Same old same old – is the city really doing anything about the pension problem?

15 Oct

NOTE: After I bitched about it all day yesterday, city clerk Debbie Presson finally posted the document mentioned below on the city website – at this link:

http://www.ci.chico.ca.us/government/minutes_agendas/documents/ORD2248-RetirementPlan-MiscellaneousMembers.pdf

It should have been posted with the agenda – I think she realized that late in our conversation and quickly posted it. She’s supposed to have this stuff available for the public to review 72 hours ahead of the meeting. 

Also note – this woman’s raise is part of the same agenda item.

This week council will be formalizing contracts with our management employees, referring back to an agreement the sitting council signed in 2002, without providing the document in the agenda –

“Contract Between the Board of Administration, Public Employees’ Retirement System
and the City Council of the City of Chico” which was in effect as of June 30, 2002

Agenda available here:

http://chico-ca.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=2&event_id=274

Refer to items 4.4 and 4.5.

I wanted to see that referenced document, so the morning after the agenda was posted (Thursday 10/12) I wrote an e-mail to “deputy” clerk Dani Rogers asking for it.  I got an immediate response:

I am currently out of the office and will return October 16, 2017.  If you need immediate assistance, please call Debbie or Stina at 896-7250.

Dani Rogers, CMC

Deputy City Clerk

City of Chico

So I resent my request to Mark Orme and Debbie Presson. 

I have not received any reply to the e-mail I sent yesterday, below. Is the clerk’s office open/staffed on Thursday/Friday? I made a request of an item mentioned in but not provided in the report for the agenda item, “Contract Between the Board of Administration, Public Employees’ Retirement System and the City Council of the City of Chico” which was in effect as of June 30, 2002″

I first received a response from Mark Orme –

Juanita,  I believe the City Clerk will be in the office today – unfortunately, she was the only person staffing the office yesterday, so we apologize for any delay.   Thank you for your patience.

Mark

Mark Orme

City Manager

For the Beautiful City of Chico

Again with the excuses? The clerk has at least two staffers to help her, with a budget of over $600,000 a year. Why can’t I expect that office to be fully functional?

Then this response from Debbie Presson, head clerk –

Juanita,

Unfortunately, I was not cc’d on your public records request so was therefore unable to respond.  Please note that the City Clerk’s office is staffed five days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

I will check with HR to obtain the document in question and will respond accordingly.

Debbie Presson

Then another notice from Dani Rogers that she would be out of the office until Monday – do you see the comedy here folks?
Later that day Presson sent me the document, with this message;

Juanita,

Here is the document that HR believes you are requesting.  Please let me know if you need anything else.

What does that mean – “the document that HR believes you are requesting”?  I quoted the agenda in my request. 

It occurred to me that none of the sitting council were there in 2002 when the referenced document was signed. Have they been provided a copy of this document? 

And then I looked at the document, and the next question that occurred to me was, how many of them understand it? And then, have they even read it?

And then finally – how can I post this on my blog? It’s not cut-and-paste, I would have to have it on one screen and my blog on another screen and go back and forth typing it by memory. At this point I became frustrated with the clerk – I don’t know how many times she and Rogers have promised they’d send things in a cut-and-paste format, and I’ve had to ask them again and again.  I have stuff to do all day, really menial stuff, and I don’t appreciate this kind of runaround. I tried to politely but firmly let her know how I felt.

The document you sent is, of course, not cut-and-paste, but I’ll post it on my blog by typing from screen to screen if I have to. My intention, which I thought you shared, is to get the information to the public and allow for a fuller and more public discussion of these items.

Yeah, I know, it’s Sunday morning – nobody was more surprised than me with her almost immediate response:

I am sorry… I forwarded it to you as soon as I got it from HR and didn’t think to check it.

I will optimize it and make it reader accessible and send it to you later this morning as I am going in today to work.  It should be no later than 11:00 if you can wait that long.

Debbie

That easy? Even on Sunday? I  guess that’s why she gets over $135,000 a year in salary (I can’t remember the figure from her recent raise) – she’s available on Sunday! So, I will wait until 11 am and post the document. 

Not that I really understand it, or expect The General to understand it either. It’s all about the “2% at 50” type of formula. 

What finally occurred to me was, given the financial situation the city finds itself in right now, and now they admit it was the pension formula that put us here, why the hell wouldn’t they throw it out? 

UPDATE: As of 12:41 Presson has not sent me a copy I can cut-and-paste here, and I don’t have time to type it. If you want to read the document to which the agenda is referring, e-mail Presson at debbie.presson@chicoca.gov and ask her to send you a copy. Use the exact terminology I used in my request – you can cut-and-paste it from this blog!

 

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