City consultant: “more people, more payroll, more allocations” – this is how city of Chico management siphons money from the road fund into their own wallets

1 Mar

Thursday March 8,  City of Chico finance mangler Scott Dowell will give a dog-and-pony presentation about how the city spends money. That ought to be a gas, but instead, I attended yesterday’s (2/28/18) Finance Committee meeting to hear a consultant explain the process of “cost allocation”.

Dowell is disingenuous – who does he really expect to show up on a Thursday at 10 am? Oh yeah, I’ll just ask my boss if I can come in early and take two hours off at lunch, everybody does that! 

You know, I might have had bosses who would go for that, but only once. And you wouldn’t be allowed to discuss it at the work place, that’s a pretty standard rule of getting along with fellow employees  – leave your politics in the parking lot. So, in this way, Dowell is very pointedly leaving out the working class who would have to support the sales tax increase he is going to be selling at his “workshop”.

But, when you have limited time, you use it wisely. Who wants to hear a spin from the Fox in Charge of the Henhouse, when you can listen to a visiting watch dog? That’s how I see consultant Chad Wolford, eversince 2015 when he told council they were spending too much money on “overhead” – administrative salaries and benefits.

As the consultant describes it, cost allocation means, “central administration cost (also referred to as “overhead”) spread down to departments as operating costs.”  Just repeat that a few times, and remind yourself, “operating” means “actual work,” such as fixing the streets, or maintaining the sewer plant. 

Cost allocation is the process by which these ridiculous management salaries are cherry picked from all the departments. Makes it look legal and fair, but it’s really the same old system of moving peas under walnuts shells. Money is moved between restricted and non-restricted funds to pay for stuff that money was not originally earmarked for. 

What’s the use of restricting funds (to their original purpose, such as street maintenance) if you can just transfer them wherever you want to pay for whatever you want? This is the process by which administrators like Orme, Constantin and Dowell take grant money that was originally intended to fix streets and pad it into their wallets. 

The consultant is a nice man, he admitted to me, “this is a very complicated process.”  I replied, “No kidding!” That’s why  I had tagged him into the lobby of the building when he finished his presentation, I had to ask some additional questions. 

Well here’s something that he made pretty clear – the “changes”  (increases) in the allocations are based on staff and salary increases. “More people, more payroll, more allocations,” Wolford said. “Salaries and benefits have gone up, operating budgets are up…” 

So, I don’t think I’ll be bothered with Dowell’s dog and pony show Saturday – ‘scuse me, that’s Thursday March 8 – I already heard how the city of Chico spends it’s money. 

5 Responses to “City consultant: “more people, more payroll, more allocations” – this is how city of Chico management siphons money from the road fund into their own wallets”

  1. bob March 1, 2018 at 6:30 pm #

    “This Saturday City of Chico finance mangler Scott Dowell will give a dog-and-pony presentation about how the city spends money.”

    Is it Saturday? I thought it was Thursday. I can’t imagine a bureaucrat working on a weekend, let alone having to field some tough questions from the public on a Saturday.

    • Juanita Sumner March 2, 2018 at 5:58 am #

      Give the man a cigar! It is Thursday (March 8) – I got the day wrong. I was surprised to think it was on a Saturday, which of course, would allow more regular citizens to attend. How many people would he really expect on a Thursday from 10 to 11:30 am?

      Like I said, it’s better to hit the morning meetings – I left my house shortly after 8:00, was out of the meeting by 9:15 and back to work by 9:50.

      • Juanita Sumner March 2, 2018 at 6:17 am #

        Here’s something I learned from the consultant – when Debbie Presson has to add more items to agendas or post a notice about a finance workshop on the website, it causes more allocations! “more agenda items, more allocations…”

        Short of that is, if they actually have to do something, they charge more!

    • bob March 2, 2018 at 5:35 pm #

      I think you’re right. The city government is not doing this for the taxpayers. The city government is doing it FOR THE MEDIA.

      They know working people won’t be able to attend but the media will.

      And the media will do what it always does: regurgitate exactly what the bureaucrats say, no analysis or getting the other side whatsoever.

      And hell, it’s already working. As I mentioned before look what Little wrote, and the dog and pony show hasn’t even happened yet!

      Hit >> The city of Chico can’t be charged with a lack of transparency, at least where its budget is concerned.

      At 10 a.m. March 8 in the Old Municipal Building, city fiscal guru Scott Dowell will explain the mysteries of Chico’s budget in a community workshop.

      It’s a first, in our minds, and a far cry from years ago when the “finance minister” was hesitant to share any information about city finances. Of course that was because there was funny business going on.

      According to Dowell, the workshop is so the public can better understand where city money — our tax dollars — comes from and is spent.

      It sounds like a press release written by Dowell, for crying out loud. Little sure appears to be a useful idiot in this case!

      Anyone trying to find out things like the hidden taxes (for example the Comcast tax) knows the city government is anything but transparent.

      Hell, if they are transparent why are they wasting money on Wolford for meetings hardly any taxpayers can go to?

      It’s clear this Dowell song and dance is to butter up the media for supporting a tax increase! And you can bet Little will do his part and parrot the propaganda he is told!

      • Juanita Sumner March 3, 2018 at 6:10 am #

        David Little sits in his office breathing his own farts. He never goes to meetings, he doesn’t even send reporters to most meetings. Urseny covers the city and CARD, and she’s so embedded it’s not journalism it’s PR.

        Like they used to have Larry Mitchell – all he did was write puff pieces for Enloe Hospital.

        The ER is a yellow rag. That’s journalism slang for “cat box liner”.

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