Millbrae police takeover heads toward finalization
February 14, 2012, 05:00 AM By Heather Murtagh Daily Journal Staff
Police needs in Millbrae could be met by the Sheriff’s Office starting early next month as the City Council will consider agreements to make the shift Tuesday.
In November, the City Council voted to contract for services provided by the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. Since then, the city and county have worked together on a transfer agreement. Additionally, last week the city and the Millbrae Police Officers’ Association reached an agreement to transfer law enforcement services. Both agreements go before the City Council Tuesday in hopes of officially transferring services at 12:01 a.m. Monday, March 5.
Robert Raw, Millbrae Police Officers’ Association president, said the employees didn’t get everything they wanted but the city was fair. And the agreement will provide employees a new position as well as the money needed to meet their individual family needs, he said.
The city’s current annual budget for the department is $4.258 million. When the budget is changed to include vehicles, safety equipment, overhead costs and other costs, the annual budget is raised to $7.27 million. Should the city want to maintain its own department, former police chief Neil Telford suggested increasing staffing levels by 2.5 full-time equivalent employees — a cost of $410,000 annually — that would raise the number of employees to 32 FTEs.
The sheriff’s proposal included 15.98 FTEs including Millbrae’s own police chief. The $3.5 million original plan allowed for Millbrae’s sworn personnel to be accepted into the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office after a background check. The proposal called for eliminating a police captain/commander/lieutenant position, cutting in half the number of sergeants and reducing the number of officers and deputies from 14 to eight, according to Telford. It adds a records clerk but does not discuss a crime analyst, special service coordinator or communications/records manager. Most non-sworn personnel would be transferred to similar positions. The proposal was altered late last year, increasing the number of employees to meet community concerns making the annual cost $4.56 million. In the first year, the city is estimated to save $1.693 million with costs increasing in years to come. The initial savings is lower since it includes additional costs to the city such as radios and a uniform allowance. Millbrae will be given credit for some equipment while charged for other. Ultimately, the difference is an additional cost to Millbrae of $26,808, Police Chief Mark Raffaelli wrote in a staff report.
Under the agreement with the police officers, employees will receive a one-time $700 allowance for uniforms and an offer of six-month severance pay, about $48,907.30 per employee, for those who are not hired by the county, according to a staff report by City Manager Marcia Raines. Officers and sergeants hired by the county will be employed at the rank of deputy; years of service will be considered for calculating vacation, promotions, leaves and longevity benefits; and the city will cash out things like vacation and compensatory time off while offering an option to transfer a certain number of hours to the county. Lastly, Millbrae employees will have the option to purchase his or her duty weapon for $200 per firearm.
At the same meeting, Millbrae will consider a second reading of its single-use bag ban.
Millbrae discussed banning single-use carryout bags from five grocery stores and supermarkets in town last year but expanded the law, at the direction of the council, to include all retail businesses. As proposed, about 50 businesses will be affected. In January, the council held a public hearing and adopted a negative declaration of environmental impact. If approved during a second reading, the rules would go into effect Sept. 1.
The council meets 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14 at Millbrae City Hall, 621 Magnolia Ave., Millbrae.
Heather Murtagh can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 105.
Assuming that the last transmissions that will be on the Millbrae-Broadmoor primary will be March 5th around midnight. They'll be going to the San Mateo County digital trunk system (San Carlos/ Bayside primary) after that. Talks are starting about what Broadmoor is going to do, since they cannot afford their own primary (hence the reason they originally shared it with Millbrae/ Half Moon Bay) but are still paying to get dispatched by San Mateo County after the Millbrae deal goes through.