Citizens of Kensington
Be sure to consider your vote for Kensington Police Department Board members wisely. I believe the only way to insure that Kensington’s investment in an independent police force is protected is to vote for Cathie Kosel and Jim Hausken.
Chuck Toombs is asking that you enable his vision by electing him and his ally, Patricia Gillette. I am concerned that if you vote for Toombs and Gillette you are endangering our rights as a community. If you empower this slate of candidates, you may be giving up more than you bargained for, including ultimately our independent police force itself.
Toombs has consistently shown that his idea of government mainly involves civility; questions about accountability are considered to be impolite at best and very possibly illegal. The process for citizen’s complaints against police has a catch-22 that provides police complete protection and provides the citizen who raises the complaint no protection at all *. An old news item about the chief’s misuse of the business credit card festers because 2 years on the audit recommendations for formal procedures have not been implemented **. Furthermore the recent salary review that Toombs pushed through appears to have been a give-away; the package includes retroactive pay-raises that go back 3 years, and the most generous pension plan in Contra Costa County.
The job of General Manager includes budgeting, planning and implementation of common accounting controls. Our chief routinely ignores his responsibilities as General Manager. Toombs lets him get away with this practice. Time and time again, Toombs seems to show that he has only two interests at heart: 1) Protection of the Chief and his staff at all costs; 2) The generation of copious legal bills for San Francisco attorneys, paid for out of your and my money for police protection.
Our current KPPCSD board has not produced a financial plan. Kensington residents face more and more costs without a commensurate improvement in Police Services. The reckless behavior of Toombs actually is endangering Kensington’s independent police force ***. If state funds dry up, if the district is obligated to meet the pension obligations in the future, the only way Kensington residents will be able to afford an independent police force is to vote for additional assessments, compounding the $200/parcel increase voters approved in 2010.
Kensington residents should not accept Toomb’s vision and continue the current state of affairs. After careful consideration I have decided to cast my vote for Cathie Kosel and Jim Hausken. I believe they provide the only clear alternative. They represent a valid alternative position to the current board majority. If we elect them Kensington can start to consider the real issues and implement real reforms. As a fellow Kensington resident, I urge you to vote for Kosel and Hausken. I think they are the best choice to best protect our interests as a community, not just the selfish interests of a few.
Thank you, Greg Collis Resident since 1994
* Citizens who have complaints about police conduct have no recourse but to the police; if they are still unsatisfied Toombs has stated they should raise the issue to the General Manger. However the GM is the Chief of Police. Toombs advised that the next step is for a citizen to raise the issue at a public KPPCSD board meeting. However Toombs has state that if anyone raises issues in public that are mentioned in a policeman’s personnel file, they may be liable to be sued for violating the Policeman's Bill of Rights. Toombs believes that the Chief and he can hire attorneys at their discretion, leading to this absurd position. Does this mean that if you have a valid police complaint, you may be sued by lawyers paid for by our special district for violating the Policeman’s bill of rights? Come on.
**Several years ago our Chief used his credit card for personnel expenses. At the time no procedure was in place to insure that the credit card was not used for personal expenses. Such procedures are usually developed by a Special District General Manager. Since no procedure was in place, the chief was able to pay back the expenses that he was not allowed to claim. Based on the lack of procedures, the District Attorney has concluded that no criminal wrongdoing occurred. However the audit clearly stated that Kensington's KPPCSD Special District had not implemented customary and standard accounting controls. Since the audit (2 years ago), it appears that the board has not addressed the issue that the KPPCSD needs to implement well defined business processes. Although they have appointed a committee, not one procedural policy had appeared on the agenda for board approval. As a result we are as vulnerable to credit card misuse now as when the chief misused the credit card two years ago.
As the Outlook admitted in the last issue, 2 years later only “de facto” regulations exist (Outlook Correction, p. 8. Oct. 31, 2012). The Merriam Webster definition of “de facto” is: 1) : ACTUAL; especially : being such in effect though not formally recognized <a de facto state of war> 2: exercising power as if legally constituted <a de facto government>; 3: resulting from economic or social factors rather than from laws or actions of the state <de facto segregation>.
In fact a prior police chief left after questions were raised about his use of funds. It appears no investigation was ever made of the prior chief’s conduct, and we are still paying his pension.
*** the KPPCSD only manages to pay current obligations using 1) State funds that explicitly say should not be anticipated in the future; and 2) a Special District slush fund. This fund has grown recently because the chief has chosen to delay implementation the 2010 Measure-G promise of a full muster of police.
Chuck Toombs continues to state that future government reforms authored by Jerry Brown will avoid future pension problems; however he has obligated Kensington to the current Pension deal by signing a contract with the Chief that includes explicit pension obligations. He is fully aware as he has stated in other arenas (i.e. the garbage dispute) that once a contract has been signed, its terms cannot be altered.
Also note that basic police costs and additional measure G cost increases are indexed based on property assessments. Some residents are blessed with old pre-proposition 13 assessments. For the rest of us, we face the full brunt of the impact of increased costs, based on the post- proposition 13 assessments. Why do we need to accept continued additional costs simply to provide the most generous pension payments and retirement health benefits in the county, if not the state?