PIEDMONT -- Police Capt. Scott Wyatt has announced his retirement from the force at the end of the year after eight years of service.
Wyatt was a mainstay for the department, serving many months as interim police chief after John Hunt left and while the search was on for a new chief.
At Monday's City Council meeting, Chief Rikki Goede introduced the new captain who will take Wyatt's place. Jeremy Bowers, an 18-year veteran of the San Jose Police Department, will begin work Sept. 8. Bowers served San Jose in numerous capacities, including undercover narcotics, sexual assault investigation, officer training and adjutant to the chief.
Goede said Bowers emerged as the top choice after interviewing several candidates for the position. He holds a master's degree in criminology from UC Irvine. Bowers, his wife and three children plan to move to Piedmont, where the children will attend Piedmont schools.
"He is competent and reliable," Goede said. "He has received many commendations and awards for his service. We worked together."
She explained that Bowers will come on board early to work with Wyatt to familiarize himself with the job and the community. He attended a school welcome at Beach to meet the community and is anxious to join the department's team, he said.
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity," Bowers said. "This was a fit for me and my family. I will take this job seriously."
Bowers' salary is $13,462 per month and his annual salary will be $161,544. He comes in under the second tier retirement plan with 2 percent at 50.
In other business, the council grappled with a proposal to remove all the pay phones on city property to save $8,163 per year. There are nine pay phones: police department; city hall; two at community hall; tennis courts; Coaches, Hampton and Beach playfields; and Veterans Hall. City Administrator Paul Benoit noted that with cell phones, the pay phones are rarely used and are relatively obsolete.
Goede checked usage of the phones. In the past 18 months, there were 26 false 911 call hang-ups probably made by youngsters playing with the phones. The council decided to keep only the pay phone in the police department lobby.
Katie Kaneko of Koff and Associates outlined a study by her firm that analyzed the jobs performed by 40 miscellaneous employees. The employees filled out questionnaires and were interviewed. Four positions were determined as misclassified, all in the Planning Department. She recommended changing city planner to director of planning; planning technician II to assistant planner; assistant planner to senior planner and planning technician I and II be classified as nonexempt.
The council approved her recommendations, which will go before the Civil Service Commission for review and come back to the council. Salary adjustments may be made following the final review.
The council formalized the hiring of Recreation Director Sara Lillevand, who will be paid $12,500 per month with a $5,000 per year vehicle allowance. She will join Piedmont on Sept. 22. There will be a reception to welcome the new employees at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 15 at City Hall plaza.
The council also renewed a use agreement with Piedmont Swim Team for $23,450 for the first year and $24,575 for the second year. The agreement runs from Aug. 18, 2014, through Aug. 14, 2016.
Public Works Director Chester Nakahara reviewed the water-saving measures being implemented by the city, which is 25 percent under budget. Those include replacing old irrigation systems with more efficient ones, reusing water to wash sports surfaces like tennis courts, recapturing water from weekly tests of the fire engine pumpers and planting more flower bulbs which are drought-tolerant. The recaptured water is used for irrigation.
"We are doing a good job conserving water," Nakahara said.