Tag Archives: Jennifer Hennessy city of Chico

Get a convoluted answer.

4 Dec

I won’t pretend to understand what goes on Downtown. Sometimes I am afraid to ask questions, because they just lead to more questions. When I asked Finance Director Jennifer Hennessy how much the city spends on employee pensions a year, I didn’t know what I was getting into.

First there’s the “employer share,” and that’s a gob-stopper – over $9 million a year. And then there’s the “employee share” – and we pay that too. There’s the terminology – “employer paid member contribution.” And there’s never a straight answer to anything.

When I asked, “how much the city spends,” I meant, in total, all of it. But Hennessy “only recalled” the portion that comes out of the General Fund – about $7 million, she says. She forgot about all the other walnut shells she moves to pay these employee costs.

Ms. Sumner~

 
At last week’s Finance Committee, I stated that the cost of the City’s pension was $7M, however I was recalling the approximate General Fund portion only.  The estimated cost across all funds is budgeted at $10.1M for FY12-13.
 
Sorry for the confusion.  Please let me know if you have any further questions.
 
Thanks,
Jennifer
Jennifer Hennessy, Finance Director

websitewww.ci.chico.ca.us

Across all funds“? See what I mean about the walnut shells? They have over 50 funds now, I can’t remember how many, and I can’t remember where I put the blog where I talked about it before. That’s a lot of confusion, and that’s why they do it that way. They can shift money from one fund to the other to pay for stuff they couldn’t pay out of the first fund. That’s like saying, “now that this money is in my purse instead of my 401K, I can’t spend it without consequences!”

Tonight they are installing a new council. I can only predict a darker picture for Chico. Randall Stone and Tami Ritter are two of the biggest pigs who have ever hit the trough.

When I was a kid I lived in the community of Glenn, where my grandparents belonged to various social organizations. We had “feeds” over at the Glenn Pheasant Hall, where everybody would bring a covered dish. With food in it, you know? Except for this one family of enormous fatties – I won’t say their name, they were nice enough people – but they would walk into a pot luck party carrying empty casserole dishes covered with fresh tin foil. They would walk straight over to the table and load their plates with food, several times, and then when everybody else had their fill, both the man and the woman would totter over to the table with those casserole dishes and load them full of whatever was left. The adults wouldn’t say anything as these pigs chatted their way up and down that table, filling those dishes with whatever they wanted, but we kids couldn’t believe it. We weren’t allowed to make pigs of ourselves that way, seconds were for really good children whose mom had brought a contribution to the table.  We’d follow these two up to the table, wide-eyed and gape-mouthed, marveling aloud at the amounts they were able to stuff into those dishes.  In fact, my sister and I used to bolt our food just so we could go and sit across the table from them to watch them eat! It was a-MAY-zing.  Then we’d file along with the rest, watching them load their take-out containers.  The bolder among us would ask, “whatcha gonna do with all that food?” Some kids thought they might have dogs. But the man would just laugh and say, “Eat it!” As if he had nothing to be ashamed of. The adults would all stand off, some of them would cover their mouths and giggle, and they’d all have something to say later, after this couple made their way out to their enormous station wagon with those piled high dishes of other people’s hard work. But nobody wanted to rock the community boat. No, these people were not particularly good neighbors or hard workers, their house was a disheveled eyesore and they never came around in times of need. But in a small community, you “have to get along,” and we did. 

But Chico is NOT a small friendly community anymore,  so  I’m going to say it. Randall Stone is a worthless, soft-handed leech who should not be allowed on council unless he is willing to divest himself from his development business which bamboozled the city out of millions in RDA money to build clap-trap low-income housing that will never contribute anything to the community but another eyesore. He’s wangled the city out of so much money it’s inappropriate for him to sit at the dais. In past when I’ve criticized this guy, he’s tried to smear me on Topix. He’s a cheap, nasty little pinhead, and having him on the dais, while it might have some entertainment value, is going to be a disaster for the city. 

And then there’s Tami Ritter, who has been in one trough position after another ever since she trolled into Chico, with complaints from everybody involved.   She left the Torres shelter under accusations from homeless people who were complaining she ran the place like her own home, picking and choosing who got to stay based on whim. She got FIRED from Chico Green School when she complained she wasn’t getting a big enough salary. From Chico News and Review, September 2012:

Ritter, a well-known Chico resident who quickly won the support of the teaching staff when she assumed her position in July, described some chaotic weeks that led up to the school’s opening.

Tami Ritter lost her job as the school’s part-time principal during the upheaval.

PHOTO BY LESLIE LAYTON

Ritter, a former director of the Torres Shelter, had been hired in May while she completed work in Philadelphia on a second master’s degree. When she returned to Chico in July, she found that no site had yet been selected for the Green School, creating a lot of “organizational tension.” She said she and a few others worked out of the Chico State teaching office of Sandoe, a computer science professor.

The group decided on the Cohasset Road site, set up the school and recruited the students. But Ritter said she soon found herself working 45 hours a week in a position that paid for 20 hours a week. She took the issue to the board of directors, and the board suggested she limit her unpaid overtime to five to 10 hours a week. She and the board often disagreed on how she could be most effective with so few hours.

Then, Ritter said, she defied board instructions to withhold information—specifically the school’s student roster—from CUSD. The Green School board placed her on administrative leave and asked her to show up for a second mediation session.

She said she refused to go through mediation for a second time without a representative, and she then received e-mail notification that she was fired.

There is so much impropriety about the Chico Green School mess,  I don’t know where to start.  Did you get that part where she told them 20 hours wasn’t enough and they gave her 10? That’s because she’s a bitch to work with.   Is this the kind of performance we’ll get from Ritter on council? When I encountered her at an envelope-stuffing party I got talked into  by Maureen Kirk, she was totally weird. Instead of walking over to the main table and getting a pile of letters and envelopes for herself, she just walked right over to my table and sat down next to me without a word, abruptly snatching up my little piles of letters and envelopes  and placing them in front of herself! Then she let everybody at the table know she was in a bad mood and didn’t want to talk. Silence! How can you possibly be productive with a person like that? I predict she will not get along with Schwab, who is quick to let other women know when she feels they are being “too pushy”.   And to top it all off, at her age,  Ritter’s got a new baby – that will make you bitchy alright.  Let’s see how many meetings she excuses herself from because of the baby. That’s why I feel she ran in the first place – she is currently unemployed, and uninsured, and that’s kind of tough with a new kid.  She’s like a pigeon looking for a roost.

Ritter and Stone are snout-nosed trough dwellers. This is a council we really need to keep an eye on. We need citizens to attend meetings, and ask the right questions. We need to get together to compare notes, because as you’ve seen, they’ll FLAT LIE to get  their way Downtown.

And that’s what I’m looking for in a candidate for 2014. Coolidge is still eager to be on council – he needs to make his presence more known. We haven’t heard a peep out of the guy since he got himself on the local news protesting Measure J. Then he posted that blurb on youtube, and never said another word about it. He raised weird non-issues on his website – “Andrew will oppose any elimination of the leaf pick-up program…” ?  There is not one word about the budget or Measure J – just pseudo problems with no specific solutions. He has shown no real knowledge of city affairs.  I have yet to see him at a meeting aside from a couple of council meetings – standing silently and noticeably at the back of the room, just so he could say he was there. He really should have been at that Finance Committee meeting last week. There’s no excuse for not making meetings if you want to be on council. 

I don’t know if Toby Schindelbeck is interested in running again. I can’t help but admire Toby for being himself, but some people didn’t like him for the same reason they don’t like me – he doesn’t eat shit with a smile, he tends to tell people what he thinks. That won’t make you any friends, but it will get you my respect.  The kind of people who voted for Schwab, Stone and Ritter want to hear lies, they don’t have the courage to hear the truth, and they’re too lazy and stupid to do anything about it anyway.

I won’t forget – Toby actually accomplished something really important at the expense of his council campaign – he forced the Finance Director to give the monthly reports she’s required to give under Section 908 of the city code.  That is huge people. Now it’s time for all of us to pay attention. I think Toby has what it takes to turn this city around, whereas the rest of them seem to be worried more about keeping their butts in the chair than anything else. By going to the mat and risking the election – you realize how many city workers vote, don’t you? – he has actually accomplished a monumental task. Now, if the rest of the citizens would only pay attention, we might be able to get our city turned around, back on track. 

Toby Schindelbeck proved that old saying – “If the people will lead, the leaders will follow…” 

Right now, the candidate I’m looking for is willing to say NO to the police and fire employees, and make them pay their own pensions. Hellllloooo?