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Do I have to live in Saratoga or be a resident of California and have a California driver's license in order to apply?

You do not have to live in Saratoga to work for the City. If driving a motor vehicle is part of the job description, you will be required to have a valid California driver's license.

Do I need a resume?
It is not necessary that you provide a resume with your application. There is room on the application form to list your education and experience. However, a well-drafted, concise, current resume will set forth your background in the manner in which you have chosen.  You may attach your resume to your application through our on-line application process previously mentioned.
How do I find out if there are any job openings?
All job openings are advertised in various newspapers and/or relevant websites or publications and are also posted in the City Hall Finance and Administration Building Lobby. In addition, you may check the employment opportunities on the City's website, www.saratoga.ca.us  or call the Human Resources Division at 408-868-1265.
How long does it take to decide who gets the job?
Although there is no set time required to select an applicant, every effort is made to reach a prompt decision. The length of time depends on the number of applications to be screened and the nature of the position. Normally, a decision will be made between 15 and 45 days after the job advertisement has expired.
How many jobs can I apply for with one application?
You can apply for as many jobs as there are current openings; however, a separate application is required for each position for which you are applying.
What must I include in my employment application?
Incomplete applications will not be considered. Resumes do not replace the application so please do not refer to your resume for additional information. If you need assistance in the application process, please let the Human Resources Department know your needs and accommodations will be made for you.

What must I include in the application?
INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED. Resumes do not replace the application so please do not refer to your resume for additional information.  If you need assistance in the application process, please let the Human Resources Department know your needs and accommodations will be made for you.
Where do I apply and do I have to apply in person?
Applicants are encouraged to apply on-line through our website www.saratoga.ca.us which directly connects with CalOpps.org.  The City has partnered with CalOpps.org to develop a true public sector job board so that you may be informed of the most current job opportunities. The goal--to make it easy for you to search and apply for public agency employment opportunities. If applying on-line is not an option for you, hard copy applications are available in the Human Resources Division Office or you may call the office at 408-868-1265 for an application to be mailed to you.  You may drop off the application in person or mail the application to the Human Resources Division, 13777 Fruitvale Avenue, Saratoga, CA 95070.
Who can apply for a job with the City of Saratoga?
Anyone can! Most jobs have a required level of education, experience, skills, and abilities which will be set forth in the job announcement.
Who reviews my application and who will interview me?
After the closing date for a particular job vacancy announcement, all applications are reviewed by the Human Resources Division and the hiring supervisor. Persons who do not meet the minimum requirements are removed from consideration. Qualified applicants are reviewed by the department which has the job vacancy and that department decides who will be interviewed.
Will I be interviewed when I pick-up or drop-off my employment application?
No. You will be notified at a later date if you have been selected to continue in the recruitment process based on your experience meeting the minimum qualifications.
Will I be tested?
Applicants for positions which require particular knowledge and skills may be tested. For example, an applicant for a job which requires clerical skills such as typing and filing will be tested in those areas. If you have a disability and require a reasonable accommodation in the testing process, please let the Human Resources Division know your needs and accommodations will be made for you.
What is the retirement plan for the City of Saratoga and how does it work?

Fact Sheet:  Local Government Retirement Plans

What type of retirement plan do local governments have?

  • The State of California and most local governments in California use a defined benefit (DB) retirement plan managed by the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS). 

 

  • PERS retirement plans were intended to serve the safety-net function associated with Social Security, and provide adequate retirement funds for individuals who have had long careers in public service.  The bulk of municipalities that participate in PERS retirement plans do not participate in Social Security.

 

  • There is one PERS plan for public safety employees, and a separate plan for all other qualified employees.

 

How do Defined Benefit Plans Work?

  •  A DB plan provides a guaranteed annual retirement pension based on a formula that considers retirement age, years of service, and salary. The annual benefit is distributed in monthly payments. The payment amount is adjusted annually for inflation, subject to a cap on the allowed increase.  For most jurisdictions, the cap on the increased payment is 2%.

 

  • A common formula for a public (non-safety) employee is 2.7% at age 55.  An employee who retires with an annual salary of $65,000 after working 20 years would earn an annual benefit of $35,100. 

 

  • The formula for a safety employee would be 3% at age 50.  For example, a police officer who retires with a final salary of $100,000 after working 20 years would receive an annual benefit of $60,000.

How are Defined Benefit Plans Funded?

  • DB benefit plans are typically financed by employee and employer contributions, and from investment income on those contributions, as managed by CalPERS.  Historically, interest earnings have funded about 70%-75% of retirement benefits.

 

  • Most employee contribution amounts are established at a fixed rate, averaging between 7-9% of their annual salary. 

 

  • Each individual city or county employer rate is adjusted every year based on an actuarial evaluation, which takes into account the performance of the CalPERS investment portfolio, and the expected pension obligation for the particular city or county.    

What are the Current Issues Facing the Public Retirement System?

  • Many cities provided enhanced benefit plans following the stock market boom of the 1990s.  While there is no majority formula, the enhanced plans commonly shifted cities from a 2% at 55 formula to a 2.7% at 55 formula. For safety employees the formula shifted from 3% at 55 to 3% at 50. These enhanced plans are not sustainable.

 

  • The economic recession and significant losses in PERS investment returns have made current retirement benefit formulas unsustainable.  As mentioned above, about 70%-75% of the defined benefit plans have traditionally been funded by interest earnings. Recent losses in the stock market and housing markets have caused significant losses in the CalPERS investment portfolio. As CalPERS investment funds diminish, cities CalPERS payments increase, resulting in decreased resources for delivering city services. 

What Can be Done to Control Public Retirement Benefit Costs?

  • Santa Clara County cities, like other California municipalities, are committed to moving toward a modified retirement benefit system to reduce public pension costs.

 

  • Cities in Santa Clara County are actively exploring a regional, sustainable retirement plan that modifies employee and employer contributions and/or reduces retirement benefit formulas.

 

FAQ: Local Government Retirement Plans

Q:    Why does local government use a defined benefit plan?

A: Historically, local governments could not afford to pay private-sector wages and salaries for comparable work.  They competed for potential employees, particularly in public safety, by offering instead a guaranteed and more generous retirement income in the form of a defined benefit plan 
 

Q:    If the current public retirement system is too expensive, why don't municipalities just switch to a different plan?
 
A:  Cities cannot lawfully change employee benefit plans for current employees. Changes for future employees require renegotiating agreements with labor organizations.

There are also cost considerations to switch plans, including: 1) additional start-up costs that would impact governmental budgets; 2) closed plans actuarially cost more due to the smaller population to spread risk and loss of revenue from new members who terminate without vesting; and 3) added burden to the State to cover disability, death and Social Security benefits.  Defined Contribution plans also cost more in administrative fees and produce a smaller benefit at retirement on the same amount of investment dollars as a DB plan.     

Additionally, each municipality is concerned that if it is the first to switch to a modified, more affordable retirement plan, then it will be at a disadvantage in recruiting talented new staff.  The current joint effort by all cities in the counties of San Mateo and Santa Clara would pre-empt that recruitment problem on the Peninsula and in the South Bay.

Finally, cities consider a modified defined benefit plan to be the most beneficial for employees as the base for retirement, since most PERS agencies do not participate in Social Security.

 
Q:    What types of solutions are cities considering to address the high cost of public pensions?  

A: The most common suggestion is that cities renegotiate bargaining agreements with represented employees such that new hires be placed in a more affordable, less generous pension option from the menu already available from CalPERS.  This "two-tier" approach would reduce costs in the long run, as the workforce slowly turns over.

Another suggestion is that local governments negotiate with employees to contribute more out of their current paychecks toward the cost of their retirement benefits.  This would produce immediate savings for local government budgets.

Q:    How will changing the retirement benefit formula or amount of employee/employer contribution affect new and current employees?

A: The most commonly discussed change to the retirement benefit formula, the two-tier approach, would affect only new hires into local government; they would receive less generous, but still guaranteed, retirement benefits than their coworkers who were hired earlier.  Increasing the employee contribution would reduce the pay, but not the pension, of both new and current employees.

Q:    Why don't public agencies just move to a single, unified retirement system?

A: CalPERS, in which most public agencies participate, is indeed a single, unified retirement system, with all the attendant economies of scale in administration and investing.  In fact, CalPERS is the largest pension fund in the United States, public or private.  It offers a menu of retirement options with differing levels of benefits, and costs, among which individual local governments choose in order best to match their own recruitment and retention needs.

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