Wednesday, November 18, 2015

California Political Review: Sierra Madre Pays Librarian $157,000 in town of 11,000 (NOT A TYPO)

(Mod: Every once in a while something I've written here is picked up and gets reposted in any number of places. And this article, which was written for last night's City Hall financial ruminations about the Library, got picked up by the California Political Review. Something that has now driven a bunch of web traffic this way.)


No UUT Petition Ready Soon

(Mod: We get a lot of requests for information on this one. Here is the latest.)



Preserve Sierra Madre email about yesterday's Tattler post

(Mod: The Preserve Sierra Madre steering committee sent out the following yesterday morning.)

Dear Supporters:

Our goal at Preserve Sierra Madre has never been about increasing the value of real estate.  Rather, our goal has been preserving the quality of life of the people who live in this village, preserving the character of our neighborhoods, preserving our historical properties so that we remember our history, minimizing traffic and pollution, maintaining open space as much as possible, and living in harmony with the wildlife around us so that the deer, coyotes, bears and hawks can still roam the land.

If the focus is only on real estate values and trying to monetize everything then we might as well get rid of Memorial Park in Sierra Madre.  Think of how valuable that real estate would be if it could be turned into a big housing project.  Well, fortunately, people believe that having a park for the kids to play in or as a place for the community to congregate is worth a lot more than just its land value - in fact, its priceless in the intangibles it brings to a community.

All of that being said, its still nice to know that those goals are not incompatible with rising real estate values as well.  Today's Sierra Madre Tattler provides actual data to demonstrate once again that even as Sierra Madre has enacted more regulations to control over-development in our city, prices have gone up while in developer-friendly cities like Arcadia values are going down.  That article and the interesting comments from readers can be found at:

http://www.sierramadretattler.blogspot.com/

Thank you for your continued support.

Steering Committee

Preserve Sierra Madre

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

64 comments:

  1. Is there some kind of specialized knowledge in Library management justifying that level of compensation?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, one must have an MS degree.

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    2. In Sierra Madre that would be a golden ticket.

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    3. Allot of our city problems would have been solved or can be eventually solved if we dismantle the pension plans

      it's absurd that the public sector is able to retire at full salaries while the rest of us aren't - those that vote in the pension plans are the ones that benefit from it

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  2. This post reflects why knowledge is power and the importance of transparency. When certain people use maintaining a local library as a reason to raise our taxes, it can have an effect, which is why it is used. When certain people say the police and paramedic response times will increase if our taxes are not increased, that also hits home pretty hard and scares a lot of people. And that's precisely why the public employee unions use those arguments. In every city where more revenue is needed to pay for ever higher salaries, benefits and pensions for the public employees, they find those programs or services that, if cut, will inconvenience or alarm the largest number of people. That's right out of the union playbook. If a general tax like a UUT tax is not passed, then these creative folks will break it up and pass parcel taxes for the schools, library or emergency services which taxes while earmarked for those particular things, simply free up money that can also be used for increasing salaries, benefits and pensions. Either way, the public employee unions come out pretty well in the end. And now we find out that a local librarian in little old Sierra Madre, pulls down an annual salary of $157,000 per year. Now that she is retiring along with the previous person who retired from that same position , taxpayers will be footing the bill for two people who are retired at relatively young ages I presume, and now having to pay a third person. I might add that we will then be paying more money to the two people who are not working than to the person who is working. And people want to raise my taxes to pay for this? NO WAY!

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    1. How long has the present Head Librarian worked for the City of S.M. ?

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    2. 3-4 years with many years elsewhere, as best as I understand.

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    3. 7:56-I think she's been here 5 years.

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    4. I overheard her giving the hard sell to one wobbly resident in the library. I was in the stacks, and they were standing on the other side. It was disgraceful. The librarian was telling the wobbly one that the residents had to save the library, get involved, make sure the UUT stayed high and went higher. They clucked their tongues over the wicked people who wanted the city to cut costs.
      This is the same gal who engineered the young mother to come to the council one night, and plead with the council for the sake of the babies to keep the library.

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  3. I'm voting to repeal the UUT. It's gonna take tough love to restore fiscal sanity to our village.

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    Replies
    1. I agree. I'm feeling forced to take this action. The profligate spending of the City has got to stop. No UUT will be the intervention measure that puts a stop to this insanity.

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    2. It's not a NO vote. It's an intervention.

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    3. Po-TAY-to, po-TAH-to.

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    4. I've voted NO twice and will a 3rd time - a 4th time and a 10th time.

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  4. Thanks Tattler for giving voters pertinent information so that they can evaluate whether our local government is living within its means. You have a librarian making $157,000 per year and now retiring along with the previous person who retired so that, as the Tattler says, we will soon be paying three people for that position only one of whom will be actually working. This comes on top of another Tattler post if I recall correctly where various members of our police force have spiked their annual salaries with exorbitant amounts of overtime that elevated their incomes by about 1/3. It goes on and on and on. The more a spotlight is shined on our city government, the more we will see the waste, inefficiency, and outright corruption. Its too difficult to go in there and try to force efficiency and monetary prudence on government and its various departments. The easiest way to cure the problem is to reduce their budget and force them to be efficient and force them to live within their means. I can almost guarantee that you can take any department at City Hall and reduce their budget by 20% or more and we will all be better off as they are forced to streamline themselves. That's the only way to stop this madness. Starve them of money. Everyone can decide for themselves whether the UUT should be eliminated entirely as Mr. Richey and Mr. McMonigle are advocating but, at the very least. the UUT should not increase by one dime based upon examples like what's happening at the library, the police department and every other department at City Hall. I for one do not want to work harder and retire later so that these public employees can retire as young as 50 with pensions for life. Its become apparent that our "public servants" have become our masters..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the public sector employees are bilking the taxpayers - the Calpers system is a ponzi scheme pushed by the unions, implemented by those that benefit from it and it's a system that is basically fraud

      you are right, what the police officers are doing are pushing up their overtime to boost their pensions so they can retire at an earlier age - receive an ludicrous pension and the taxpayers are stuck with a bill - one we can't vote out or dismantle - except for a city declaring bankruptcy.

      the PD whines that it needs more employees and the city added them yet overtime continues and there is zero zero zero accountability or auditing of why or for what reason the overtime occurred

      try doing that in the real world - work a real job and sock in overtime - you'll get reprimanded or hours cut

      not in the public sector - nobody will do anything about it cause they are all part of the ponzi scheme

      I'll vote NO on every tax, bond or whatever as long as Calpers is the pension system - it rips us off and rewards beyond comprehension

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  5. Which City Councils sold us out to the city employee unions? My candidate is when Enid Joffe was the Mayor.

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    Replies
    1. while on the Council, she also had the city buy a vacant lot from one of her friends for a city park

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  6. Let the games begin, winner takes all.

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    Replies
    1. Let the ripoffs end.

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    2. Given the council's approval of compensation packages such as this and apparent refusal to consider seriously the Sheriff's offer to provide 20% more patrol hours for 20% ($850k) less money annually, we have to ask ourselves a simple question: Do you trust this council to wisely spend additional UUT money?

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    3. Vote down the 10% UUT and what choice would they have?

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    4. Let me think a minute, 7:26....Um, the answer to your question is NO.

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  7. Sierra Madre is in this mess because of the past leadership of this town. It is time to clean house and sweep the dirt out the door so we don't let anyone else make that mistake with our tax money again. Someone must know when SM began paying these big salaries and pensions? I remember some time back when a new city manager started getting rid of our long term staff and hired replacements. My feeling it was around that time, I want to say it started with Tammy??? Who knows and lets learn from this so as not to make the same mistakes all over again.

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    Replies
    1. Tammy Gates proposed joining CalPERS. Because it was good for her, not necessarily for Sierra Madre.

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    2. How thoughtful.

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    3. and to think that John Buchanan, who was part of this entire mess, because he's a "lawyer" wants to run again (according to rumor)

      Hopefully Goss and Harabedian are the last of that "civil crowd" ilk that has basically ruined this city

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  8. We need an audit, a good one.

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    Replies
    1. Let me COUNT the ways.

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    2. Kurt Zimmerman tried to do that and he got shut down by Mosca, Buchanan and the City Manager

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  9. We need a better city manager. Our present manager is probably happy to be let go. Wonder what her severance package is if fired.

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    Replies
    1. Where are the taxpayers' Platinum Pensions?

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    2. You really don't think the mayor would fire her, do you? No, she won't be fired, but will voluntarily resign for health reasons or some other respectful cause.

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    3. Majority of City Council can fire the City Manager at any time. Mayor can't do it by himself.

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    4. The mayor wouldn't even suggest getting rid of Elaine. He loves her I guess because she strokes his ego so well.

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  10. What ever it is it's too much based upon performance and state of the city.

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    Replies
    1. A town with 6 figure employee compensation should not have yellow water.

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    2. Make that yellow smelly water! Think of that compensation money, wow, how many infrastructure pipes could it repair?

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    3. Money that should have been invested in infrastructure was turned over to the city's employee unions instead. I believe that is known as corruption.

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  11. The foot stomping is understandable but you are all 'spitting into the wind'. Unless the CC fires senior City Employees for cause ,we haven't even begun to fix this problem.

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    Replies
    1. The spit percolates down into our aquifers.

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    2. Repealing the UUT will solve the overspending.

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    3. Ironic, isn't it? Less money will balance the budget.

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    4. Less money means more effective spending and less waste of taxpayers' funds. Win/Win.

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  12. Quick math shows that residents EACH pay $14.27 for the librarian. Running a smaller library shouldn't have an MA. Volunteer fire department? Try volunteer librarians. That's an outrageous per citizen. How much is the cost of that position with the pensions of former librarians added in. Stunning what public employees make and then retire with. Good gig...if you can get it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's 60-80 employees in the city counting all departments. How outrageous that we pay $ 14+ for just ONE employee.

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  13. The CC plans to wait until April to make any changes. They want to see if the UUT passes. It might be wiser to get the sheriff's department started and use the private, not the county, library service now. They need to look at the tier chart from months ago and go to the most effective change. We will all have to suffer in some way because of their idiocy, might as well begin now. As for cleaning house of these parasites; good luck with that! Who would want to run for CC and inherit a mess like this? I hate to think we will be stuck with the same ilk forever.

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    1. The in-depth report from the LA Sheriff as to exactly how much it will cost was supposed to take 6 months. April will be on schedule. My bet is that the Council sits on the estiomated $$ amount of savings if it turns out to be more than $800,000.

      In the meantime, vote YES to repeal the UUT.

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    2. Where are you Earl Ritchie?November 18, 2015 at 1:53 PM

      The Mountain View News indicated that the Council does not intend to act on the sheriff's proposal until after the UUT election in April.

      This is irresponsible. I intend to see that irresponsibility and raise it. I will be voting to kill the UUT.

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    3. They're using the Sheriffs as a threat. Vote for the UUT increase or we'll fire this police department.

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    4. 3:26 - even more the reason to vote No on UUT increase

      if the city is using the Sheriff's Dept as a threat - it's a moronic tactic

      threatening us with better quality officers, no lawsuits. a 20% cost savings, a 20+% in patrols

      what's the downside

      the argument that the SMPD is part of the community blah blah blah is weak

      we are paying over 50% of the city budget to a PD that is a couple rungs up from Post Alarm

      Delete
  14. The only thing that will save the city is to go BK. Then we can negotiate less Calpers for retiree's and not have Calpers for city employee's again.

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    Replies
    1. and current retiree's under the age of 60 can have their pensions adjusted to reality

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  15. Save our Library! At all Costs!November 18, 2015 at 1:47 PM

    Today CalPERS cut its investment income estimate from 7.5% to 6.5%.

    This means that the city will be forced to contribute more to CalPERS in order to meet the amazingly generous pension promises the city has made to, among others, our gold plated librarian.

    The LA Times helpfully notes that rising pension costs are causing cities to cut back on services and, in three recent cases, have resulted in bankruptcies.

    Under these circumstances we really need an even greater increase to the UUT.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really? What is wrong with you? The library can be outsourced, costing less and open more. You want a higher UUT that will never get to the library? You don't see anything wrong with paying CalPers more? Again, I ask, what is wrong with you?

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    2. I'm voting NO and to repeal the UUT

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  16. I am proud to live in a full service city where our library lady is a bona fide member of the ONE PERCENT.

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    Replies
    1. Yikes, a 1%er. Like Trump.

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    2. Since very few city employees live in town, it is tax money that does not get spent here.

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  17. Not all of the librarian's compensation, retirement/healthcare, comes from Sierra Madre's matching contribution BUT the real problem for a small town is our champaign taste on a beer budget: we should never have had the swollen ego notion that we needed someone of her training, years experience, COST!

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    1. when all the Santa Monica and La Canada wannabees moved into SM this city was doomed

      bunch of nobodies who desperately wanted to be important or have their ego stroked started immersing themselves into politics and the city was set on a course of disaster cause that group was a bunch of self serving egotistical jerks

      when we elect a building industry lobbyist, two utility company lawyers, a construction company owner (Glenn Lambin), a mortgage salesman, a commercial banker and those they endorsed -

      we get what we got

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  18. I want the librians job, where do I apply? Do I have to kiss the mayors and the city managers. _SS to get the job too?

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