Welcome LAH Townspeople
The Town Crier’s August 4th article, “Residents demand role in LAH manager search”, is very critical. To see the full article and our comments see our Press Page.
Residents need to become fully engaged in the process to hire our next city manager! Our current town management have and will cost us as residents millions of dollars. Look at how much we have spent in legal costs dealing with employee investigations just this year. Look at the mismanagement of the GreenWaste contract, the failed operations of Westwind Barn and most recently the landscaping contract fiasco that resulted in a dramatic increase from the previous contract. We have an employee management problem that is costing us growing legal fees and more importantly a lack of continuity. A town cannot be well managed when staff turnover is over 25% per year! Please visit our Governance Page to read more on this topic.
August 13th is the cut off for candidates to apply for the position and send in their resumes. We need a citizens advisory board to work with city council so that we choose the best candidate for our town.
We now have the opportunity to re-imagine our town for the future. After 65 years it is time for a serious self reflection. We need a City Manager that will proactively work to make our town even better.
Time to look forward…as the Town of Los Altos Hills celebrates its 65th birthday, it is appropriate to reflect back on our founding documents the Green Sheets and the formation of the Town. Our town is at a key inflection point. Besides our own self-made problems, there are growing outside legislative pressures that could negatively impact the quality of life in our town such as SB-9 and SB-10.
Our Town has a City Council-City Manager form of government in which the City Council (CC) is responsible for policy and direction and the City Manager (CM) is responsible for implementation and operations.
Our form of governance can be likened to a publicly-traded company which has a CEO and a Board of Directors. Our Council members are our elected Board of Directors and our City Manager is our CEO. Our City Council (CC) members are part time volunteers who are cautioned not to involve themselves in operations. Council members rely heavily on the City Manager to perform appropriate due diligence and provide sound advice. This form of Council-Manager governance dates back to the 1880s. Los Altos Hills early form of governance was a true public-resident partnership between the residents, council members and city manager. For example, our original Town Hall construction was assisted by residents. That was our version of a barn raiser for the community.
We want to go back to the future with a 21st Century model of that form of self governance. Let’s leverage technology and the intellectual horsepower of our residents to create a joint venture mentality.
Our 140-year old form of governance needs to be revisited. Unfortunately, the biggest problem with this form of governance is that our CC members rely heavily on the CM. If you view our Jim Cogan Conversation on our Video Page you will hear that if a CM is qualified, the model works well, if not it is a major problem.
We are now at the most significant inflection point since the founding of our town in 1956. We believe it is time to re-imagine our form of governance for the 21st Century. The 1880s model form of governance needs to be rebooted. We believe we can better empower our residents, embrace technology and incorporate best practices from the private sector and other city managements to positively transform our town. We are calling this reimagining effort, Los Altos Hills – A Joint Venture! Go to this page Los Altos Hills – A Joint Venture and see how we want to empower residents to make our town better.
As an integral part of the re-imagining process, we should develop a 15 year strategic plan where we have key milestone goals every five years. This plan should be an integral part of our General Plan. For complex capital improvements, they will not happen without a multi-year plan. For example, here are ideas of what those milestones could be. In year 5, we have a “Fast Track 2.0” that helps residents build the home of their dreams in a much more cost efficient basis that also meets the code and design requirements of our town; we have a new community center built cost effectively that becomes the heart of our town; we have under-grounded utilities for 20% of the town; we have codified key pillars of our Green Sheets (Green Sheets 2.0) and we have improved safety by 15% . Year 10, we have under-grounded 50% of our utilities; we have better wild-fire hardened our town by 30% and we have expanded protected open space by 40%. Year 15……the sky is the limit!
Our town can become the Smartest, Safest and Greenest city in California, if we have a vision. For example, because of our geographical separation, there is no equivalent of a Town Square where residents can meet each other. We desperately need a Community Center to build community. Portola Valley is half our size and this is their community center. Instead of spending a projected $5 million dollars on a Town Hall expansion for staff, let’s have a Community Center. See our Services Page for more discussions on this topic.
We have the intellectual horsepower in our residents to make that happen. We just need to harness that power!
WHO IS TTAGS?
We are a group of Townspeople who want to re-imagine our town. We are renaming the platform of TTAGS to (Townspeople for Transparency, Accountability, smart Governance , and Safety and service improvements).
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF TTAGS?
Empower residents to help make our town better by truly partnering with council members and staff.