City Employees Get Another Holiday…and We Get a Break from Construction Noise

Last year Beverly Hills reached agreement with city labor unions to bump-up pay and benefits. Pay will rise much faster than inflation and employees can now cash-out a full two to four weeks of unused vacation time for pension-padding compensation under the new agreement. These changes, and more, will add $12 million in new employee costs over three years. But this new perk caught our eye: a new paid city holiday added to the existing ten city holidays. ‘Juneteenth’  falls on June 19th.  If city council could, by the stroke of the pen, create a new paid holiday….can’t could make Juneteenth a construction holiday too?

Update Turns out the joke was on us: city employees got their paid holiday but Beverly Hills residents didn’t get their promised peace and quiet. We discovered the Juneteenth construction holiday was a nonstarter when we reported active construction to city hall and were told by police that there was no construction holiday in effect.
Turns out that the resolution that created the construction holiday was adopted by city council on May 21st; it then took effect 31 days later, making the effective date on June 21st — not June 19th. Code Enforcement Manager Leslie Medina sent out a memo. “Construction moratorium for holiday construction for Juneteenth is not in effect until June 21, 2024. Therefore, we cannot enforce it….” City staff waited five months after council created their paid holiday to bring the construction holiday resolution to council. It came two days late for the rest of us so the Juneteenth construction holiday starts in 2025.

Employees Get Another Paid Holiday…

December city council approved new labor agreements with all of the non-safety employee unions and among the $12 million in higher pay and new perks is the new paid holiday for city employees: Juneteenth. That brings the number of annual paid employee holidays to eleven. And it comes on top of two to four weeks of paid vacation; additional time off for personal use, sick leave and bereavement; and time available for outside professional development. Many employees also get every other Friday off in a ‘flex-time’ arrangement.

From our perspective, the additional holiday represents another lost day of city services for which the city already pays dearly. Tenants who find that our needs are not being met by city hall might chafe at the additional giveaway. Read about the pay hike and the raft of new perks in the December 5, 2024 staff report.

Here’s some backstory.

Close watchers of city hall are accustomed to seeing the city give-away the store to the public employee unions. It happens in every bargaining cycle; in fact labor negotiations have never come to an impasse in Beverly Hills because the city manager, this time Nancy Hunt-Coffey, has no incentive to limit pay and perks when negotiating. Hunt-Coffey herself was just awarded an additional $30k annual “performance pay” award on top of last year’s $388,000 regular compensation.

Check out the 2023 employees salaries spreadsheet. All of the city’s top executives take home tens of thousands of dollars in additional cash compensation.

When everybody is at the money trough then that can undermine the zeal for real negotiating. So it comes as no surprise that the unions won a giveaway: 4.5% annual increase each year over this 3-year agreement (at a time when consumer prices are rising more modestly) and, of course, a new paid holiday.

Juneteenth will be celebrated every June 19th. Because it falls on a Wednesday this year, and because many employees take every other Friday off for ‘flex-time,’ we expect some employees take Thursday as a vacation day. City hall will effectively be closed from Wednesday through Monday.

From our perspective, the new means another lost day of city services. The fact is that we can’t get code enforcement today to sufficiently enforce laws that protect tenants. Do we need another day of potential productivity lost to a holiday?

Residents Get a New Construction Holiday

If there is any silver lining is that we residents get another ‘construction holiday.’ As a reminder, according to B.H.M.C section 5–1–205(A), “No person shall engage in construction, maintenance or repair work which requires a city permit between the hours of six o’clock (6:00) P.M. and eight o’clock (8:00) A.M. of any day, or at any time on a Sunday or a holiday…” The current construction holidays now number twelve including Juneteenth.

  1. New Year’s Day (January 1st).
  2. Martin Luther King Jr. Day (3rd Monday in January).
  3. Presidents’ Day (3rd Monday in February).
  4. Memorial Day (Last Monday in May).
  5. Juneteenth (June 19th).
  6. Independence Day (4th of July).
  7. Labor Day (1st Monday in September).
  8. Yom Kippur.
  9. Veterans Day (November 11th).
  10. Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday in November).
  11. The day after Thanksgiving Day.
  12. Christmas Day (December 25th).

Read the city’s notice about Juneteenth. Landlords should know about the new holiday. So if you see or hear work that would seem to require a permit please call the BHPD non-emergency number (310–550–4951) and they should send the on-duty code enforcement over. But as with so much in Beverly Hills we suggest you trust but verify: follow-up to make sure that somebody did respond.

(Read about what kind of work requires a permit in our explainer: What Type of Construction Requires a City Permit?)

How We Won the New Construction Holiday

Several years we found city hall had not recognized all city holidays as construction holidays. Presidents’ Day, for example, was not recognized as a construction holiday, which we learned in 2020 when a major remodel kicked-off next door on the holiday. It wasn’t just Presidents’ Day. At that time two other federal and city holidays were not deemed to be construction holidays. We spoke up and the city agreed to recognize them as construction holidays.

Fast forward to this past December. We saw city council recognize Juneteenth as a paid holiday for employees. So we couldn’t help but wonder, Will city hall recognize it as a construction holiday too? The December 5, 2024 agenda showed an item for labor agreement approval but didn’t show a companion item to designate Juneteenth as a construction holiday.

In mid-December we ask about it. “Thank you for your inquiry,” said the city’s reply. “Yes, the amendment to BHMC 5–1–205 will be taken to City Council for adoption which will add the new holiday ‘Juneteenth’ to the construction moratorium list.”

So we waited. That amendment didn’t come back to city council. So we followed up again as the new holiday approached. “Recently city council agreed on a new city holiday (Juneteenth) and that is great for city employees,” we wrote in late April. “City council has not amended BHMC 5–1–205 to include it as a holiday. Will city council designate this as a construction holiday in time for Juneteenth 2024 so that residents can also enjoy peace and quiet on this new city holiday?”

Assistant city manager Ryan Gohlich, who actually runs the city, was the one to respond. “I’m happy to report that we will actually be bringing an ordinance forward to formally establish the new holiday, and include it on the list of holidays where construction is prohibited.” It did indeed appear on the May 17, 2024 city council agenda and was adopted without discussion as ordinance 24-O–2895.

Almost six months passed between the time city council recognized the new paid holiday and the time it was also designated as a construction holiday. Had we not asked, and even then followed up, would Juneteenth have been added? Likely not!

See Something, Say Something!

We residents must be vigilant in monitoring our neighborhood for holiday construction. B.H.M.C section 5–1–205(A) prohibits work that requires a permit on Saturdays, Sundays and construction holidays. Workers may not even enter a worksite prior to 8:00 A.M. on any allowed workday….much less do so when it is prohibited on a construction holiday.

If you see something, say something! Call the BHPD non-emergency number to report it: 310–550–4951. And then be sure to follow up again to make sure that the on-duty code enforcement officer was actually dispatched.

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