Where’s that $255,000? Nobody’s talkin’!

1 Jun

Well, aren’t I a dork!?! I promised everybody there would be a big discussion at next Tuesday’s council meeting, regarding that missing, well, at this point, it’s only $255,000.  Actually, it’s more complicated than that – if you’ve  been following the deficit discussion for the last five years you better have laid down bread crumbs or you are lost on the other side of some far away planet trying to figure out “how we got here.”

Jennifer Hennessy, Miss Finance MisDirector, has been leading us on a merry tramp these last five or six years, pretending to explain why we are perennially short of money, but not really doing so. Lately she’s been telling us one thing when it’s time for her re-evaluation and raise, and then another, BAD  thing a few months down the road. I’ll never forget a few years back – she was allowed to hire her own evaluator, and then when he gave her a good evaluation, she gave herself a $14,000 raise. Of course council approved the raise, but by the time the rubber stamp was dry, she was telling us we were up Shit Creek without a paddle again. She keeps losing that goddam paddle, and then finding one to suit her when she pleases. I think her husband makes those paddles in the garage. 

So, when council was confronted with a mob at the last meeting, they quickly agreed to a “discussion” of why Hennessy would say everything was just Jim Dandy earlier in the year, but by May, we’re closing a fire station. Gosh, there are so many worms in this can, it’s almost impossible to move without stepping on them.

The fire station was closed as a grand stand gesture by a chief who was told he had to come up with the missing money. The chief could have restructured overtime to find that money, in fact, if the fire department would agree to DUMP STRUCTURED IN OVERTIME, they could hire more staff. But the current employees want their salaries and overtime and their spiked pensions, so the chief just closed a fire station to piss off the public, trying to force the council to give up MORE MONEY TO THE SECOND BIGGEST DEPARTMENT IN THE CITY. This city spend 89 % of it’s budget on “public safety”. Sorry Chief Beery, your buttcrack is showing. 

But, Toby Schindelbeck, Will Clark, and Ken Campbell are right in this – the city is hiding malfeasance. 

What we have here, is a bunch of tigers fighting over money. I hope they all chase each other around a tree until they turn into butter. PANCAKES FOR EVERYBODY!

But, when I read the upcoming agenda, I realized, there’s going to be no such “discussion” – see here:

http://www.chico.ca.us/government/minutes_agendas/documents/6-5-12CityCouncilAgendaPacket.pdf

I wrote a letter to council, asking for a better report about this mess:

Hi All,

 we were promised a report with figures regarding this missing $255,000. There’s no report in the agenda I received. 
 
When will we get a precise explanation of all the figures that don’t make sense? I try to share the “facts” with the public when I speak about these issues, but getting the “facts” out of staff and council is like pulling teeth. 
 
We are expected to sit through another discussion of “sustainability indicators,” presented by a staffer making more than $100,000 a year with slick glossy photos and all kinds of groovy charts – how much did THAT cost? Ann, you couldn’t even get a quorum of the STF to endorse that report, and THAT’S A FACT! 
 
If we don’t get “facts” regarding this latest “shortfall” we’re going to have to run on assumptions. I assume Ann Schwab has presided over an embezzlement, and until I hear some convincing arguments to the contrary, that’s going to be the “facts.” 
 
Thanks, Juanita Sumner, Chico 
As far as I’m concerned, this is the “facts” – Ann Schwab has presided over the economic degradation of our town, watching silently while staffers and other hangers on empty our coffers with their crazy salary agreements and “you scratch my back”contracting practices. Ann’s sustainability task force has cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, with nothing to show for itself but onerous restrictions on practicing business or living in the city of Chico. This woman needs to be shown the back door in November, and given a  toe to the seat of her pants.
UPDATE, 6/5/12, 8:30pm –  Chief Beery is explaining that he closed Station 5 when he was faced with a $95,000 shortfall because Station 5 is not really essential. He claims it was built to serve development at “Bidwell Ranch,” which was never built out. Beery says he never would have built Station 5 in that location. 
Beery’s presentation has been rambling and repetitive, mostly to the point that we can’t live without Chico Fire. We are supposed to call them when our water pipe breaks in the middle of the night he says – I’m sorry, I would shut off my main water valve, and go back to bed. He says we’re supposed to call Chico Fire when we have a “miocardial infarction” – why? Why wouldn’t I call an ambulance? 
I’m not happy with the reports given tonight. There was no written back up, they’ve been rambling all over the countryside without really explaining why they are perennially over spent Downtown. 
And now Andy Holcombe is taking the old Caddy around the block. Beery is answering with computer modeling and national averages. Let’s talk about what the truck really roll out for in Chico – broken water pipes? Ambulance runs? Hook and ladder to Safeway?  Response time to WHAT? 
To best address the needs of this community, the Fire Department needs to change their staffing policies and dump structured overtime. Regular people work swing shift and graveyard for the same wages as their day shift counter parts. It’s time for the night shifts to get paid regular wages instead of overtime. Overtime is why the police and fire get over 80 percent of our budget and they still want more. 
Having listened to Jennifer Hennessy’s presentations, what I would say is, we need to spend based on what we actually take in, rather than budgeting based on her “guesses”. 

2 Responses to “Where’s that $255,000? Nobody’s talkin’!”

  1. Joseph June 1, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Well, Schwabbie sure has some splaining to do. And what’s Hokum and The Grundler along with Mary Flinn or Goloff or whatever her name is now, got to say about all this?

    And why doesn’t the local media report any of this? If it weren’t for Juanita I’d no nothing about this.

    And what a miracle, they were able to open the fire station a month early! The fact that they could do that indicates there is plenty of money if they’d just get rid of all the useless nonsensical things Schwabbie insists on, and if they cut the insane gummit pensions and compensation we’d be swimming in money. There sure is no reason whatsoever to raise any taxes.

    Ain’t that right, Juanita?

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