This article was posted on Monday, Oct 15, 2012

The members of the Alam¬eda County Grand jury serve as watchdogs to the city, county and district operations. They investigate complaints and inquire into pub¬lic offenses submitted to them throughout the year.
Recently, the grand jury sub¬mitted their 2011-2012 final re¬port to the Superior Court. This report contains a detailed ac¬count of its activities, together with suggestions and recom-mendations representing the in¬vestigations of the entire grand jury.
Stating that lack of account¬ability was a common theme among elected or appointed boards with no oversight other than voters, here is what they reported on the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board (BRSB).
BRSB is a governmental entity with its own source of revenue “ registration fees.

The board is elected by Berkeley residents and is gen¬erally pro tenant with little ac-countability to the landlords who fund the operations of the board. Thus, the board has little to no incentive to control costs. In an era where most gov¬ernmental entities must control costs, BRSB has been exempt from these pressures because it has a dedicated source of funds and is a self-sustaining 2011-2012 Alameda County Grand Jury Final Report bureaucracy. Berkeley voters are the only ones who can change the direc¬tion of the BRSB and so far they have not shown any inclination to do that.
While the BRSB does pro¬vide rent control that voters ap¬pear to want, the board is not providing strong enough over¬sight, not holding the agency accountable “ not scrutinizing personnel hiring, not question¬ing compensation, not balanc¬ing both landlord and tenant interests, not trying to constrain increases in registration fees.
For example, the executive di¬rector makes an exorbitant sal¬ary that comprises nearly 5% of the entire budget of the agency. The Grand Jury finds this un¬acceptable and concludes the board needs to reprioritize ser¬vices and to reduce costs not only in its administration but in services to the citizens of Berke¬ley.
The Berkeley Rent Stabiliza¬tion Board’s independence from the city of Berkeley contributes to its excesses. Too often, it op¬erates without traditional admin¬istrative controls that could be provided by the city of Berkeley.

¢ The Berkeley Rent Stabiliza¬tion Board must reduce the high rental unit registration fees.
¢ The Berkeley Rent Stabiliza¬tion Board must allow land¬lords to pass through a larger proportion of the registration fee to tenants.
¢ The Berkeley Rent Stabiliza¬tion Board must ask the city of Berkeley Human Resources Department for a thorough po¬sition-control audit to evaluate the number of staff, the clas-sifications and workload.
¢ The Berkeley Rent Stabiliza¬tion Board must ask the city Human Resources department to provide more comprehen¬sive salary comparisons regu¬larly and use them in setting salaries and benefits, including those of the executive director and the board members.
¢ The Berkeley Rent Stabiliza¬tion Board must conduct an¬nual performance reviews of the executive director to provide more effective over¬sight.

Dan’s Note: So, what’s new? Also, this is no different than the tenant welfare, (i.e. rent con-trol), that the majority approve. Who cares as long as it’s some¬body else’s money or property.
Wake up dear housing pro¬vider. Berkeley is not the only city where housing providers are being raped. The politi¬cians and city employees, many of which are nothing but leeches living off you and me, would like to take even more. And don’t think it will never hit your city “ they can’t wait to get their clammy hands on your property too! Just look at the late fees that cities charge. ‘s OK for them to charge 100% to 150%, but charge a few dollars for a late rent payment and you are a greedy landlord.
It all fits very nicely with our new welfare mentality of redis¬tributing the wealth and put-ting it to the 1%. I’ve got news for you “ YOU are that 1%!

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