|Two gents in comfortable shades of brown.|
As potentially embarrassing as this might be to these fellows (and I use the word potentially because there is the possibility that they are not actually capable of feeling embarrassment), it is apparently preferable to them than actually following the wishes of the taxpayers. Which, as we know, is reducing taxes through diminishing the size and cost of our city's government. Why they're like this, well, we're not certain. Though it could be that the condition is genetic. You know, like a cowlick. Or ears that stick out in a funny way, catching the wind and causing the head to spin. Or even the affliction known as flat feet. Which some may find amusing, but good luck finding shoes that fit.
Unfortunately, the guys we have taken to calling the Brown Act Boys Club (so named because they are fellows who some believe have been taking private dancing lessons together), apparently answer to interests other than the taxpayers. Why else would they be going to such lengths to not bring spending into line with the voter designated amounts of folding money a 6% UUT would raise? That would certainly be something easier to accomplish than many of the strenuous and reactionary things they are attempting now.
Those would be the questions of the day for me. Fortunately there are some answers.
Rachelle Arizmendi and Denise Delmar have a plan that, should it be adopted, would achieve the kinds of things the residents of this city have voted for twice. This plan takes into account the reduced amounts of revenue the city will be taking in, and does so with the least amounts of disruption to the services City Hall has traditionally provided. Such as taking in revenue in order to be able to pay city staff for taking in that revenue. If that makes any sense.
Unfortunately, and I do mention this with sincere regret, there are some who seem to be confused by this plan. Nancy Walsh, speaking from the public comment podium Tuesday evening (and, most ironically, without the three minute timer being turned on), went so far as to declare that she was the victim of a vast conspiracy to confuse her.
I for one am not certain it would take a conspiracy to do that. This could also be a genetic condition. You know, rather than the work of any fashionable cabal dressed in nicely coordinated shades of brown?
So, in order to bring some badly needed clarity to all of this, we have put together a brief review of Denise and Rachelle's ideas. Done so in the hope that the Nancy Walsh's of this world (or even those dotty enough to have been misled into believing that the Library is going to close), might understand.
I sure hope this works. I'd hate to think these people are still just wandering around out there.
1) City Hall doors will open at 7:30 AM, Monday through Thursday. What you do once you get in there is entirely up to you.
2) The employee group that taxpayers pay for 100% of their health and welfare costs will now have a cap on their benefits. The era of the $37,800 health care plan (the most costly of its kind in the entire State of California) now comes screeching to a halt. Hopefully the laughter from our neighboring cities will soon subside as well.
3) Based on this proposed 5 Year Compensation Plan, all Health &Welfare costs are subject to further reductions. This is what happens when a city government is in touch with the marketplace. Often called "shopping for the best possible price," or "bargain hunting," it makes adjustments for things like actual cost. How's that for a wild idea?
4) City Hall, in a rare moment of candor, has now confessed in an actual Staff Report that Health & Welfare benefits have been 22% higher than market value for quite some time now. A condition that existed during their last two attempts to raise the UUT. You know, at the same time they were claiming that the City was broke, and everything had already been "cut to the bone?" Everything wasn't cut to the bone. They just made that stuff up.
5) Within 15% of "Market Rate" has been designated as the limit of a salary range, but it must also meet the criteria of being realistically based upon our population and budget. A manager who oversees four people in Sierra Madre cannot expect to be paid anywheres near as much as a manager who oversees 150 people in far more populous places such as Pasadena. Let's get real here. Nobody is getting any raises without actually earning them.
6) Four Director positions have been eliminated. We mention this in passing because otherwise you probably wouldn't have even noticed.
7) Information Technology will move out of Library. Anyone who sees this is as proof that the Library is closing will be offered a free mental health evaluation at the Kensington.
8) The Police and Fire Departments will now become a shared service known as Public Safety. This does not mean that the SMPD will be patrolling the streets of Sierra Madre in a firetrucks, as fun as that might sound. It does mean that certain redundancies will be eliminated, and at a savings to the taxpayer.
9) Human Resources, Community Services, Fiscal Services and Library Services will
report to the Assistant City Manager. The era of one person dominance at City Hall is now thankfully coming to an end.
10) Development Services will now become known as Planning & Community Preservation. Things such as the General Plan will now be consulted when decisions are being made to build something. Projects of mysterious origin ("POMOs") such as "Camillo Road" style LULUs, will cease.
11) Public Safety, Public Works and Planning & Community Preservation will report to the City Manager. But hopefully not that one. At least not for too much longer.
12) With this separation of powers a Succession Plan will also be put into place. The era of a "one irreplaceable person" comes to an end. City Staff will find it much harder to avoid the wishes of the taxpayers as government becomes more transparent, accessible and diffuse.
13) A Customer Service Manual will be required training for all employees. An adherence to standards acceptable to the community will become mandatory. Updating will be constant.
14) A Community Communication Enhancement Plan will be implemented. City Hall will actually attempt to compete with The Tattler. We welcome that competition.
15) Community Services will move to City Hall. One stop shopping for residents will become the rule. We'll then be able to see if anyone is buying.
16) Human Resources will set employee development expectations. Employees will be expected to continually develop new understanding and skills throughout their careers here. Just like in the real world.
17) The fiscal impact is mimimal and sustainable for two years. The main expense would be the temporary help needed for two years to complete the General Plan and Building Moratorium ordinances. Attempts to slow the completion of these two important initiatives down in order to enable things like the Mater Dolorosa development would naturally be squelched.
One more very important thing. The genius of all this is that once everything is in place, the financial and workplace flexibility needed to enact any changes made necessary by the sunsetting of the UUT will be there. Finally bringing municipal government here into line with the expectations of residents who have twice asked for a more efficiently run city, and at a price a village of less than 11,000 people can actually afford to pay.
We'll be free at last.