Mark Sorensen – did you sign contracts that raised the EPMC from $6.5 million to $14 million?

4 Mar

Kelly sent me a link to State Controller John Chiang’s website regarding public salaries – it’s got the data for every county and city in California. I looked at years 2009 – 2012, and I saw something for the first time – from 2010 to 2011, when the city first started shedding employees due to the impending bankruptcy, the amount of employee “share” paid by the city of Chico went from $6.5 million to $14 million. 

I had to ask Mark Sorensen, who was elected to council in 2010, how that happened.

Now, here’s something I just noticed yesterday – did you sign contracts in 2011 that raised the amount of pensions and benefits paid by the city from about $6.5 million to over $14 million? That would have been just before I started understanding all that pension time bomb stuff, I was not watching. At the same time we were getting rid of employees, our pension/benefits cost more than doubled, how did that happen? I remember you talking about  this in your blog – 

http://www.norcalblogs.com/bored/2011/02/04/chico-firefighters-agreement/

 

It looks like you were advocating paying 80 – 90 percent of employee costs, but saying we’d save money?  – am I getting that right? Please explain – thanks, Juanita

I think I hit a nerve, cause it took him almost a week to get back to me. I know he’s busy, but when he wants to talk, you can get him just about any time. Now all the sudden he didn’t want to talk. And when he did answer me, he accused me of making it up.

“…contracts in 2011 that raised the amount of pensions and benefits paid by the city from about $6.5 million to over $14 million?” 

I don’t know how you dream this stuff up.  It just confuses an already confusing pile of information. 

What’s with the defensive tone? I asked him a question, he comes back telling me I make stuff up?  He accuses me of confusing the issue with too many questions – aha! Now we know who’s really behind the new rules for committee meetings – Mark Sorensen and Brian Nakamura are running the city while Scott Gruendl is out road-raging over his sister’s death. They want the public OUT! Because he knows the curtains are getting pretty thin, and pretty soon everybody is going to know what’s really going on Downtown, and who is really pulling all the strings. 

And then he throws down the toothpicks with this confusing ramble – with all the different type faces and font sizes – this is what I get for asking a simple question of a man with red hands:

Pension costs alone have been at about $10-11 million per year for many years (employer contribution rates were increasing slightly, while the number of employees was decreasing). Take a look at the Calpers annual valuation reports for the city of Chico’s two pension plans. Those reports contain the exact pension cost numbers. Though, you must manually add the EPMC (employer paid member contribution), which has been around $1.8 million per year, and now rapidly going down to $0.0 per year. Other benefits costs have not changed much in recent years. 

 

There were no new city of Chico labor contracts beginning in 2011. All were set to expire in 2012. 

 

My blog entry that you mentioned references a modification by way of a “letter agreement” to one contract. That being with the IAFF. 

 

The primary impact of that letter agreement was to STOP a 4% raise to the firefighters as was scheduled the 2007 contract. That contract was being modified in order to halt the 4% raise.  

 

The history of pay and benefit increases can be found in the following document, beginning at page 7.  

 

http://www.chico.ca.us/human_resources_and_risk_management/documents/Summary_of_Benefits.pdf

 

This year will register very significant decreases. Is it enough? No, but it is about as much as could be obtained if necessary from the California Public Employee Relations Board. 

 

It took many years to build this financial debacle, it will take years to re calibrate it, but particularly take a good look at what occurred between 1997 and 2002. 

What?  So I asked him that:

I got it off Chiang’s website Mark, I didn’t dream anything up.  Look for  yourself – benefits paid by the city doubled from 2010 – 2011. I know CalPERS started demanding more, I guess I should ask – why weren’t the employees asked to pay it? Why did you folks continue to approve contracts that required the taxpayers to foot the bill for these outrageous pensions and benefits agreements? They’ve still continued to get  raises, by the way, we’re not blind. 

http://publicpay.ca.gov/Reports/Cities/Cities.aspx

 
It doesn’t look good that six of you are on public salaries with packages of your own to protect. 
 
You’re accusing me of confusing this mess by asking questions?  These contracts are written purposely to confuse anybody who hasn’t been to law school.  Nothing you say makes sense – 
 

(Mark said) Pension costs alone have been at about $10-11 million per year for many years (employer contribution rates were increasing slightly, while the number of employees was decreasing). Take a look at the Calpers annual valuation reports for the city of Chico’s two pension plans. Those reports contain the exact pension cost numbers. Though, you must manually add the EPMC (employer paid member contribution), which has been around $1.8 million per year, and now rapidly going down to $0.0 per year. Other benefits costs have not changed much in recent years.  

 

What ?  Why would I go through those calisthenics when I have Chiang’s numbers?  You didn’t answer my question – did you sign contracts that raised the amount of EPMC from $6.5 million to $14 million? –  JS

We’ll see if he answers, but I think I got an earful already. 

12 Responses to “Mark Sorensen – did you sign contracts that raised the EPMC from $6.5 million to $14 million?”

  1. Mark Sorensen March 5, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

    Ms Sumner:

    Juanita Sumner Wrote:
    “…You’re accusing me of confusing this mess by asking questions?”

    No, you’re not asking questions. You are making accusations. And you do so without making any effort to check your facts.

    My previous email answered the question in several different ways. And pointed you to a document which conclusively defines the history of city compensation through that time frame. You obviously did not bother to read it.

    Juanita Sumner Wrote:
    “…raised the amount of EPMC from $6.5 million to $14 million?”

    For one, EPMC in the city of Chico has NEVER been anywhere close to $6.5 million. And it NEVER rose to $14 million. Never. It never happened. I told you what EPMC is and exactly where to look to corroborate the information. You are spewing false information. And doing so intentionally.

    Wouldn’t it have been forthright to include some explanation of what you are referring to, and where you got the false information? Yes, because then someone could attempt to locate the misinformation that is driving you to false conclusions.

    Juanita Sumner Wrote:
    “Why would I go through those calisthenics”

    It is called checking your facts. Corroborating information. Doing your homework. Due diligence. Yes, it is very hard work. But you should try it sometime.

    So, now that you include where you got the misleading information, I did check it… From the website from 2010 for the city of Chico:

    $12,972 average retirement & health cost for this city’s employees

    It is obvious that this number is is not correct. It is far to low. One of many anomalies in the SCO data.

    Then… EVERY city I looked at had a similar jump in benefits costs between 2010 and 2011. But you didn’t bother to try to cross check the data, did you?

    Gee…. why would EVERY city show the SAME pattern in the data??

    True Answer: It turns out the the SCO (State Controller’s Office) changed their data request to INCLUDE the employer contributions to retirement beginning in 2011. For Chico, that suddenly included around $9 million per year.

    I realize that you try not to let factual information interfere with your angry rants, But here you go. You were wrong, again.

    Juanita Sumner Wrote:
    “did you sign contracts that raised the amount of EPMC from $6.5 million to $14 million? ”

    No.

    No in so many ways.

    Your question has a false basis. EPMC was never at $6.5 million, not even close, and it never rose to $14 million. No Contracts where signed in 2011. You entire rant was based on incomplete information.

    Dealing with these issues is difficult enough when working with facts. Constructive movement is impossible when you are working with mis-information.

    • Juanita Sumner March 6, 2014 at 6:49 am #

      I think everybody can see – I DID ask you Mark, and I asked you privately, trying to give you a chance to explain, and you came back with a pile of bullshit. I found that information on state controller John Chiang’s website, and I asked you to explain it, and you’ve blown your fucking top. What the hell is going on with you Mark? You’re just in denial? You keep trying to point me to city of Chico documents – oh yeah, the same staff you are currently accusing of everything under the sun prepared those documents, that sounds like the answer.

      I gave you the link, you big bully – don’t accuse me of stuff Mister, I’m not the public servant here!

      • Mary March 6, 2014 at 9:48 am #

        Juanita Sumner Wrote:
        “am I getting that right? Please explain – thanks, Juanita”

        Looks like a question to me.

        Juanita Sumner Wrote:
        “I gave you the link, you big bully – don’t accuse me of stuff Mister, I’m not the public servant here!”

        He has forgotten himself. Just look at the avatar — he’s Mighty Mouse and has come to save the day!

      • Juanita Sumner March 6, 2014 at 10:12 am #

        Thanks Mary, I needed some Andy Kaufman!

      • Mary March 6, 2014 at 10:31 am #

        🙂

    • Mary March 6, 2014 at 10:19 am #

      Mark Sorensen Wrote:
      “It is called checking your facts. Corroborating information. Doing your homework. Due diligence. Yes, it is very hard work. But you should try it sometime.”

      You’re a fine one to be lecturing anyone on fact checking. You spew more unverified crap from that dais than Roto-Rooter cleaning out a septic tank. In all the time that truthmatterschico.com has been responding to your accusations, you have never provided a single substantive rebuttal.

      Sitting up there like a toad on a throne and making ridiculous statements like “the Cost Allocation Plan was buried on the 2nd floor for two years,” when any informed person knows it was a Finance project that 2nd floor didn’t even know about until nearly a year after its completion, hardly qualifies you to talk down to anyone, much less a a concerned citizen who is simply trying to understand what happened.

      If you can’t take the stress of being held accountable for what you say and do, you should find a new career that doesn’t require interaction with others.

      And, while I’m at it, you could really benefit from a refresher course on the meaning of political conservatism. Truth matters.

  2. Alicia March 6, 2014 at 10:50 am #

    I can’t stop laughing at this quote from MS’ reply:

    “You are making accusations. And you do so without making any effort to check your facts.”

    If I had a dollar for every time that hypocrite has done that exact same thing, while seated on the dais as a public servant!

    That’s rich. I’d say it’s the pot calling the kettle black, but someone would accuse me of racism. Or of trying to destroy the city by asking questions.

    (Insert circus music here…)

  3. bill March 6, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    I really wonder what the point of voting is. I voted for Sorensen and Morgan and what do they do?

    They, the so called conservatives, vote for a grant and when that grant goes away the city will not be able to afford to fund what the grant was funding.

    The only one to vote against this was the liberal Stone. Maybe I should have voted for him. On the other hand maybe I shouldn’t have bothered to vote at all.

    • Juanita Sumner March 7, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

      You said it Bill. We’ve got to get some good candidates, I’m sick of voting for what I believe to be the lesser of two, or three, or four evils, only to find out I been snookered again.

  4. Alicia March 7, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    It would appear that Mary and I were having a GMTA moment!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: