Letters to the Editor
June 11th, 2009

To the Editor:
In response to Roy Payne’s Letter to the Editor, June 4, 2009, I’d like to clarify some of the amounts set out in his “Before and After” table.
On June 29, 2005, the City Council approved Mr. Payne’s Special Project Manager Fee Agreement providing for a retainer of $2000 each month paid from the General Fund and Redevelopment Agency (and water and sewer) accounts. The retainer covered 16 hours of service each month. Additional hours were charged at $125 an hour. Mr. Payne was provided, at city expense, a cell phone and work station. From his date of retirement (August 2005) to his resignation (February 2009), Mr. Payne received a total sum from the city $317,928 for work performed pursuant to the Agreement.
Ms. Spangler’s work is similar in nature to Mr. Payne’s in that she is working on the business park fee structure and, like Mr. Payne’s fees when he provided his services on items relating to the business park, her fees are paid for by the developers within the business park project area. Ms. Spangler is performing the work for $100 per hour, a reduction of $25 per hour compared to Mr. Payne’s rate.
As for Mr. Bartels, he was provided an additional $10 an hour only for that period of time he took on the additional task of Interim City Manager which was approximately six weeks.
Patti Walker
Mayor, Fillmore

To the Editor:
Blog response by Roy Payne regarding Livermore Sales Tax Agreement
Submitted to Blogs & Forums by Roy Payne on Mon, 06/08/2009 - 9:42am.
Re: Livermore Sales Tax Agreement
Oogie Boogie, Legal yes, but since the Washburn, Brooks, Westling, Creagle, Stroh, Walker, Sipes cabal find it so morally offensive that Fillmore entered into a legal Sales Tax Agreement; I suggest they give the money back to Livermore. It appears Livermore certainly needs it more than Fillmore to pay for the 179 Livermore city employees whose salaries exceed $100,000 per year and to maintain their cost of per capita services at a rate twice that of Fillmore.
Timm Herdt’s article in the Sunday, June 7, 2009 Ventura County Star stated “Officials from the San Francisco Bay Area city of Livermore say the Fillmore deal costs their city about $2 million a year in lost sales taxes, even though they continue to deal with the traffic and other public-service effects created by a 165,000-square foot Owens & Minor distribution center that has been in their town since 1993”.
I found it very amazing that it would cost the city of Livermore $2 million a year to deal with the traffic and other public service effects of a 165,000-square foot warehouse distribution center. So I visited the city of Livermore website to see if I could verify this information. According to the “Economic Development and Fiscal Element” of the city of Livermore General Plan, Livermore has 12 million square feet of industrial and warehouse space in their city. Therefore, a 165,000-square foot warehouse is 1.38% (or 1/72) of the total industrial and warehouse space in the city of Livermore. If it takes $2 million a year to deal with the traffic and other public service effects of a 165,000-square foot warehouse distribution center, then it would take 72 times that amount to provide traffic and other public services to the total inventory of 12 million square feet. 72 times $2 million is $144 million. The total city of Livermore general fund operating budget is $82 million. So how can they possibly be spending $144 million on traffic and public services for 12 million square feet of industrial and warehouse operations in their city? Answer, they are not and they are not spending $2 million a year on the 165,000-square foot Owens & Minor distribution center.
According to their website, Livermore has a net assessed property valuation of $15.1 billion. I estimate the property value of a 165,000 square foot industrial-warehouse building to be $25 million. Therefore, the Owens & Minor facility in Livermore represents about 0.17% of the total assessed valuation of the city of Livermore. Therefore, based upon the total city of Livermore general fund operating budget of $82 million and using the proportional value method (ratio of cost of services to total assessed value) of determining the cost of services of an industrial development, the cost of providing services to the Owens & Minor 165,000 square foot warehouse distribution center is $135,000 per year, not $2 million per year.
So what was Livermore really doing with the $2 million they say they are losing? Well, on January 28, 2009 the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the City of Livermore had 179 employees with total pay over $100,000. The City Manager in Livermore had a base pay of $222,749 and the Finance Director a base pay of $170,360. If you compare the per capita cost of general fund expenses, Livermore’s per capita costs are $1,000 and Fillmore’s are $487. In other words the City of Livermore is charging its residents twice the amount that Fillmore is charging to provide general fund services such as police, fire, recreation, finance, planning, etc.
Roy Payne

To the Editor:
Re. Martin Farrell’s Realities:
Martin, in defense of my accusations that you used personal attacks against city staff and council members, you said, “critical examination is vital to good democratic government.” So please take the time to share with your readers the evidence (not rumor) your critical examination turned up supporting these claims you made last week.
Roy Payne retired a few years ago with a very nice retirement package. Before he left, according to Tom Ristau, he negotiated his own contract to do special projects work, a new position that wasn’t needed before Ristau became city manager and cost around $85,000 just last year. Four years later Barbara Smith said that Roy had completed the seven tasks he had contracted to do. Who was Roy assisting, Tom Ristau, Bill Bartels, who? When Roy quit Ky Spangler was hired to complete some other work Roy was doing (as shown in Roy’s chart last week) and will be finished next month. You say she is assisting Bill, was Roy also assisting Bill? I don’t understand.
Regarding council member Conaway’s trip to Washington D.C.: I emphasized that I did not think for one minute that Steve did anything to benefit himself personally. My only worry was whether he could remain objective when the council was considering matters pertaining to the sewer plant. This was a legitimate concern particularly after discovering that American Water utilizes a tactic of nurturing relationships with elected officials so they can do their bidding for them. I was well aware of the details of the trip but never heard Steve say it was or was not a mistake to go so I assumed he did not feel it was a mistake and if given the opportunity would go again; perhaps that could be clarified.
As to your claim that Walker, Washburn and Brooks have often and openly voiced their intention to get rid of the staff members you referred to, certainly you can provide the evidence your critical examination uncovered that caused you to make that claim. And please, save your arguments criticizing their desire to critically examine a temporary employee’s contract that was completed and a city managers contract that was expiring. Conversations I have had with Walker and Washburn along with all of their public comments regarding city staff tell a different story. While on this subject, and finally, Martin, you said that I “have been a regular, outspoken supporter of these views, in print and at the dais.” I don’t recall ever thinking or supporting those ideas either by writing or speaking them. So here is a challenge for you, and an easy way to prove your honesty to your readers; provide the letter to your paper from me or a recording of a complete statement I made at the dais supporting the unconditional termination of the staff members you referred to as judged by a mutually agreed upon person and I will apologize and contribute $250 to the Boys and Girls Club. If you can not provide proof then you apologize and make the same donation.
Bob Stroh