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City Budget - Investment

From: domainremoved <R>
Date: Tue, 16 Jun 2015 21:07:51 +0000

Dear Council,
I am concerned about your recent words and actions regarding stewardship of MP resources and funds. While investment in MP seems appropriate it is how you plan to get there that troubles me. Here are some topics to categorize my thoughts. But first, my bottom line: our city has been "developed" over the last decade by a core staff of senior management...and the result is pro-development and pro-residential groups are both unsatisfied. Somebody should be asking how we can change that dynamic since the senior management in charge has not had the answers all the while our City staff grows.

City Manager - We did a compensation study (never been involved in one of these studies where the requesting party did not end up with more...) and you gave our City Mgr. a raise. Of course, there was little review of the sweetheart loan you gave him mid-contract. My bigger concern is that he was hired to "run the City" and I cannot name a major effort nor initiative where he did not use a consultant. This adds costs above his salary and, oddly enough, ends up raising the cost of whatever MP does. I thought the CM was supposed to be the expert at running the City...why does he need help on every major project/decision/initiative?
Deficit Spending - It is alarming that MP would choose this direction. The City is not a venture start-up, new city, and all the projects we are doing have been done before - buildings, roadways, development, utilities. Yes, there may be more work today and that work may result in greater revenues for MP. But is our city going to continually demand this level of work effort? Likewise, we deferred and delayed maintenance in the past and simultaneously claimed we had a surplus of funds. That's like claiming you have, "a lot of money in your checking account," -- before the big check you wrote clears. So INVEST yes. Deficit, no. There are a lot of creative and effective solutions out there to handle growth. It has been suggested you hire a "staff reduction" consultant. I might agree if Council hired them directly. If Alex does it we know the answer is they will suggest more staff and the costs for that staff will be higher as well.
Staffing - You want to add staff to the Planning Dept. for all the pending work over the next few years.
1) MP has been "overstaffed" by nearly every measure in both analysis including an excluding Police. This has been evident, and highlighted as an issue for more than 15 years. Why are we adding so many staff when we know our development can only continue for a limited time - 5 years?? It is highly disingenuous to even suggest these positions will be eliminated in 5 years time when the development boom is over...meaning I doubt any of you have plans to be on Council when that issue will arise.
2) CA has a pension crisis, therefore, MP has a pension crisis. How are you working to solve that issue because neither you, nor the CM, will be here? In addition, since you gave Alex a raise our other city unions will want raises and that will exacerbate the crisis - recall the 2007 budget deal where Council retroactively gifted a pension increase to all long term employees. But that is not the real problem here. Next time we negotiate with Unions they will ask for "fairness" just like they have in the past. However, their view of "fairness" is that they keep their high-rate pension benefit while new hires get less...ironically to keep the budget in "balance". I do not believe it is fair to hire new staff, to do the same job as existing staff, but get less benefit. If they are not ALL in this together then they should stop acting as a Union and negotiate individually, or by department, etc. And, for example, I do not want to default to someday having a retired Police force while the City of MP has to contract out for Police services because we didn't plan well today and we cannot recruit new Officers because we cannot offer them benefits.
3) Planning Dept. needs an overhaul, not more people in the same system. Do a blind survey of homeowners that have built or renovated properties in MP and you'll have proof enough that there is dysfunction in this department. My unique remodel situation is far from unusual and management staff in this department is weak to nonexistent. I have not seen any changes, nor improvements. Yes, they finally "approved" my remodel (the final inspection was a joke, incomplete, never checked the final items, didn't issue an inspection ticket, etc., and done by a contractor - someone else to blame) since I walked them into a situation where: - they went back in the record to make changes, - then they said they did not do work that they had done, - they contradicted their own instructions/directions,
 - and they overlooked structural integrity in favor of internal procedure. ...wholly unprofessional, and they didn't realize the consequences of their own actions.
4) When was the last time MP Council significantly cut staff?

Bottom line, repeated for convenience; Somebody should be asking how we can change the past decade dynamic since the senior management in charge has not had the right answers to grow our City yet all the while our City staff grows.

Russ PetersonFelton Gables
Received on Tue Jun 16 2015 - 14:07:26 PDT

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