With one sweeping yes vote on June 16, the Beverly Hills City Council approved 25 of 30 items on the consent calendar at its formal meeting. Items approved included: a resolution condemning the actions that lead to the death of George Floyd; an ordinance specifying that either a landlord or tenant will preside over the Rent Stabilization Commission as Vice Chair; and $41.3 million in “blanket purchase orders” for fiscal year 2020/21.
In addition to green lighting a variety of initiatives, the Council also fielded funding requests from the Beverly Hills Conference and Visitors Bureau, the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce and Civic Association, and the Rodeo Drive Committee at both its formal and study session meetings.
At Home in the City
The Council delayed potential discussion about a City-owned house for City Manager George Chavez. The agendized item amending Chavez’ employment agreement to reside rent-free at the property on the border of Beverly Hills and Los Angeles is now slated for a vote at the newly scheduled June 18 Council at 7:30 p.m., just after press time. According to the staff report, the City would not incur “increased costs” for Chavez to live in the property, although there would be “some opportunity cost” in not renting out the house.
Buying in Bulk
The City Council unanimously agreed to approve a request for blanket purchase orders (BPOs) for supplies and services at the not-to-exceed amount of $41.3 million for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. Per the staff report, a total of 104 vendors will service various City departments on an as-needed basis via the approved 24 agreements and eight amendments. The bulk of approved agreements pertain to Information Technology.
In an effort to facilitate budget reductions, the Council considered moving forward with two voluntary separation options for employees.
The Council, which last month learned that the City was forecasting a total operating revenue of $211.7 million for the 2020/21 fiscal year ($38.8 million less than originally projected as a result of the COVID-19 crisis), must approve the upcoming fiscal year’s budget by the end of this month.
Director of Finance Jeff Muir said that both the CalPERS early retirement option, or Golden Handshake, and the voluntary cash out incentive option for those separating from City service would be a “major piece” in achieving necessary budget reductions as a result of COVID-19. “This is one of the tried and true methods for cities to deal with situations such as ours,” said Councilman John Mirisch.
If 25 miscellaneous (non-sworn) employees were to take the “Golden Handshake,” Muir estimated the City would save $18.2 million over five years. For the voluntary cash out incentive option, if 25 miscellaneous (non-sworn) employees participated in the program, Muir estimated the City would save $2.7 million in the first year.
“Depending on the participation in each program, the City will realize significant savings from the voluntary retirement or separation of employees,” stated the staff report authored by Muir. Following direction from Council, Muir will conduct a survey to gauge employee interest.