CITY COUNCIL MEETING RECAP — 2/7/2023
Summary of this Recap:
George Weiss: In this recap we cover Black History Month; a request for consulting services for City Staff job classifications; appointments to City Committees; and a profile of Dean Armentrout, Antiquarian Horologist (Clock Doc).
EXTRAORDINARY BUSSINESS: Proclamation Declaring February
as Black History Month in Laguna Beach
GW: Black History month serves as a reminder of the contributions Black Americans have made to our country. I recommend reading a biography about Fredrick Douglass, a former slave who became perhaps the greatest orator of his time, an abolitionist who travelled non-stop for years to speak on the evils of slavery and also founded a widely read newspaper. Reading this book will give you a greater understanding of Black history before, during, and after the Civil War. The book pictured below is available at your our local bookstore or Amazon.
Item 2 – Service Provider Agreement (Consultant) for an Organization-Wide Classification and Compensation Study: Not approved- 3-2
GW: This item was continued from the last City Council meeting by Councilmember Orgill, who expressed concerns about the scope and justification of the provider agreement. What was also missing in the objective was any mention of the criteria for measuring the successful performance of each job classification.
Based on the staff report, the study would cost $181,000 and the service providers objectives were to:
Attract and retain qualified employees by ensuring compensation is competitive in the market.
Ensure positions with similar complexity, responsibility, knowledge, skills and abilities are classified together.
Provide salaries in proportion to assigned duties.
Ensure that promotional opportunities are clearly defined and provide recognizable compensation growth.
Offer justifiable pay differential between individual classes.
Maintain competitive salaries and benefits in comparison to other regional government entities (GW: My question is does it make sense to compare our City salaries to State and County agencies?)
Offer recommendations on how the City can better align its compensation system with industry best practices where applicable. The City compensation system has several incentive-based pay types that the City would like to explore, identify alternatives to additive incentive pay structures.
GW: A lively discussion ensued among council members since many noticed that compensation and salaries seemed to be the most frequently appearing concept in the seven-point objectives. I questioned the purpose of the study along with Councilmember Orgill who said we should be looking at what each City Department is doing right and not right. I mentioned a suggestion previously made by Councilmember Rounaghi who said that City Departments should perform a management audit (provided by the State of California) with the goal being greater productivity and efficiency.
Here’s some additional background information on full time employees’ salaries based on published Adopted 2020-2021 FY Budget – before COVID-19 cuts.
Laguna Beach has 283 Full time equivalent employees.
Total salaries and wages including benefits - $53 Million.
Average annual compensation including benefits - $187,279.00
Compare the above salaries against:
Latest (2018) Per capita Laguna Beach resident income - $92,391
(benefits not available)
The City also has unfunded pensions of $63.5 million at 7.15% or $99.6 million at 6.15%
Regular Agenda: Items 4-11 – Interviews and Appointments for City Committees
GW: I’ve always said that we have a community of very smart, talented, big-hearted people, and this was proven as more than 70 of you applied for 32 openings. Your qualifications were so impressive as was your commitment to helping our community. It was very difficult to try to pick from among so many talented people. Thank you to everyone who applied, and I sincerely hope that those who weren’t selected will apply again in the future. We need you.
Here is a list of the committee members selected with the committees listed in alphabetical order:
Council interviewed five candidates for the Audit Review & Investment Advisory Committee, and three applicants were selected to serve: Sasha Talebi, Jolie Eisner, and Glenn Gray.
The Design Review Board received nine applications for three open spots, two of which went to incumbents, Kristine Thalman and Louis Weil, and a new member, Tom Gibbs.
The Environmental Sustainability Committee (ESC) received more applications than any other committee and 14 people were interviewed. The committee had four incumbents re-apply and all were re-appointed: Jacquelin Mutter, Judie Mancuso, Anne Girtz and John Ehlers. Council selected Morteza Rahmatian as the new incoming full-time member with Dane Pfluegar as an alternate.
Eight residents applied for the four seats on the Heritage Committee. Newcomers James Henry and Justin Drucker, and incumbent Clark Collins, were appointed with Linda Morgenlander as the alternate.
Council interviewed thirteen and appointed seven residents to The Housing and Human Services Committee. New to the board are: Mary Jo Winefordner, Joe Hanauer, Adam Redding-Kaufman and Alexandra Jochim, plus one incumbent, Cody Engle. Alex Kweskin and Diane Harrison were selected as the alternates.
Five people were interviewed for the three open seats on the Parking, Traffic, and Circulation Committee, and the following were selected: Jeffrey Roedersheimer, Jim Danziger and Michael Schneider
Council interviewed 10 Recreation Committee applicants; and incumbent Roger Kempler was appointed alongside newcomers Elizabeth Hanauer, Gwen McNallan and Lauren Boeck as full-time members of the committee. The alternates that were selected included an incumbent, Karl Dumas, along with new alternate, Sarah Durand.
There were seven interviews for The View Restoration Committee, and incumbents Rebecca Carson and Jennifer Potratz were re-appointed, along with newcomer Blair Contratto. Kelly Brochu was selected as an alternate.
Dean Armentrout in the Clock Library Room of his Clock Shop
Dean Armentrout: Antiquarian Horologist
Laguna has drawn a variety of interesting people over the years. One is Dean Armentrout who moved to Laguna in 1974 from back East lured by stories of beautiful beaches, pretty girls, and incredible scenery. He was not alone. California’s siren call was answered by millions of people in the 1970s.
Once here, Dean needed a job and through the local Episcopal Church’s “jobs for youth” program Dean found one at a clock shop located at 1953 S. Coast Highway. Does anyone remember Gene Hanson? Gene was a bit of a con, according to Dean, but that’s a story for another day. Dean’s starting pay was $2.00 an hour, but the rent was cheap at $125.00 a month for his half share in an ocean view 2-bedroom apartment atop the store. Those were the days.
Dean has been repairing clocks since that time in Laguna, but to be professionally trained he moved to England in 1980 to attend West Dean College, a crafts school, that provided training in furniture, ceramics, and mechanical clock repair. Dean funded his horology studies through a $5,000 interest free grant paid back in installments of $83.33 over 60 months. Coming back to Laguna in 1982 the country was going through a recession, so Dean set up his shop inside Kubiak’s antique furniture store on Laguna Canyon Road.
In the beginning Dean could not afford his own phone line, so the Kubisak's allowed him to use their phone number for his Penny Saver ads. Dean remained in business in Laguna for 40 years, retiring last year.
In 1988 Dean partnered with George Kubisak, restarting the original Kubisak’s antique store. The partners imported antiques, including clocks directly from France. Clock sales rose as people could see how the clocks complimented the décor. And of course, the sound of a mechanical clock is enticing.
Many will remember the sound of mechanical clocks, their soothing tic-toc, the chimes or cuckoo sounds made by a wooden bird or, for those who could afford one a grandfather clock, who sounds could be heard all through the house.
Keeping time started with sundials and is thousands of years old, but the first mechanical clocks were made in the 13th century. They were used to help Christian monks show up on time for early morning matins or prayers.
Dean’s Clock Shop on Laguna Canyon Road
Although officially retired, Dean has over a hundred clocks, large and small he is still working on. It is an old craft but dying out. Too bad, the sounds of mechanical clocks will be missed as will the unique people who made Laguna their home in another time.
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Disclaimer: All representations made in this email reflect the views of the author and are not official statements of the City of Laguna Beach or City Council. Any mistakes or omissions are the sole responsibility of the author, George Weiss.
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