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File #: 2022-2041   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 6/7/2022
Title: Recommendation to Authorize City Attorney to Effectuate the Transition for the Administration of the Rent Program from the Alameda Housing Authority, who Currently Acts as the City's Contract Program Administrator, Back In-house to the City of Alameda's City Attorney's Office; and Adoption of Resolution Amending the Salary Schedule for: the Alameda City Employees Association (ACEA) to Reinstate the Classification of Housing Specialist II and Approving Workforce Changes in the City Attorney's Office to Add Six New Positions: Three Housing Specialists, One Administrative Management Analyst, One Administrative Technician II Position, and One Director of Rent Program; and Authorize the City Attorney to Fill the Six New Positions Consistent with All Applicable Laws and Regulations. (City Attorney 20761840)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Contract, 2. Exhibit 2 - ACEA Salary Schedule, 3. Resolution

Title

Recommendation to Authorize City Attorney to Effectuate the Transition for the Administration of the Rent Program from the Alameda Housing Authority, who Currently Acts as the City’s Contract Program Administrator, Back In-house to the City of Alameda’s City Attorney’s Office; and

Adoption of Resolution Amending the Salary Schedule for: the Alameda City Employees Association (ACEA) to Reinstate the Classification of Housing Specialist II and Approving Workforce Changes in the City Attorney’s Office to Add Six New Positions:  Three Housing Specialists,  One Administrative Management Analyst, One Administrative Technician II Position, and One Director of Rent Program;  and

Authorize the City Attorney to Fill the Six New Positions Consistent with All Applicable Laws and Regulations. (City Attorney 20761840)

 

Body

 

To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

Following City Council direction on April 12, 2022, directing staff to return with a plan to facilitate transitioning the Rent Program, in-house, back to the City of Alameda (“City”), as a component of the City Attorney’s Office (“CAO”).  Staff has had productive discussions with the Alameda Housing Authority (“Housing Authority”).  Through those discussions, with a shared goal for a smooth and seamless transition, staff from both sides tentatively agreed that October 1, 2022 would be the best date to transition the program back to the City. 

 

It is recommended to add six positions to the City Attorney’s Office to support the operations of the Rent Program. The recommended positions reflect the duties currently performed by Housing Authority employees assigned to the Rent Program. The classifications recommended for the program are Director of Rent Program, Administrative Management Analyst, Administrative Technician II, and Housing Specialist II. The latter classification, Housing Specialist II, will be reinstated in the Alameda City Employees Association (ACEA) Salary schedule as the position was removed in 2008 when the Housing Authority was established as an agency separate from the City. The Director of Rent Program will be established as 37.5 hour week but the other five positions will be assigned to a 36-hour workweek.

 

Coincident with the transition, staff is working internally to house the City’s Rent Program staff at City Hall West (“CHW”) in an effort to both save on rental costs and to facilitate closer integration with other City employees and departments.

 

BACKGROUND

 

The City currently has a Staffing Services Agreement with the Housing Authority to administer the City’s Rent Program, which is now in its final year.  More specifically, following the City Council’s initial adoption of the Rent Review, Rent Stabilization and Limitations on Evictions Ordinance in March 2016, the City Council approved an agreement between the City and the Housing Authority to administer the Rent Program through June 30, 2017. Subsequently, on June 6, 2017, the City Council approved a three-year contract with the Housing Authority to administer of the program. Then on June 16, 2020, the City Council authorized another three-year extension of the Housing Authority contract with annual budgets of $1,294,970 for Fiscal Year 2020-21, $1,376,529, for Fiscal Year 2021-22, and $1,471,870 for Fiscal Year 2022-23. 

 

As we head into the final year of the existing contract with Housing Authority, on April 12, 2022, the City Council directed staff to return with a plan to facilitate transitioning the administration of the Rent Program back to the City of Alameda, as a component of the City Attorney’s Office, similar to the City’s Risk Management function.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Following City Council direction on this topic, CAO staff, in coordination with other City Departments, including the Human Resources Department, Finance Department, the Public Works Department, the Information Technology Department and the City Manager’s Office, has worked collaboratively with Housing Authority staff to facilitate a seamless transition, if ultimately approved by the City Council.

 

Following the April 12 City Council direction, Housing Authority Staff informed the CAO that September 1 or October 1 of 2022 would be preferred transition dates in order to best maintain staffing and operational capacities.  City staff internally reviewed the proposal and agree that an October 1, 2022 transition date can be effectuated, and seeks City Council authorization to proceed.  Given the complexities associated with a significant program transition along with physical move of staff and equipment, staff requests Council authorization to give the City Attorney flexibility in implementing the transition with mutual agreement from the Housing Authority, including the transition date, to the extent necessary to ensure a smooth transition and meet unforeseen circumstances.

 

As part of the transition, staff is seeking City Council authorization to establish six new City positions, which would maintain current staffing levels-i.e., the six existing Housing Authority positions-assigned to the Rent Program.  Currently, under the Housing Authority, the Rent Program is currently staffed in the following manner:

 

Position

Number of Staff

Function

Director of Rent Program

1

Directs the overall operation of the Program

Management Analyst

1

- Handle complex projects - Manage front-line program staff - Manage the Program’s IT and public presence - Provide backup in all areas

Housing Specialist

3

Handle day-to-day operations of the Program such as: - General landlord-tenant concerns - Petitions hearings - Buyout agreements - Database management - Registration and fee payment processing - Outreach and workshops - Language translations

Program Assistant

1

- Field all general/initial inquiries for the Program - Process PRA requests - Provided general administrative and office manage support 

 

 

Based on a recent survey of comparable Rent Control jurisdictions with registration requirements, Alameda’s current staffing levels are extremely lean.  Alameda currently has 0.2 staff for every 1,000 regulated units, compared to 1.1 for Berkeley, 0.92 for Santa Monica, 0.5 for West Hollywood, and 0.31 for Oakland.

 

Upon transition to the City, the Program staff would further be tasked with handling the policy work for the Program, in coordination with the CAO and other City Departments.  This additional responsibility is significant, and will add substantial work to the Program.  Nonetheless, in an effort to control Program costs, Staff recommends keeping staff level the same and seek to find efficiency savings to absorb the additional work.

 

Accordingly staff recommends establishing parallel City staffing for the Rent Program as follows:

                     One Director of Rent Program

This position will be an at-will and exempt position and would be established through an employment agreement to be executed by the employee and the City Attorney on behalf of the City.  The salary range for this position is proposed to be established at the same level as the City’s Assistant Director of Community Development and Assistant Director of Planning, Building and Transportation adjusted for a 37.5 hour workweek to more closely align the salary being paid for the position at the Housing Authority. Consistent with the responsibilities and at-will nature of the position, the position would receive the same benefits as other Executive Management Employees (EXME).

 

 

 

                     One Administrative Management Analyst

This position will be exempt and is a similar classification to the Management Analyst at the Housing Authority.

                     One Administrative Technician II

This position will be confidential non-exempt hourly and is a similar classification to the Program Assistant at the Housing Authority.

                     Three Housing Specialist II

The Housing Specialist II classification will be assigned to the Alameda City Employee Association (ACEA) Salary schedule. Because this position had been deleted from the Salary Schedule in 2008, when the Housing Authority became a separate agency, the salary had not been updated. The updated recommended salary range is below:

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

The proposed FY 2022-23 baseline budget for the Rent Program, as currently housed at the Housing Authority, and with legal support in the City Attorney’s Office and clerical support in the Finance Department, is $2,148,000, which is well in excess of expected fee revenue of $1,780,000. With the proposed transition of Rent Program staff to the City Attorney’s Office, the proposed budget for FY 2022-23 would total $2,102,000, or $46,000 less than the baseline.

 

The sources and proposed uses for the Rent Program in FY 2022-23 breakdown as follows:

 

Sources

Amount

Rent Stabilization Fee

$1,780,000

Total Sources

$1,780,000

Uses

 

Salaries and Benefits

 

Rent Program Director

$262,000

Administrative Management Analyst

$171,000

Administrative Technician II

$117,000

Three (3) Housing Specialist II

$385,000

80% Senior Account Clerk

$94,000

50% Chief Assistant City Attorney

$146,000

50% for Two (2) Assistant City Attorney II

$265,000

50% Paralegal

$70,000

Salaries and Benefits Subtotal

$1,510,000

Services (Hearing officers, translation services)

$295,000

Supplies (Printing, Postage, Rent Registry Subscription)

$166,000

Internal Service Cost Allocation

$131,000

Total Uses

$2,102,000

 

Even with the $46,000 in savings, the proposed FY 2022-23 expenditure budget for the Rent Program of $2,102,000 still exceeds the expected fee revenue of $1,780,000, by $322,000. 

 

In order to balance the budget in the Rent Stabilization Fund, City Council could authorize a General Fund transfer to the Rent Program, or direct staff to study a fee increase for fully recovering the program costs.

 

The Rent Program, like most if not all other Rent Control Agencies, is entirely funded by registration fees paid by landlords and tenants.  Accordingly, staff looks for every opportunity to save costs.  As part of this move, City Council discussed interest in continuing to look for creative cost saving opportunities on behalf of the City’s landlords and tenants.  In order to cover the $322,000 in program budget deficit, staff recommends a duel track strategy.  First, General Fund transfer to cover two aspects of program costs 1) space rent at City Hall West; and 2) cost allocation for unfunded City pension liabilities, which is expected to be around $230,000.  Second, direct staff to review and adjust Rent Program fees in the coming year to cover the remaining $92,000.

 

The proposed expenditures, including a General Fund transfer, if directed by Council, would be subject to City Council appropriations approval as part of adoption of the FY 2022-23 Mid-Cycle Budget Update that will be presented to City Council on June 21, 2022.

 

ALTERNATIVES

 

                     Staff Recommendation - Authorize the transition of the Rent Program as recommended and approve the workforce changes as described in the staff report, and direct staff to balance the budget of the Rent Stabilization Fund with a General Fund transfer and further review of Program Fees.

                     Alternative 1 - Authorize the transition of the Rent Program and approve the workforce changes as described in the staff report, and direct staff to study a fee increase for fully recovering the program costs.

                     Alternative 2 - Do not authorize the transition of the Rent Program.

MUNICIPAL CODE/POLICY DOCUMENT CROSS REFERENCE

 

This action is consistent with the Alameda Municipal Code.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

 

This activity is not a project and is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to section 15378(b)(2), (4) & (5) of the CEQA guidelines, because it involves the governmental fiscal and organizational activities which does not involve any activity which could result in a potentially significant physical impact on the environment.

 

CLIMATE IMPACTS

 

There are no identifiable climate impacts or climate action opportunities associated with the subject of this report.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Authorize the City Attorney to effectuate the transition for the administration of the Rent Program from the Alameda Housing Authority, who currently acts as the City’s Contract Program Administrator, back in-house to the City of Alameda’s City Attorney’s Office;

 

Adopt a resolution amending the salary schedule for: the Alameda City Employees Association (ACEA) to add the classification of Housing Specialist II and approving workforce changes in the City Attorney’s Office to Add six new positions:  three Housing Specialists,  one Administrative Management Analyst, one Administrative Technician II position, and one Director of Rent Program; 

 

Authorize the City Attorney to fill the six new positions consistent with all applicable laws and regulations; and

 

Authorize amending the salary schedule for the Alameda City Employees Association (ACEA) to reinstate the classification of Housing Specialist II.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

Yibin Shen, City Attorney

Nancy Bronstein, Human Resources Director

 

Financial Impact section reviewed,

Margaret L. O’Brien, Finance Director

 

Exhibit:

1.                     Contract

2.                     ACEA Salary Schedule

 

cc:                     Dirk Brazil, Interim City Manager