio elenchi


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Posted by Kimberly Sweidy
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Feb 2, 2012 at 9:48 am

Kimberly Sweidy is a registered user.

"ignoratio elenchi is the informal fallacy of presenting an argument that may in itself be valid, but does not address the issue in question" --- wikipedia

Claim: you and John Johns yelling and screaming at Jerry Gruber in the Town office

Fact: the above shows no such yelling and screaming.

Claim: demanding access to a town computer

Fact: the above specifically and repeatedly states the exact opposite.

Claim: she [Ms. DellaSanta] is a lovely person

Fact: this is not at issue and is completely irrelevant.

Conclusion: "oh really" disseminates false information, engages in personal attacks and veers into irrelevant areas rather than engage in discussion about the amount and type of education and experience necessary to perform the role of Interim City Manager. Therefore, I'm now done.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 2, 2012 at 10:06 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I had to look that one up; it is elegantly perfect to the occasion:

Ignoratio Elenchi (irrelevant conclusion): the fallacy of proving a conclusion not pertinent and quite different from that which was intended or required.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 2, 2012 at 11:26 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Kimberly states:" I'm now done."

Educational credentials are only one measure of an individual's capabilities - look at Jobs, Gates, Zuckerberg and Ellison. Also look at these rather successful individuals who dropped out of Harvard:

Web Link

As I suggested before I would encourage you to meet with the individual involved before rushing to a conclusion.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 2, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Kimberly states:"I once again implore the Almanac to require posters to register using their legal names. Such transparency would eliminate the dissemination of false information."

Sadly, the Editors feel that quantity of postings is more important than quality of postings. In addition many anonymous unregistered posters simply choose ignore the Editors request to " Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion." and well as the Editors request that "We prefer that you use your real name".

As a consequence the level of discourse and dialogue on this Forum remains low. Those of us who post in our real names are a favorite target for personal attacks and uncivil and untruth responses by the anonymous unregistered posters. And they hate me when I keep responding to their posts by pointing this out.


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Posted by Renee Batti
news editor of The Almanac
on Feb 2, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Renee Batti is a registered user.

Peter, you write that "the Editors feel that quantity of postings is more important than quality of postings." You grossly oversimplify.

First of all, there are differences in opinion among "the Editors" of the Almanac and our sister newspapers on the Peninsula about the pros and cons of allowing anonymity. We all follow the same rules regarding anonymity, but that doesn't mean we all agree. The debate over this very frustrating and complicated issue goes on at newspapers all over the country.

But more important, your statement that we care more about the quantity of postings vs their quality is false and unfair.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 2, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Renee,
I apologize if I have inadvertently lumped you in with other Editors who clearly have little interest in restricting posters that ignore the request to use their real names and to be respectful and truthful. It seems that you are, sadly, in the minority on this issue and that the Forum will therefore continue to foster incivility. As a consequence serious discussion and dialogue will seldom occur.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Renee,
I apologize if I have inadvertently lumped you in with other Editors who clearly have little interest in restricting posters that ignore the request to use their real names and to be respectful and truthful. It seems that you are, sadly, in the minority on this issue and that the Forum will therefore continue to foster incivility. As a consequence serious discussion and dialogue will seldom occur.


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