I’m proud that the City of Campbell has one of the hardest-working, most dedicated staff in local government. Our City employees take pride in their work and are proud to be members of our community.
Despite this, our City staff is in the midst of a difficult and stressful environment. Even prior to the pandemic, staff found themselves in the position of having to do more with less. Now, the COVID-19 crisis and the resulting hit to city budgets have forced further cuts in services and staff. As a Board member of the Campbell Historical Museum Foundation, I’m actively exploring the possibility of using public-nonprofit partnerships to support City staff and ward off further cutbacks. As our City recovers, we must ensure we are taking care of all the City employees who have always been there for us.
Faced with difficult budgeting decisions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must look to staff cutbacks as a last resort, and avoid furloughs as much as possible.
We must work with local nonprofits that already have an official partnership with the City to save as many jobs as we can. Transfers internally will also be a preferred alternative to cutting positions entirely in the case that a particular program is eliminated.
Federal aid for Campbell may also require advocating for changes in federal policy. For example, the initial round of federal relief to local governments was not made eligible to cities under 50,000 residents, including Campbell.
Our local leaders must have more of a voice on these issues to avoid future cutbacks. According to Congressmember Anna Eshoo, Campbell could be eligible to receive as much as $21 million in federal funding, spread out over two fiscal years.
Though more difficult amidst short-term budgetary cutbacks, as our City recovers to a stronger financial standing, I will direct City staff to explore the possibility of hiring for additional positions.
Additional hiring will be focused on the Planning Department to assist with workload of existing employees and expedite the application process for future residents.
All too often, City Council has inadequate time to study the issues and staff is overworked, leading to delays of months and even years on important issues facing the Council.
I would create four new commissions — Arts & Culture, Business, Human Rights, and Seniors — to advise the Council on public policy issues pertaining to the respective areas.
While Council would still be responsible for the final decision and directly accountable to the voters, the creation of these commissions would delegate some of the policy work to subject matter experts.
I will draw upon my private sector experience to help design and implement key performance indicators (KPIs) and project benchmarks to measure success and ensure projects come in on time and within budget. The City will then be able to release performance to ensure accountability.
Cities often allow applicants for a large project to pay for fees in advance of processing to allow for the necessary ramping up of City staff. This avoids a bottleneck in the process, resulting in a smoother process for applicants, particularly on large and often time-sensitive projects.
I will find new ways to celebrate and recognize City staff, such as honoring a City Employee of the Month during Council meetings and sharing staff accomplishments on social media. City staff from all departments will be recognized, as every employee has an important role to play.
I will personally meet with each and every City employee, as well as ensure an open door policy, both to recognize and thank staff for their accomplishments as well as to ensure open lines of communication.