Monya Jameson, CARD Rec Superintendent: “We need more ‘worker bees’!”

6 Jun

Today I attended the CARD budget work session to find out that a balanced budget is not necessarily a good thing, not when you balance it by carving your expenditures with an ax. 

Like CARD board member Tom Lando, I was left asking myself, “why would they cut the programs that are actually bringing in revenue?”  Because none of the management are willing to give up their fat salaries and benefits to hire more of the part timers that actually do the work. 

For me the hour and twenty minute meeting boiled down to the last half hour or so.   After Finance Manager Scott Dowell explained the ax-carving that brought the budget back from Outer Space, and the horrors of a flat economy that waited ahead, Monya Jameson, Superintendent of Recreation and Community Services, painted an even bleaker picture. She described the shaving down of the programs for which CARD is supposed to exist, then ended her report by asking the board to re-fill the Senior Recreation Supervisor position they’d left open in order to balance the budget, saying, “I cannot continue to teach a program and manage a department.” 

Jameson started out talking about how various programs under her supervision had grown in the last seven to eight years, bringing in more participants and revenues. In 2005 the “net” program revenue was $210,110, with 27,512 participants in the programs. By 2012, participants had more than doubled, to 58,240, with revenues increasing to $324,540. All this time, staff hours only increased from 14,120 to 21,230.  So, participation more than doubled, and staff hours didn’t double – that is a little out of whack.

Now, due to a new federal law lowering the number of hours worked to qualify for health benefits from 40 to 30, CARD General Manager Steve Visconti is not allowing part time staffers more than 27 hours without approval. Part timers are the bulk of CARD’s work force. They not only mow lawns and stripe ball fields, empty trash cans and clean up vandalism, they supervise after school programs, teach swim lessons, and other activities with hands-on involvement with our children. So, Jameson says, she having to cut the participation in the more popular programs – programs that have “just exploded” over the past year. The “Junior Giants” program, for instance, grew from 300 kids signed up last year to 575 this year. Jameson only has two staffers, one full-time, and one part time to supervise that many kids? She will have to cut that program, and others, “looking at impacting about 555 kids”. 

“We need more ‘worker bees’!” she complained.

I don’t entirely sympathize with Jameson. She gets a $79,900 salary, with pension and benefits paid, while her part time “recreation leaders” and “recreation directors” – the people who actually work with the kids – make less than $10,000 – some less than $1,000 a year – with no pension or benefits. If Jameson would pay her own $5477 share of her pension premium, she could hire another part timer. The employer’s share is over $9,000, and she gets another $10,000 + in “health, dental and vision.” 

In fact, something Jameson didn’t discuss that showed plainly in her Power Point Presentation, was that management positions, just in the recreation department, more than doubled over those years between 2005 and 2012. Of course she didn’t have the figures for salaries and benefits over the same period. 

Dowell and Jameson, along with Superintendent of Parks and Facilities Jake Preston, were doing their best to paint a bleak picture for CARD, with property tax takings, their mainstay, flat-lining.  $112,000/year General Manager Steve Visconti howled about the $350,000 they’d been promised out of the dissolution of the RDA – they were lucky to instead received $80,000, and he wasn’t going to bite the hand by complaining about that, he said. In past years they’ve gotten $90,000 – after the RDA rabbit math, that’s $270,000 to be paid by our grandchildren at a date later announced. 

But nobody wanted to talk about Employer Paid Member Contribution. CARD employees do not pay any of their own share.  The funny thing is, most of their employees are part timers  making less than $5,000/year with no benefits. CARD spends about $4.7 million of it’s reported $6.5 million in revenues on salaries and benefits, most of it for only 30 employees. 

Well, I’d like to talk about this meeting further later, I’ll get back to it. 



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