Monday, November 07, 2011

Q & A - Tamar Goldmann To City Council

INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW
A few weeks ago Costa Mesa resident, educator and frequent speaker before the City Council, Tamar Goldmann, addressed the council with a long list of questions dealing with the outsourcing scheme in our city and some that are, in some way, related to that subject. Ms. Goldmann has shared the reply she recently received from Interim Communications Director Bill Lobdell with me and I'll share it with you.

THE QUESTIONS
The following is the list of questions Tamar Goldm
ann submitted to CEO Tom Hatch:
  1. How much of this year's budget--in dollars and by percentage of total budget is estimated to be spent on pensions?
  2. How much of this year's budget--in dollars--is devoted to staying current on the interest accruing on the unfunded pension?
  3. How much of this year's budget (in dollars, in addition to this year's routine pension payment) is going toward reducing the unfunded pension liability?
  4. Has OCEA offered or agreed to a 2-tier retirement system within the last three years?
  5. Have the fire or police department ever offered or agreed to such a plan?
  6. We have been reading about six bargaining groups. Besides OCEA, fire, and police, what are the other three?
  7. Have any of the groups offered to increase their pension contributions?
  8. What other concessions have been made by employees, e.g., furlough days?
  9. Please publish the 100-item list of cost-saving suggestions that employees produced.
  10. Which departments have been reviewed for possible outsourcing within the past four years, and what was the determination for each one?
  11. How many employees have voluntarily left city employment since November 2010?
  12. Which positions have been eliminated, and how have their responsibilities been filled?
  13. What has been spent since November 2010 on rearranging and refurnishing/refurbishing City hall?
  14. What is the running total for outsourcing expenses broken down by

a. Legal fees

b. Management companies: Growthpoint and Management Partners (I'll check the names and get them right)

c. Staff time

THE ANSW
ERS
Last Week L
obdell provided the following response: (Lobdell's replies are shown in blue) He didn't answer all of them, but came close.

  1. How much of this year's budget--in dollars and by percentage of total budget is estimated to be spent on pensions?

14,674,741 - 14% page 64&65 of adopted budget, excluding capital projects.

  1. How much of this year's budget--in dollars--is devoted to staying current on the interest accruing on the unfunded pension?

Unknown at this time, as no analysis has been completed.

  1. How much of this year's budget (in dollars, in addition to this year's routine pension payment) is going toward reducing the unfunded pension liability?

Unknown at this time, as no analysis has been completed.

  1. Has OCEA offered or agreed to a 2-tier retirement system within the last three years?

Technically it is Costa Mesa City Employees Assn. and yes, it did in 2010. However, the plan hasn’t been implemented yet. Details are still being negotiated.

  1. Have the fire or police department ever offered or agreed to such a plan?

Offered yes, but not agreed to.

  1. We have been reading about six bargaining groups. Besides OCEA, fire, and police, what are the other three?

Technically it is Costa Mesa City Employees Assn. not OCEA, but the others are the 3 management groups= Police Managers, Fire Managers, City/Division Managers

  1. Have any of the groups offered to increase their pension contributions?

Yes, in 2010, all groups increased their pension contributions on a temporary basis.

  1. What other concessions have been made by employees, e.g., furlough days?

Most groups took furlough days in 2009 & 2010. CMFA (Fire) reduced their health flex bucket instead of furloughs.

  1. Please publish the 100-item list of cost-saving suggestions that employees produced.

Click here. Suggestions are attached to the end of the report.

  1. Which departments have been reviewed for possible outsourcing within the past four years, and what was the determination for each one?

We have not reviewed an entire department to be outsourced.

  1. How many employees have voluntarily left city employment since November 2010?

FY 09/10

Resigned/Terminated: 9

Retired: 42

FY 10/11

Deceased: 1

Layoff: 27

Resigned/Terminated: 15

Retired: 34

FY 11/12 as of early October

Layoff: 4

Resign: 13

Retired: 5

My total above comes out to 150. It’s not perfect, this is my best estimate within the time frame given. This is for FT authorized positions only. This only takes into account employees who have actually left since July 1, 2009. It does not account for any positions that were vacant prior to July 1, 2009 and subsequently officially eliminated.

  1. Which positions have been eliminated, and how have their responsibilities been filled?

More than 150 positions have been eliminated in the past three fiscal years throughout city government (many are detailed in various council reports that you can get online). Responsibilities have been dispersed to remaining staff and/or services/programs have been cut or reduced.

  1. What has been spent since November 2010 on rearranging and refurnishing/refurbishing City hall?

The City spent $8,000 for carpet in the finance department after a flood in late 2010 or early 2011. We hired some movers to bring the Housing and Community Development Department to the second floor. Nothing major.

  1. What is the running total for outsourcing expenses broken down by

a. Legal fees.

This will take some time. If you’d like the information, please submit a California Public Records Act request.

b. Management companies: Growthpoint and Management Partners (I'll check the names and get them right)

GrowthPoint wasn’t involved in outsourcing. As for Management Partners, to break out the outsourcing will take some time. If you’d like the information, please submit a California Public Records Act request.

c. Staff time

Not quantifiable. We have not specifically kept track; it is a matter of priorities for management.

NOTE: When you go to #9 and click on that link it will take you to the staff report submitted by then-Finance Director Marc Puckett to the City Council for it's meeting of April 14, 2009. At the bottom of that staff report you will find a list of attachments that looks like this: (This is an image, not a live link. Go to the link above)

The list of questions Ms. Goldmann refers to will be found in attachments 3, 4 and 5. In fact, the entire list of attachments provides an excellent reminder of how things were in our City two years ago. Take some time and review the charts.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Just Wondering said...

When Lobdell says to make a Public Records request, is he just saying "Make me tell you"?

If not, why no answer?

11/08/2011 05:12:00 AM  
Anonymous mulai said...

I was thinking the same thing. Technically, this list of questions is a public records request and nothing more is required. It is nice to have a formal request and nothing wrong with asking, but it isn't required.

11/08/2011 08:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Eleanor said...

To Just Wondering: Lobdell is saying the city will make the records available to you, but you will have to do the analysis yourself; they're not going to do it for you.

GrowthPort Partners ("GrowthPoint" in the Q&A) is involved in the outsourcing, at least to the extent that they are going to be reviewing the RFP responses, according to a Tom Hatch memo to the City Council. So the time GrowthPort spends on that review is part of the expense of outsourcing.

11/08/2011 09:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Daisy Mae said...

Very informative information here. I am looking forward to the answers about the total cost of legal fees and the consultant costs thus far. I am sure Lobdell has this information or can get it from Finance. He probably was directed to stall for awhile.

11/08/2011 09:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Not stalling said...

To head the Hatch conspiracy theorists off at the pass, the CA Attorney General CPRA guidelines:

http://ag.ca.gov/publications/summary_public_records_act.pdf

11/08/2011 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Not Stalling,
Thanks for that...

11/08/2011 11:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Something is wrong w/ the # said...

FY 10/11

Deceased: 1

Layoff: 27

Resigned/Terminated: 15

Retired: 34


I am curious as to how many of the retirees were "forced" to retire, because they were being laid-off and how many of the retiree's positions were positions that were eliminated?

Also how many full-time personnel were demoted to part-time positions because they faced being laid-off?

By not addressing these questions honestly, integrity goes out the window.

Integrity – I forgot that went out the bath water and the baby.

Ms. Tamara, thank you for asking and for being persistent. I would hope that the CEO will post this information on the “transparency” link of the City website and include the answers to those questions that were not answered.

11/08/2011 10:17:00 PM  

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