Saturday, February 20, 2016

Should Sierra Madre Pay As Much As $1.2 Million Additional Dollars To Keep The Sierra Madre Police Department?

"What Made Me Love Sierra MadreHaving two police forces when all the other cities only have one." - reader comment 6:06 AM

Should Sierra Madre pay as much as $1.2 million additional dollars to keep the currently employee retention challenged SMPD? It is a question that most likely won't be asked at Tuesday evening's City Council meeting, or at least in this way. That doesn't mean it won't be asked here. We really do like to bring the elephant out into the open at The Tattler. And this has always been a town with its fair share of elephants.

But yes, at approximately $100,000 a month, and for perhaps as long as an entire year (depending on the as yet undetermined amount of time it will take the Sierra Madre Police Department to rebuild its depleted ranks up to a fighting trim), it could conceivably cost the City of Sierra Madre and its taxpayers that much money to temporarily hire the LA County Sheriff's Department to patrol the streets at night.

Here is how that costly news is shared with we the people in the staff report prepared for this Tuesday evening's City Council meeting (link).


Next is the part where City Hall tells us that the LASD may be required for an entire year to fill in for all of those departed Sierra Madre Police Department personnel. A moment of candor that may indicate just how difficult the city believes it is going to be to get new police officers to work here.


The elephant in the room

Here is the elephant we promised to bring out into the open so that you may examine the big guy in his less than shining glory.

As we saw above, the Staff Report shows a LASD contract cost of $98k a month through July, and $101k a month for the rest of the year. This is to be funded out of reserves for the first four months. After that nobody has determined how any of this is to be paid for, though I imagine they'll find a way. And this would be after the fate of Measure UUT has been determined. Another germane consideration I suspect has been factored into this equation downtown.

However, were the City of Sierra Madre to hire the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department full-time, the cost for one year would be $3,092,402, exclusive of liability insurance costs of $170k (page 55 of the Sheriff's proposal). That is with them taking over the operation entirely. That cost would be approximately $800,000 less than what we're now required to cough up to maintain the costly Sierra Madre Police Department.

Of course, then we would obviously not have to pay that additional $1.2 million for LASD night patrols.

I expected this staff report to reflect some savings due to the fact that we don't have those deserting Sierra Madre Police Officers to pay for anymore since they all quit. Sadly, it does not show any such savings, so perhaps they want to keep that extra cash for other things. While at the end of the day I expect the cost of this two police forces fiasco could be less than $1.2 million, as of now nobody seems to know.

One problem is the City Council and staff are simply engaging in crisis management. The budget and police services are being handled on the fly. Just like they were when Mayor Capoccia went to Arcadia to ask them to help bail the city out.

As it looks now, City Hall appears to be willing to spend as much as an additional $1.2 million dollars, money up and above the nearly $3.9 million already budgeted for the Sierra Madre PD, to buy Chief Giannone a year to hopefully rebuild his now half-staffed police department. That is both the cost and consequences you the taxpayer is being asked to foot for what is now becoming a financial disaster for this community.

This would be done with no real guarantee that Chief Giannone will be able to pull it off, either. Even City Hall's staff report admits how difficult it is to get anyone to work for the SMPD.

So ask yourself this. Is the SMPD worth that additional $1.2 million, just to buy the Chief a little time? Wouldn't it be wiser to hire the Sheriff's Department today and save all of that money? Something that would also save an additional $800,000 a year?

Which, if you think about it, now puts the total potential cost relief at $2 million dollars.

Is this really a good reason to drive the City of Sierra Madre $1.2 million dollars further towards insolvency? Just to appease some dotty sweethearts in town who cannot imagine having to live without blue uniformed public safety personnel? And would be quite upset at the sight of tan and green clad law enforcement employees?

Just how badly do Mayor Capoccia and those other two dudes on the City Council want to keep the SMPD? Is $1.2 million dollars a price the taxpayers should have to pay to temporarily please what for them is a privileged political constituency?

Say hello to the elephant.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

39 comments:

  1. I love Sierra Madre because we have TWO POLICE DEPARTMENTS!

    And our $9M general fund is so big we can afford to spend an extra $1.2M to keep them both!

    Guess that means we can't spend that $1.2M on th library, or on improving our little league fields for the kids, or on seniors. At least we'll have our own half a police department!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Has anyone checked on our city council women to see if they are still alive?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Stop the madness. Hire the Sheriffs.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Vote YES on the 66% UUT I ncrease! This way we can pay for TWO police departments until 2017. Then we'll have SMPD ONLY until it fails AGAIN and we'll have to bring LASD back again.

    Too bad the current city council doesn't have the spine to solve the policing problem NOW. Guess they want to kick the can down the road, AGAIN.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What Made Me Love Sierra MadreFebruary 20, 2016 at 6:06 AM

    Having two police forces when all the other cities only have one.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What Made Me Love Sierra MadreFebruary 20, 2016 at 6:10 AM

    Because our city council & city management don't understand numbers!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. To put this in the driest way I possibly can, I am not sure City Hall has considered the financial ramifications of this crazy idea.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The solution is to hire the Sheriffs and put them in SMPD uniforms and cars. Then nobody would be able to tell the difference.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The problem when the salaries, benefits and pensions for the public employees get too high is that you end up having to jettison the local police force. Ideally, I would love to have Sierra Madre retain its own police force even if it is more expensive. But because of the budget bind we have created and not living within our means, we may have no choice but to contract with the Sheriff's. The solution is not to always reach into the pocket of the residents and taxpayers. Live within your means and we won't need to get rid of services and we won't need to raise taxes. Its that simple.

    ReplyDelete
  10. There is something going on here that us residents are not seeing. Not making the best financial move for SM is baffling to many of us, come on, would someone please speak up.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law I know, but ignorance for keeping the law makes no cents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 8:26AM Barry Gold is trying to do that.

      Delete
  12. In a logical world the LASD would be a done deal by now. But we are talking about Sierra Madre.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The Jon,S and the gooses love to spend money. Let's ask Johnny Woo to start selling gem coins, gem coins could be city hall way out to continue to keeping Elains new 2016 red mercedez Benz convertible running.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I need a new car and some pensions, where do I apply

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ask the city. Apparently they have the odd million dollars laying around.

      Delete
  15. 8.50 that's a good point. When the going gets tough. City hall always has an extra million dollars lying around. I would tend to believe, city hall will be spending more money from the water department. That's why the water Dept is always broke and in need of more revenue. Taxation is city Halls answer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just when I thought that City Management could not get any worse ... this. How on earth does having 2 Police forces solve the overspending problem ?

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    3. Contrary to your information re: taking money from the water department, that is not true, and it hasn't been for years.

      Delete
    4. I'll bite. When did the money taking stop?

      Delete
  16. Our dilapidated water system has been paying City Hall bills for years. This is so wrong what's been done to our city, by both residents and non residents. We should all look in the mirror to see if sucker is printed on our foreheads.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah right. 6:07. Sierra Madre's water infrastructure fell apart under the weight of all the money invested in it. Fap!

      Delete
  17. I was at the Library Gala last night and heard a couple of people talking about how the city just can't get rid of the PD. I didn't know them so I didn't interject into their conversation. They just don't get it. The UUT on the ballot is a stop gap measure. Then we have a parcel tax and another one and another one. Mr. Capoccia's battle cry is we have to pay if we want it. There is something wrong with that. And please, tell me why you have to give any training to the LAPD officers hired. That takes all of an hour?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A dedicated parcel tax to subsidize SMPD, unless the tax sunsets, would take a 2/3 vote. Good luck with that.

      Delete
    2. We are preaching to the choir again.
      We need to attract the under-informed.The Library Gala conversation reported above indicates why.
      Some really nice, well intentioned folks in Sierra Madre honestly believe the nonsense from the anti-Sheriff group. We can easily win them over with the facts .The problem is - how to get them to read Tattler ?
      One way may be to add an additional column to this wonderful blog ? That column would be the helpful/info type .For example -mundane things like where to exchange your old toilet for a free low-flow one, rain barrel giveaways,Tattler-friendly events in town,specials offered by businesses in town?

      Delete
    3. Gosh someone coming up with positive possible solutions here? I'm surprised your comment was not "removed by a blog administrator".

      Delete
    4. A parcel tax would require 2/3 vote, but would be written like So. Pasadena, Altadena (for the library), and San Marino to be renewed in a certain period of time such as: 10 years. the assessment would remain the same for ten years, then it would be reviewed to see if the rate would raise. So, that is a good solution to sheriff vs local police. This would take about 2 years to get on the ballot. It's worth a try if nothing else.

      Delete
    5. SMPD will be gone before 2 years. Capoccia said the 10% UUT wasn't enough $$.

      Delete
  18. We keep saying No. No more taxes! No on the UUT for the third time! NO !!!
    City Hall just can not take no for the answer. NO!
    Every Council Member should recluse themselves, QUIT! or recalled if Elaine is not FIRED!
    Enough is enough people. The mismanagement has to stop. It is destroying our Village.

    ReplyDelete
  19. A crooked politician's prayer; Oh please let their be another tax paying sucker helping me or us in our fleecing of this town.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  21. We get what we vote for. Remember there is a choice April 12. Please help get the voters out. It is not easy. The choices are John, John, or Barry.

    ReplyDelete
  22. i think the math of the writer is all messed up. The amount you atate would only be correct if there was going to be zero patrol officers or outside agencies billing for responses to the city from 6pm to 6am.

    In order to compare that $100,000 monthly expenditure you have to take into account thyat if you dont have that LASD coverage then money is going to be spent to have night coverage from a different source, be it off0-duty LAPD,,SMPD on overtime or regular pay, so the cost is not an additional $%1.2m

    If it takes a year to get back up to strength there is only additional costs to the city if Sierra Madre end up paying the county more than they would have spent anyways on SMPD regular Straight time and benefits, overtime pay,, off-duty LAPD officers and part-timers used,,and any help from neighboring cities 6pm=6am.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Umm, those are the city's numbers, fella.

      Delete
  23. when the LASD pays out on a civil rights violation by its patrol deputies, the cost is assessed to the areas served by LASD patrol even if it occurred somewhere else.

    ReplyDelete