Saturday, June 25, 2016

Sierra Madre City Council Meeting Consent Calendar Item 1c. Can You Make Any Sense Of It?

"If you want a real big headache try reading the staff report on the city council agenda for next Tues., consent calendar item 1. c. I do not understand a single word, but this must be costing us plenty. Something to do with employee health benefit liabilities." - a reader comment from yesterday

I try to decipher these things when people ask, but every once in a while something shows up that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. There are a few possible explanations for this. The first being that the staff report or document is poorly written and things are just not very well explained. That happens sometimes.

Another would be that an opaquely written report covers a potentially controversial matter, and the city staff reporter does not want people to concern themselves about it too much. Such as an item involving increased health care benefit liability costs. This at a time when people had been told that such costs have now been managed, and the bad old days when Sierra Madre had some of the richest health care packages in the state are now safely in the past.

Of course, that could be pre-Measure UUT thinking, and with the money in the bag these bodies are now being allowed to float to the surface. But only in an obliquely written way. No need to spook the herd.

Here is a chart we posted in September of 2014 (link) that detailed just how expensive some of Sierra Madre's health care package costs back then really were. At the time that $37,815 "Health, Dental and Vision" item was the highest in California.


Anyway, here is a portion of Consent Calendar Item 1c for next Tuesday evening's City Council meeting (link). Can you make any sense of this?


Care to take a swing at this? It sounds to me like some sort of health care benefit costs are going up, but City Hall does not want to come out and actually say that.

However, I am not sure.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

70 comments:

  1. All you YES on UUT people,,,,, you don't have a clue what's going on do you? You who voted yes must be so rich that none of this matters but, some of us cant afford to pay Beverly Hills salaries to our small town government. This is only the beginning you YES people. There is more coming down the road but you wont care you must have money coming out you rear. Paying more and more wouldn't be so bad if we were getting the service were paying for but were not. This leadership is pushing us so far into debt that we will have to raise the construction heights and density to pay for everything city hall has indebted us to. I feel we are as poorly run a city as any you could find. And I mean POORLY run for us residents but management is doing a GREAT job for their pay and retirement. If I have to I will pitch a tent at CITY HALL and call out the media. I think local government wants to push all the older citizens out because they hate us so much, just look at them the next time they smile at us, that's our money glistening from their teeth. Sorry but I guess you can tell I'm mad as hell and don't want to take it any more. Get educated and involved residents, try to see the light.

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    1. REI is having a sale. Can't wait to see your new tent outside city hall.

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    2. I think pitching a tent on the lawn of city hall with media coverage is an EXCELLENT idea. The media loves stories where the little guy is pushed around by greedy individuals, like in Bell. The huge pay scales of our public employees in this town is entirely disproportionate to the revenue generated by the city. We're being told that our water and UUT rates have to be much higher than surrounding communities because we don't have the revenue sources of those cities, but why shouldn't the salaries and benefits of employees be significantly lower for the EXACT same reason????? More people in this town need to wake up and get mad to get this problem under control.

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  2. What this report says is the following:
    Health care costs that will accrue during the retirement phase of a public employee have so far just been ignored, and were never budgeted for.
    This is now going to change, and for the first time, we see the truly anticipated health care costs of public employees.
    So, the health care costs do not really go up, they have always existed. They were just never mentioned in any budget.

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    1. And now this is a consent calendar item? Explicit or implicit?

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    2. $1,156,000 looks pretty explicit to me. But that is probably not the meaning city staff had for explicit.

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    3. Just remember that every time you drive over a pot hole in this city or hit a half rate patch repair over a water main, that wouldn't be the case if these Cadillac benefits weren't given to our public employees. Things are so out of control I could see public works ultimately having a full crew of highly compensated employees, but saying that they can't do any work because they don't have any money left over for asphalt after they receive their huge benefits.

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    4. 6:25
      Implicit, unless you want to find yourself in the twin towers.

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  3. This consent item remind me of what a toilet does moves sticky issues out of sight and gone for ever thus giving the tax paying public not a chance in 'a inferno' to comment or debate this '1c' publicly - this is what happens when you give away your rights to govern your own city and those who claim they know and do best for the public? Next will be new taxes or fees along with revenue generating increase for city services, that how the toilet flushes and what it sounds like.

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    1. Public comment on this item has been moved to "the blog."

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    2. Thank you, Josh Moran. Is that the blog nobody reads?

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  4. If a city employee retires at 55 (and that is what CalPERS allows for), they'll need health care coverage until Medicare kicks in around a decade later. So I guess that is on the taxpayers?

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    1. Yes, yes it is. Oh boy.

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    2. Everything comes from the taxpayers. It goes to those who believe they are entitled to it, and damn anyone for not wanting to give them more.

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    3. Benjamin Franklin already knew that two things are certain in life: death and taxes.
      The only way Sierra Madre can reduce the taxes on its residents is by revising its zoning codes to attract a lot more businesses in town or by accepting a lot less services. Neither one is a likely scenario.
      A statewide repeal of proposition 13 would also do the trick, but then some of Sierra Madre's residents would be paying even more than they do now.

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    4. Revising prop 13 would mean that most of us would no longer be able to afford to live in our homes. How would you like your property taxes to increase 3 to 4 times?

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    5. 2:57
      You should ask your neighbor how he would like that he pays less because you pay your fair share.

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    6. Let me guess. Your parents make you sleep in the basement.

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    7. I would certainly not like to be viewed as a welfare recipient.

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    8. 4:14 No, I pay your share...

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    9. I'm sorry, 4:51. But I don't live in your parent's basement. The smell of unwashed underwear and bong water is a bit much.

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    10. 4:55
      If there were a price for the worst reading comprehension, you would win it by a landslide. Unfortunately, there is no such a thing.

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    11. Have another hit, dude.

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  5. 6:14 has it right. This is an example of transparency and of accountability at our City Hall. How you paranoids turn it into something else is pure demagoguery.

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    1. If they were trying to be transparent the city would have admitted they screwed up and now need a lot of the taxpayers' money to fix their mistakes. Instead they chose to use a lot of obscure jargon to describe the mess and then tried to sneak it through as a consent item.

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    2. City Hall has indeed screwed up in many aspects, but not in this one. Just because some of you do not understand proper technical terminology does not automatically mean that this is another mistake on part of City Hall.

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    3. Can you then please explain what is good about this?

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    4. If there was transparency this would have been disclosed BEFORE the UUT election. Which would have confirmed the 67% increase was about Platinum Pensions and Cadillac Healthcare

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    5. Being on the consent calender means they don't want us to notice it so they don'the have to explain why we have to pay million more then they show us.

      Goss sets the agenda. He is the political expert. That is what he teaches.

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    6. Any member of the council can request that item be removed from the consent calendar and opened for regular discussion and public comment. Not that I think any of them have enough backbone for that.

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    7. 11:15
      It makes absolutely no sense to move this from the consent calendar. They are following the law.
      Maybe they should explain the law to those who have difficulty with the English language, but that is really not the responsibility of the City Council. It is the responsibility of every resident.

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    8. Your faith in the government to create laws that protect its taxation interests is touching.

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    9. 1:05, sunshine makes the best transparency. What are you afraid of?

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    10. 1:42
      That's exactly what they are doing, being transparent, about the anticipated health care costs.

      Whether I and you agree with the amount of the healthcare costs, is a completely different question. I do not agree with that. But to ask them not to account for the existing costs, is just silly.

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    11. It is after the fact transparency, and the absolute bare minimum. The only reason they are doing this at all is because if they didn't it would be a violation of California state law. They screwed up badly.

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    12. 1:19
      I wish I could say the same of your ignorance about accounting...

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    13. Accounting should not be forced to take the blame for the city's lack of transparency.

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  6. I doubt the mod will post this, because the post is not about secrecy in Pasadena Politics. But here goes. How did any of you dimwits get enough education to afford Sierra Madre? No wonder Trump has a chance to be president. This blog should be renamed, "Spot the Illiterate Trump Voters."

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    1. Actually it's about secrecy in Sierra Madre politics. I don't know where you got the Pasadena from. Unless you're the guy who made all those postcards for the Yes On UUT campaign. For the record, I would never vote for Trump. So it looks like you are wrong on all counts. Hardly surprising.

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    2. 7:39 - Do you ever actually try and discuss the issues? Is name calling all you are capable of?

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    3. 7:39 has Trump on his/her brain. Shouldn't have taken that tin foil hat off.

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    4. I'll bet that many here in SM would vote to SMEXIT California.

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    5. Actually 7:39 we inherited our homes here.

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    6. 7:39, you're a moron. Clearly you favor Hillary or Sanders, which indicates you have no common sense at all and is completely commensurate with your post.

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    7. Do some traveling. Find something better than Sierra Madre in California and get back to me. I refuse to be run out of the state I was born in, my husband was born in, our son was born in.

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    8. Good luck, hope you can continue to afford it!

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    9. 1:07
      That seems to be a particularly rational reason.

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  7. O.K. English please: "Explicit Subsidy Unfunded Actuarial Accrued Liability"

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    1. Specific contribution to unsecured, accumulated bookkeeping debt.

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    2. Easy for you to say.

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    3. Wasn't Measure UUT supposed to cover whatever that is? I have a postcard that says it was.

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    4. I think Measure UUT was supposed to do everything. Even bring back the unicorn.

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  8. I think we should also exit the EU. Mr. Trump feels the same way so hes got my vote.

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    1. Ahem! We are not in the EU! Did you mean NAFTA?

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    2. FYI, the so-called BREXIT actually increases our tax burden.
      CALPERS is heavily invested in the stock market and it guarantees a 7% return, whether the stock markets increases or sinks. The difference is made up by the taxpayer.

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  9. I get the Unfunded part..

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  10. I get the Unfunded part..

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    1. Twice, evidently.

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    2. You want fries with that?

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  11. I wonder if any of the council members understand this or even care?

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    1. They better do understand this. Frankly, I find it astonishing how many of the educated people of Sierra Madre seem to struggle with it.

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    2. Local govt speaks a different languge. Translated this item says "we screwed up and city council we need you to give us $100,000 to fix it." But of course they can't say it that way because they can never be seen as being in the wrong. So instead we get a bunch of gibberish.

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  12. Many of these items have come before council; they are quickly and quietly mention for future agenda items.
    I recall a citizen asking the council "so this will guarantee us the police and fire dept./if we vote for the UUT.
    Quietly one member said; there are no guarantees. Was anyone listening? including the speaker who asked the question; then campaigned strongly for the increase with no sunset new UUT.
    Maybe it is time to listen to all that is not being said' along with reading all of the small print on those shiny expensive mailers.

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  13. You are talking about national politics and you people don't even understand local politics. We the people have voted in our local citizens to see that the town gets managed properly and by the law. Nothing like a pat on the back a hand shake/hug delivered with a big smile to cloud your vision to the truth. If only we could vote on the facts and not the hype that is afforded by big money and group followers.

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  14. Bottom line, we are going to pay more taxes.

    And don't forget item 4, the new county park tax that we get 29% of what we pay .

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  15. Oh no, not the parks too!

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    1. It's not really a new county tax for the parks. They're just holding them hostage so you'll agree to pay more taxes. You know, so they can be saved. Kind of like that role the Sierra Madre Library played during the Measure UUT fib-athon.

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  16. That 67% tax increase was for the parks. Yes on Measure UUT's Martin Truitt of PASADENA said so on all those freaking postcards.

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    1. Don't forget Truthless Truitt's little Sierra Madre errand boy Fibber Garcia. Truthless is going to run him for City Council in 2018. Hang on to those postcards. It will be fun watching Fibber claim he had nothing to do with them.

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