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City Manager's Blog

Apr 12

Remembering Tyrone Hairston and SART Investigation

Posted on April 12, 2019 at 10:33 AM by Thomas Reeves

This week marks the anniversary of one of the most tragic events in the history of our organization.  One year ago, Tyrone Hairston died while engaged in the installation of a light pole along our city streets.  We lost a coworker and friend to many in the organization.

A year ago, I made a commitment to our employees that we would review the incident in great detail, seek outside professional expertise to provide recommendations for any needed changes to our safety program, and to ensure this type of accident does not happen again.

I am announcing the completion of the Serious Accident Review Team (SART) investigation.  As I committed to our team last April, I would share the findings upon completion, and have attached the final reports to this blog post for your information.  The reports identified significant safety issues, and the city is taking appropriate disciplinary actions in response to this report and the city’s internal investigation.

It’s critical that safety always remain our top priority, and I can report that steps have been taken to strengthen our safety program.  Although much work has been done, we will not let up until every employee feels safe.  
  • The city added a new Safety Officer position, who is responsible for the proactive coordination of the overall safety program, and ensuring that key safety communications, written programs, and safety trainings are updated and delivered.  
  • Safety procedures have been reviewed and enhanced.  For example, work crews must conduct pre-job hazard analyses and briefings to ensure proper identification of potential hazards, safe practices are in place, and proper selection and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is deployed.  
This week, our employees and members of the City Council took time to remember Tyrone on the anniversary of his passing.  I hope you, too, remember his life, and the importance of safety in the workplace.

Serious Accident Review Team Investigation Report - April 2019

Mar 28

February City Manager's Monthly Report Released

Posted on March 28, 2019 at 2:45 PM by Thomas Reeves

Council and Community:

It’s time for an update on the major efforts underway aimed at addressing the needs of our community. Our team is working hard on the Capital Improvement Program, and I encourage you to flip through the pages of this report for the status of projects that may be of interest to you.

Here’s a snapshot of accomplishments for the month of February:
  • In the Financial Report, you will see that the city has received $10.65 million in General Fund revenues for February. These revenues were received mainly in the areas of Sales Tax ($2.66M), Business License/Mill Tax ($2.25M), and Utility Users Tax ($1.18M). To date the General Fund has received approximately 55.6% of the total budgeted revenues for Fiscal Year 2018-19. The city has expended $8.3 million in General Fund dollars, which represents approximately 6.0% of the total FY 2018-19 Operating Budget. To date, there have been total expenditures of $85.97 million. The financial report can be found on page 3.
  • For Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhoods and the John Thurman Field Capital Improvements, much work was accomplished on the replacement of 1,000 upper box seats, and the replacement of the score board – page 14.
  • In the Utilities Department, significant work was accomplished on the Del Rio Tank 14, Well 68, and Pump Station project despite the inclement weather. In addition to replacing an existing irrigation pipeline, rough grading for the tank site was complete – more on page 16. For the Amtrak North Parking Lot Project, pre-construction activities began corresponding to the “Notice To Proceed” issued this month – more on page 19.
As always, please let me know if you have any suggestions on sharing this material with the community.

I look forward to seeing the great work of our teams in the month of March.

Click for the full February City Manager's Update
Feb 22

County, City Propose Next Phase of the Short-Term Homeless Stabilization Plan

Posted on February 22, 2019 at 5:18 PM by Thomas Reeves

Stanislaus County Chief Executive Officer Jody Hayes and I are pleased to announce a proposal for the next phase of Modesto's short-term homeless stabilization plan.  On Tuesday, the county Board of Supervisors and the Modesto City Council will vote on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which establishes a creative arrangement between our two jurisdictions and the Salvation Army aimed at increasing the transitional housing beds available to those experiencing homelessness in the Modesto community.  

The proposed MOU, another first of its kind in addressing homelessness, seeks to add 180 additional beds to those existing – roughly 150 – at the Salvation Army shelter on 9th and D Streets in downtown Modesto.   As part of the MOU, the county will lease space from the Salvation Army to provide these high-access shelter beds, and will lease space from the city for the one-stop Access Center.  As a partner in the MOU, the city will be making substantial infrastructure improvements to the facility, including to Salvation Army’s sewer and water lines, and parking lots.  The city will also enter into a no-cost lease with Salvation Army to expand its footprint into an adjacent lot.  

Government alone is not the solution to the homeless crisis, and we must rely on other public and private partners in bringing resources to the table.

Several private organizations have partnered with the county and city on this project, and have pledged financial resources to improving the Salvation Army facility.  Beard Land Improvement Company, E. & J. Gallo Winery, and Stanislaus Food Products, have expressed their commitment to meeting the needs of this critical population.  

These private companies are working hard to assist the City and County with solutions to help our citizens get out of homelessness, in the downtown area and beyond.  Their positive attitudes are reflected in the sentiment, "If we don't try something, we won't improve the homeless situation in the downtown area." 

With this MOU, the city and county have reaffirmed our dedication to the overall strategies of the Focus on Prevention program and, specifically, breaking the cycle of homelessness.  Salvation Army provides for the transitional housing needs of those who will one day need to leave the emergency shelter tents under the 9th Street Bridge before finding permanent housing.  

In the four months after Beard Brook Park was opened to camping:
  • Over 400 homeless individuals called Beard Brook Park their temporary home;
  • 69 received at least one supportive service;
  • 43 received assistance with social service benefits; 
  • 14 received assistance from the Homeless Court Program to help resolve charges against them;
  • 36 were placed in an emergency shelter; and
  • 24 were placed in transitional, rapid, or permanent supportive housing.
I'm excited to share this news with you, and I will share more about our overall plan in the coming months, as we strive to provide more long-term solutions to homelessness.