Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The 2014 Fourth of July After Action Report Is Now Out!

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Our previous Mayor's favorite confab, the Community Services Commission, met this week. And of course there was the usual staff generated Agenda Packet. Something that can be very interesting reading if you are into going deep on the City Hall stuff. And really, who isn't?

I always enjoy checking it out myself. Of course, I read just about everything. It takes a lot of info to keep this little city blog rolling along at its daily pace. And contained somewhere within this particular document is the 2014 Fourth of July After Action Report. It is where City Staff gives their critique of how the 4th of July Parade was conducted this year, and what might be done to improve the collective experience.

Now in our opinion the intrepid volunteers of the 4th of July Parade Committee did a marvelous job this year, just as they did the year before. And kind of like it is with completely independent organized efforts like Alegria's famous Halloween bash, or the world famous Sierra Madre Rose Float folks and what they do so well, these parades pretty much run themselves. City Hall's involvement being kind of a superfluous add on. Certainly they must have more important work to do, and ought to be relieved that the residents can take care of these things all by themselves, right?

Well, not exactly. Apparently City Staff wants you to believe that they were deeply involved in the planning and execution of the 4th of July Parade. And judging by the amount of money they confiscated from the 4th of July Parade Committee for their pains, it must have been a mighty effort indeed!

Here is how the finances all break down, as detailed deep within our long awaited 2014 Fourth of July After Action Report.


Where this all stops to make as much sense as it ought to is with the "personnel expenses." What exactly does staff do that justifies an $84.00 per hour expense charge? And 120 of them at that? Someone from City Staff does attend the 4th of July Committee meetings, and apparently at the rate of $84.00 an hour. Even though that staff member is on salary, and therefore is already being paid for his/her time once.

But what else?

Besides, don't the volunteers of the 4th of July Parade Committee pretty much run this all by themselves? This parade is a Sierra Madre tradition, one where the institutional knowledge needed to run it has been handed down from committee to committee for years. 

What exactly did City Staff do that took all of 120 hours? Or justifies an $84 dollar an hour charge? Is there any kind of itemized bill that was presented to that committee justifying the $11,738.00 they had to turn over to City Hall?

Also doesn't it seem odd that the amount City Hall charged the 4th of July Committee almost entirely accounted for whatever money was left over after expenses? 

Who gets to keep the change?

There are two other events where City Hall presents volunteer organizers and those who fund them with a large bill every year. The first is the Mount Wilson Trail Race, and the other the Huck Finn Fishing Derby. Again these are events that have been going on for quite a long time, and pretty much run themselves. Why that big take away?

Think of how much stronger the volunteer organizations in this community would be if they were allowed to reinvest that kind money in their events. Occasions like the 4th of July Parade and the Mount Wilson Trail Race would only become better than they already are if they were could put it into the events they run.

It would also be a far better use for these funds. When this money is siphoned off by City Hall, where exactly does it it all go? Is that how this money should have been used?

City Staff is already paid once for their time by the taxpayers. They have salaries, benefits and pension funds. It makes no sense that this city's volunteer organizations should have to pay them a second time for these employee hours. After all, they're taxpayers, too.

Trouble in the Beer Garden?

This paragraph is also found in the 4th of July Action Report:


Does anybody know what happened?

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

46 comments:

  1. Ok, I'm not the brightest person here, but how come there is a revenue line shown for the beer garden, but no expense paid to contract with the beer company. I don't think the "beer security" counts. what did they pay the folks for the portable beer dispensing trucks and the beer? Also, who paid for the ports potties? I don't see that listed either. maybe they should redo this report.

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  2. You really do need to keep an eye on beer drinkers. A per cup consumed to portable toilet visit matrix report would have helped here.

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  3. You never really buy beer, you just rent it.

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    Replies
    1. Love your comment!!!!

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    2. Just passing through.

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    3. I'm here all week. Don't forget to tip your server!

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  4. Salaried staff is paid to attend meetings as part of their work day. If the 4th event is charged for their attendance then the pay they are getting as an employee is being diverted elsewhere. Maybe that is the real story, how this creative budgeting works, and is the real (criminal) source of our financial woes.

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    1. Excellent point, 7:00 am. The fourth of July Committee is supposed to be independent of the city and self-financed. if they are paying city employees to attend the meetings, then what is happening with the city employee's regular salary and benefits? The only fee that would make any sense would be the security fee, or overtime for the PD. I do think this is the real story.

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    2. Maybe it's overtime pay to attend meetings and such

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    3. $11,000 overtime? In a city that is supposedly broke?

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    4. city charged the Mt Wilson Trail Race over 200 staff hours for pre event planning - 200 hours of city staff time to plan an event that is the same year after year

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    5. so staff is at work already and being paid and meets with an event and then the event gets charged for the time

      does that mean that that time paid to staff is deducted from payroll

      it's plain double dipping and double billing

      in some worlds that's considered fraud

      business as usual?

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    6. overtime? city staff leaves at 4 o'clock

      I seriously doubt that the staff hours billed to events would hold up in an audit

      Elaine, explain who, how and why the city spent over 200 hours on the Mt Wilson Trail Race, certainly their are time sheets otherwise how are these numbers determined?

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  5. Two piddley questions: what gets bubbled wrapped? Where are the safety vests that will be used next year. This expense should not appear again.

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    1. The bubble wrap is for the bubble wrap firecracker event on the 3rd. The wrap is laid out on the dance floor, and the kids (and some adults) stomp on it to make it sound like fireworks. As silly as this sounds, it is one of the most popular events. The safety vests will be saved. The Committee members were trained in traffic control this year to save money.

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    2. That's a relief. I thought that maybe there was some kind of misplaced safety regulation where kids under the age of 7 had to be bubble wrapped.

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    3. I know that a lot of private schools are now insisting on bubblewrapping.

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  6. There is nothing in the staff report about attendance. Was it any better this year? It seems to me that the crowds were much bigger when kids were allowed to bring their water pistols.

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  7. This income/expense report is just smoke and mirrors. It gives a bunch of meaningless numbers and looks pretty official. those who don't look closely will think it covers everything associated with the event and that it is an honest report. Bosh! Good report, Mod.

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  8. I would like to see an itemized report. Does one exist?

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    1. You are looking at the itemized report.

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    2. Oh. Well then I wish we had one that was a bit more itemized. Like what did each staff member do during their $85 hours.

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    3. $84 an hour times a 40 hour workweek comes to $3,360 a week. I'm sorry, but no 4th of July Parade organizer is worth anywhere near that kind of money.

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    4. how about the city charging the Mt Wilson Trail Race $ 18,000 for 200 staff hours for pre event planning?

      just how stupid does the city think we are?

      and how strange it is for the events to pay

      pay up or else your event won't be approved next year

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  9. It sounds like the Beer Garden was serving underage patrons, and the chief wants the security gig for his own officers.

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    1. why not...this silly community continues to indulge corruption at the Citizen's Expense!

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    2. Typical. Can't bring water pistols to the parade, but no problem getting served at the beer garden.

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    3. There is a solution here people. Let's put the beer into the water pistols. Then the police wouldn't mind being sprayed.

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  10. Staff is involved in these "once all volunteer events" in order to justify their existence. If staff was not polking their nose into the community events, they wouldn't have anything to do and would not be needed.

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    1. Staff would have something to do: their real job serving the city during regular, normal business hours. This city hall's hours should not br a banker's holiday schedule.

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    2. City Staff likes to fund raise. That way they get fatter pensions.

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  11. Did Joshie and Noah Pants drink all of our beer?

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  12. This is just a classic example of creating a job number to log onto employee time sheets. As a project manager in a firm, I had to constantly keep people off of my job numbers because they didn't really have anything to do, and their supervisors weren't keeping an eye out for the work effort that needed to be distributed to their team. Kick the city employees out of the deal, especially since the purchase contracts for all that stuff are part of the city staff regular positions and are part of the City Hall commitment to the community. You'd be amazed at how much those costs will go down.

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  13. This city would make more money playing pocket pool.

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    Replies
    1. what's pocket pool?

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    2. It's what Minnesota Fats played.

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  14. It is not the salaried city staff that is pulling off this stunt.

    It is management.

    If the hours can be passed on to an entity such as the Trail Race or the 4th of July or the Wisteria or the Halloween Window Painting, etc. etc. etc., then the money budgeted for those staff members in the city budget is not accounted for.

    Where is it being spent? This is probably the financial crime here and maybe our Bell story.

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    1. You nailed it. Elaine is a crooked manager. She does this to hide something worse. Staff wouldn't do this without her misdirection.
      What "Staff" may not realize is that by 'cooking the books' for her, they are the ones to get fired first if the crime is ever identified. Now isn't that a damming comment? "If the crime is ever identified". Yup they can hide all this from us. So much for transparency.
      Solution - throw the bums out and pay Korber whatever it takes to come home!

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    2. Mr. and Mrs. Koerber ARE at home you nincompoop.

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    3. To a true Sierra Madrean there is only one home.

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    4. Home is where the heart is.

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  15. Links to report on Monday's La Habra Heights City Council shenanigans.
    Whittier Daily News Link: http://www.whittierdailynews.com/government-and-politics/20140916/la-habra-heights-council-puts-off-decision-on-blackout-of-public-comment-period-on-cable-tv

    Link to You Tube video of meeting: http://youtu.be/rUCNiyYRxHk

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    1. Not for the faint of heart. Kyle Miller spends a whole lot of time in making the residents the bad guys, huh?

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    2. Bunch of oil monkeys. Trying to beat down the people.

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  16. Another Tax That’s Really Just For Pensions
    http://unionwatch.org/why-every-new-california-tax-is-really-just-for-pensions/

    It's all just for pensions.

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    Replies
    1. Where are the defined benefit cola-protected pensions for the taxpayers?

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