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City clerk leaving Menlo Park

Original post made on May 20, 2013

Menlo Park needs to break out the recruitment ads once again. City Clerk Margaret Roberts gave two weeks' notice that her last day will be Friday, May 24.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, May 20, 2013, 8:23 AM

Comments (12)

Posted by Logical, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on May 20, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Any chance this job will be advertised and open to residents? Or will the application and selection process occur behind-the-scenes? Makes sense for the city to hire someone who already lives here, but that's not going to happen if we don't even get the chance to apply.

Posted by Michael G Stogner, a resident of another community
on May 20, 2013 at 12:53 pm

4 day notice seems a bit short.

Posted by Margaret Roberts, a resident of another community
on May 20, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Mr. Stogner - I actually informed the City Manager and the Assistant City Manager of my conditional offer of employment on May 6th. Once I received the formal offer, I provided a written formal resignation with two weeks notice. The City staff was informed last week regarding my departure.

Posted by Long Time Resident, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 20, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Margaret is a very competent person and an important reason the council meetings are orderly.

Her departure is another symptom of our council's lack of control.

They continue to indulge every crazy neighbor group and - guess what - more of them show up with strident opinions on almost every subject. The meetings then run very late and items are often reheard.

What is happening in our city is beyond democracy. It is getting close to mob rule.

Until the council figures out how to control vocal minorities of neighborhood activists the city will continue to lose good staff members and get bogged down.

Posted by Michael G Stogner, a resident of another community
on May 20, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Margaret, Thank You for your response and Best of Health and Luck to you.

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 20, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Long Time:

the way to control vocal minorities is to listen to them and then do what the right thing is, which usually isn't what the vocal minority wants. Operative word being, MINORITY. There isn't a damn thing a minority can do except get up at council meetings and scream and yell. If our council would simply ignore them and move on with what the majority would like things might actually get done in this town.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 20, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

As a Republic we guarantee the right of minorities to be heard but we do not thereby grant them the right to prevail. Local government has failed to make this simple distinction and, as a result, the will of the majority is too often tossed aside.

Posted by grumpy, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 20, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Agreed, the council has a lack of control. They foolishly limit the scope of their authority to what is allowed under the law. As long as the city manager has the sole authority to address employment issues, we can can only complain here anonymously.

Posted by Logical, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on May 20, 2013 at 8:10 pm

It's shocking but not surprising to see the level of vitriol this personnel transition has evoked. Some of you clearly don't like to see residents exercising their democratic rights. Maybe you would prefer having decisions discussed and made old-boy style, behind closed doors, with no public input? The people who speak at public meetings are among those who care the most for our city, and they speak on behalf of hundreds of others, like me, who don't have the time or ability to spend hours in the council chambers.

I'm reminded of the old Margaret Mead saying: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." This saying has become something of a cliche, but it occurs to me that Mead made this comment not just to applaud innovators who take action on behalf of a worthwhile cause but to encourage those who may not belong to the in-group to persevere. Not to be dissuaded by insiders who prefer to maintain their power and the status quo, and to silence everyone else.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 20, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" the level of vitriol this personnel transition has evoked"

I think that you are trying to create controversy where none exists - there is no such vitriol.

Posted by Long Time MenloMan, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 21, 2013 at 7:57 am

City Council - Two words - Policy Governance

Posted by Whoa, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 23, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Whoa - The clerk leaves for a bigger job that's also in a less expensive city, and several start posting that it's because of people in our community expressing their democratic right to a voice?
That is a giant leap from a story that also references late meetings, which could be due to factors about the Council rather than the community. BTW - How do you know the people speaking on an issue are in a minority unless there is a vote of the people about that issue?

Consider some alternative reasons there are late meetings, all of which could be true: The Council doesn't meet every week, so has long agendas when it does. The Council often discusses even consent calendar items at length when there should have been plenty of advance information to consent to the recommendation.
There is a city policy or practice to decide whether to go past the normal end time. This is happening all the time, frustrating the public and staff, and causing the Council to make decisions at a time they probably aren't doing their best work. The problem of late meetings is a symptom to several problems that could be solved by actions such as holding more meetings, separating consent items to different meetings than those with controversial topics, kicking back items that don't have sufficient information in the staff report, continuing discussions to future meeting at time of day when the Council would be more fresh, holding study sessions on complex matters. What should not happen is limiting community input in a democracy; 3 minutes is enough of a limit.

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