Should the city recruit more department heads from outside or promote from within? Councilman Don Rocha says he thinks the city needs to do a better job casting its net to outside talent.
In a memo submitted to Wednesday’s Rules and Open Government Committee, the District 9 councilman says he worries that the city doesn’t do its due diligence in recruiting or spreading word about executive openings.
“The most troubling question for me to answer is not whether or not our employees are qualified—it’s whether or not we have conducted a search of a caliber to find the best candidate for the job,” Rocha writes. “Without an open recruitment, neither the city manager nor I—or even the candidate themselves—can know for sure that they are the most qualified person to serve our residents in that capacity.”
Since 2011, vacancies have occurred for 11 of the city’s 14 department director jobs, Rocha’s memo states. Seven of those 11 openings were filled by internal appointment.
“While this is a strong concern of mine, I in no means intend to convey that I don’t appreciate our employees or their commitment to serving our residents—nothing could be further from the truth,” he adds.
City Manager Debra Figone asked to defer the conversation to next week, as she’ll be out of town on business. Plus, Rocha’s understanding of the city’s recruitment process is a little off, she notes.
“In addition, I want to clarify the record of our recent department director recruitments and appointments,” Figone writes. “Over the past three years, we have conducted open, national recruitments for nine directors, and I have made four promotional appointments without recruitments.”
Four of the city’s executive positions remain vacant.
• City staff recommends that local elected officials vote in support of state legislation that aims to finance affordable housing in transit-oriented developments by allocating cap-and-trade auction revenues. AB 1051, a bill known as “Sustainable Communities for All,” was introduced by Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima).
“These efforts include the integration of affordable housing and jobs in transit- and amenity-rich areas, the protection of open space and the creation of parks and trail in urban formats …, ” city staff summarizes.
Given the dissolution of all Redevelopment Agency (RDA) funding, the city’s looking for other ways to fund transit development and low-income housing. Cap-and-trade auction revenues are one alternative, the city notes.
• City staffers are also asking for the Rules Committee to support a state Assembly bill that would make more money available for low-interest housing assistance loans for government agencies. AB 637, authored by Assemblyman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), would make more money available for pre-development of low-income housing, according to the city.
• Another bill that would allocate greenhouse gas cap-and-trade auction revenues for affordable housing merits San Jose’s support, the city says. Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal’s (D-Long Beach) AB 574 would generate more money for transportation-centered developments, like apartments clustered around train and bus stops or condos by light rail stations.
• Figuring out ways to spend those cap-and-trade auction revenues seems to be a popular idea this legislative session. Assemblyman Richard Gordon (D-Menlo Park) penned AB 416, which would use that money to “help improve energy efficiency projects throughout the city, provide opportunities to increase renewable energy generation, increase solid waste diversion from landfills, increase the reliability of local recycled water supplies, increase electric vehicle infrastructure and achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions” by cutting back on the public’s driving habits.
• Communism is alive and well! Or socialism. So says supervisorial and mayoral candidate David Wall, who wrote a letter to the city blasting its affordable housing programs. He “respectfully submitted” the letter with the declaration: “To me, a socialist is just a communist with a sore butt-hole.”
WHAT: Rules and Open Government Committee meets
WHEN: 2pm Wednesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260