Friday, November 20, 2015

Tattler Exclusive: Pasadena City Manager Michael Beck Will Announce He Is Leaving Office Today

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The man who was supposed to take the fall for Pasadena's "Embezzlegate Scandal" last year will instead leave the PeeDee City Manager gig on his own terms today. His destination? Something rather posh at UCLA. Only the best for Michael Beck. It was not so long ago that he became famous for being the fellow who put the scowl on the face of Bill Bogaard. And Bill? Well he left, too.

From the man who was supposed to be buried six feet "Under The Dome" to the one who flew over the cuckoo's nest. Quite a well-planned transition to the next step in a storied career and a fine example of crisis management. Thanks for showing them how to get it done, Michael (link).

Here is what I said about the continued survival of Michael Beck in an op-ed piece in the Pasadena Star News that ran last April during the election there (link).

During the first round of campaigning these two candidates, possibly fearing a negative political reaction to the Wooten scandal, pointed fingers at the city manager and at least appeared to demand his head on a plate. But only in the most metaphorical sense since Michael Beck still has his gig, and his head. He will likely keep both long after Tornek or Robinson is elected.

And why not? Mr. Beck, ever the proper city employee, dutifully took the blame for things that were not entirely his fault, which, I suppose, is behavior expected of a City Hall hire. Taking the fall for the failures of elected officials being a form of job security. Especially when politicking mayoral candidates are claiming they want to remove you.

It is now November, over 7 months after the mayoral election in the thorny Rose City. Michael Beck kept it all under control. Right up until the end he wanted.

Does anybody know when the trial of Danny Wooten will finally begin?

The Real Reason Why Sierra Madre City Hall Wants To Raise Utility Taxes

There are two reason why City Hall wants to raise utility taxes in Sierra Madre to 10%. Neither of which has anything to do with water infrastructure or anything else useful. Rather they are to pay salaries and CalPERS pension costs. Which, if you haven't heard yet, is going to costs small cities all across California a combined additional $600,000,000 bucks over the next few years.

Chickenfeed I guess, unless you number among the poor slobs having to foot the costs. Just don't try and convince the folks spending your dough that they actually might owe you at least a debt of gratitude. Here is a Sacramento Bee article that explains it all.



What does this mean for Sierra Madre? How about yet another big hit from CalPERS? When you consider that in 2013 the top 26 most compensated city employees here made over $100,000 (link), you are talking about a lot of additional money.

Add it all up and it is more money than even a 10% utility tax will ever cover.

sierramadetattler.blogspot.com

42 comments:

  1. As The Tattler dutifully noted, the UUT tax increase should be called the CalPERS tax. Notice the last paragraph, the big increases start July, 2016.

    Interesting. That would be right after the April 2016 city election to raise our UUT from 6% (July 2016) to a permanent 10%.

    There are no coincidences.

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    1. Excellent point 5:44, excellent!

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    2. The extra revenue goes to the unfunded pension liabilities. Its only going to get worse as time goes on. As was pointed out in a previous post about the librarian retiring, we will soon have three people we are paying for that job and only one of whom is actually working and performing a residence for the taxpayers and residents. All of this is the result of the current defined benefit pension plans that allow our elected officials to make unsustainable promises in exchange for political support from the unions. The adverse consequences of those promises don't manifest themselves until the politicians that made the promises are long out of office. It all comes down on a city when the recipients of those lavish promises start to retire and collect their pensions at a very young. In the short-term, the politicians get the political support from the unions and "keep the peace" with the public employee unions during their tenure in office. The long-term consequences end up being a financial disaster for the city. The chickens are now coming home to roost and Calpers unrealistic estimates for returns on the money invested made the unfunded liability artificially less than it was which kept the gravy train rolling along. Now that farce has been exposed and the taxpayers are now on the hook. The only solution is to switch to "defined benefit" pension plans which prevent unsustainable promises that manifest themselves down the road by forcing a city council to budget for that promise each year.

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    3. Good analysis.
      But when our income is way less than our expenses, it is unsustainable.The unfunded pension issue is only part of it. Elaine wants to hire even more employees. She does not get the problem. CC please 'educate' her !
      And then how can we fund to repair of our crumbling infrastructure? We are not credit worthy and we have insufficient income.You can see where I am going with this ?
      The final stage has begun - contractors to the City believe they may not get paid so are padding their bids. A recent contract bid went to Perry. The whined that their bid was just a courtesy bid - they bid so high they did not expect to get it. In fact the other two bids were even higher,Now Perry wants out. And this is just what we know about.Sure it will get whitewashed but look out for more like this?

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    4. The relation between taxpayers and local government is parastic. It is a system designed to get the most money out of the locals in exchange for the least effort possible.

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    5. the Calpers pension system is obscene - it has zero accountability to those that fund it which are the taxpayers

      those that vote it in and control it's destiny are those that benefit from it

      the public pension system offers a perk that is unmatched in the real business world - a guaranteed pension at your full salary forever and all you have to do is max out your hours for five years at the end of your work career

      I will vote NO on the UUT and every tax measure, bond or whatever - fix the pension system - get align with the private sector and quit taxing us so you can retire at full salary and then we have to pay for another body and another pension

      it's a ponzi scheme without any consequences

      except bankruptcy

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  2. Under The Dome they take care of their own. Sure you can be shown the door, but only after you find a $300,000 government job elsewhere.

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    1. Only available to the government managerial elite of Los Angeles County I'm afraid. The rest of you can try your luck on MyJobs.com.

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    2. Yes. Only in government can a $6.4 million embezzlement on your watch be seen as career enhancing.

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  3. Maybe CalPERS could sell that building. Looks like it must be worth a lot.

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  4. It's unbelievable that CalPERS would increase the pension benefits . No wonder Chief Diez recommended raising the UUT to, was it 12%?
    Didn't I recently hear there would be no increase in Social Security benefits for retirees. Instead of basing the CalPERS increase on government payroll, try basing it on the Social Security increase.

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    1. that'll never fly even though it makes sense

      the federal government wants to cut entitlement programs but the biggest non deserved entitlement program is the public sector pension plans

      at the SM level "OUR" employees will threaten to shut down services but won't touch the biggest drain and future drain on our taxes - the CalPERS program, the SMPD budget and the library

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  5. Michael Beck will be remembered as single handedly destroying the City of Pasadena... from his lack of leadership, being in over his head, hiring staff that were in over their heads, and lying to the employees and public of the City - he is now UCLA"s embarrassment ... obviously they don't read the Tattler nor the Star News.

    Hopefully Pasadena will now begin to rebuild ... with Beck exiting ... let us hope and pray that house cleaning starts at the top and continues ... this has been a very dark period for the City...

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    1. UCLA is a pretty good institution. What is he doing there?

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    2. He probably doesn't know.

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    3. Neither does UCLA.

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  6. It's all about government employees salaries and pensions. The tax payers have become slaves to those idiots. Vote No on all new or proposed taxes!

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    1. that's what I'm doing - on everything regardless

      fix the problem

      it's absurd that a government employee can retire at a full or almost full salary forever and we have to live without guarantees

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  7. Thanks Mod for the new CalPERS information. What would we do without you?

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    1. I love doing the blog. I am grateful to anyone who comments.

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  8. But Karen said CalPers / we were earning over 7%
    Sure am glad she is gone.
    Karen made sooooo many whopper mistakes.

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  9. The latest CalPERS news and the fact the librarian was making $157,000 a year is going to convert even more voters to Repeal the UUT supporters.

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    1. And the librarian brought in about as much grant money as her job cost, so everyone here is an idiot.

      Also, you pay into CALPERS based on a percentage cost of your current hires. If you have no employees, you pay nothing. So this idea that we are paying the entirety of the previous two librarians salaries is bunk. We pay a big percentage of current salaries towards pensions, true. Focus your ire on the data.

      Basic facts, people, basic facts.

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    2. The residents of Sierra Madre have not had to pay for the librarian?

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    3. Mr,Bunk,
      Do I detect a little irrational bias in your unleavened tone?
      Tell us that all the other overpaid City employees are free too?

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    4. We pay a crapload of money to CalPERS. 11:41 must be dialing it in from the gravy train.

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    5. Don't kid yourselves. If CalPERS doesn't have enough $$ they will assess the cities to pay for the shortfall in funds for retired employees' pensions. That's why PASADENA had to borrow $60 million in bonds for a pension system that the last employee retired from in 1998.

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  10. Off topic, If you missed the Planning Commission meeting last night, be sure to catch the rerun. It was very, very, entertaining as well as informative. Spears was at his best ! Thanks to all the members of the Commission .

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    1. 10:59, thanks for posting. I was hoping to hear what happened. Guess I'll have to stop being lazy and get it on KGEM

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    2. Not broadcasting yet. Maybe check tomorrow.

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  11. Anybody who went to the PC last night. Anything significant go down? Can you now get a permit after you build your house?

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  12. The applicant was totally entertaining when he claimed he didn't know about permits and built the hose with the advise from the lumber yard. Then he was tricked into admitting his father is a contractor. Five commissioners voted to deny the CUP. Only Goldstein and Hutt voted not to deny. Goldstein's feathers were so ruffled, he refused to sign the CUP denial.. Gina Hunt will sign it.

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    1. If you watch the rerun, be sure to listen for John Hutt's comment. It was something like, "Well, it's not like you put two sticks in the ground and they organically grow (into a house)!" Hands down, it had to be the funniest line of the evening.

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  13. I was at the PC meeting last night. Spears was Fantastic. No one believed the applicant when he said he had no idea that you needed city approval to build a house. It was going to be an illegal rental unit. Since he got caught he decided to call it an exercise room.

    The staff should never have recommended approval of his belated request for a permit, after he got caught.

    John Hutt liked the project, disappointing. Spears moved to deny the CUP. 5 commissions voted to deny. Hutt and and Godstein voted against denial. They wanted the applicant to redo the application showing that the encroachment would be taken care of. The exercise room is 2 feet over the setback line.

    The applicant will probably appeal to the city council. Stay tuned.

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    1. Oh the Staff probably was told to approve the application for a permit because the City needs funds. Doesn't one have to pay double the permit costs in a case like this?

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    2. I think staff sometimes confuses planning with fund raising.

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  14. How much does it cost to appeal to the CC?

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  15. I snickered, chuckled, and belly laughed while viewing the meeting on channel 3. That Spears was in the zone for sure! He had a twinkle in his eyes that almost made me think he was Irish! I surely got my money's worth out of Time Warner this month. lol.

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  16. The Pasadena Star News has got the Beck news up. He's going to be a Vice Chancellor. There's no way he's telling the straight scoop about it. Jobs like that have lots of applicants and are more than a year in the filling through elaborate rituals. He's been looking for the exit for quite a while.

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    1. At least he's out of our part of the world. Hopefully the next Pasadena City Mangler won't be quite so skilled in the art of cover-up. The Dome needs a thorough cleaning.

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  17. Funny how the unfunded portion of CalPERS contributions works: We don't pay the full amount when the obligation is incurred because, well, we don't want to, putting off paying the contractually obligated amounts to the future. But then we complain that we still have to pay off the contractually obligated amounts we wanted to put off in the first place.

    I get it now: If we pay when the obligation is incurred, we only get to whine for a day. Put it off and pay in the future, we get to whine for a lifetime.

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  18. Let's just bail out from this CalPers embezzlement scheme?

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