Tag Archives: Mark Orme City of Chico

FPPC: local prosecutors failing to file charges in cases where public officials have used public funds for political purposes

26 Feb

Busy little bees.

The city and CARD are still worming their way toward separate tax measures. It’s starting to look like CARD will go with a parcel tax. The city, meanwhile, has yet to decide what kind of measure they will flop out – the Finance Committee is hearing a $25,000 proposal from  EMC Research to conduct a “survey”.

It is illegal to spend taxpayer money to campaign for a tax measure, and I would think it’s illegal to use tax money to hire a consultant who promises to run the campaign for you. But it seems the agencies who would investigate and prosecute this illegal behavior are squabbling over who is supposed to do it.

https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-campaign-funds-misused-20190214-story.html

“With local prosecutors failing to file charges in cases where public officials have used public funds for political purposes, the state Fair Political Practices Commission is proposing their powers be expanded to allow the FPPC to prosecute misuses of taxpayer dollars.”

But as you might guess, local agencies are not too keen on being watched by outsiders – the good old boy system by which county and city administrators scratch each others’ backs is way too entrenched in Butte County.

The Times reports that “In response, the California State Association of Counties is filing a lawsuit to prevent such enforcement.”

Wow, that’s pretty blatant, isn’t it? Now the counties are spending taxpayer money making sure they  don’t get prosecuted for the illegal spending of taxpayer money. Koyaanisqatsi.

So I wrote a letter about it. Write yours too. 

“Last month the Fair Political Practices Commission revealed 34 allegations made since 2015 concerning public agencies misusing taxpayer funds for campaign purposes. Unfortunately  the agency lacks the authority to prosecute misuse of public funds, a power reserved for city and county prosecutors and the state attorney general.

Apparently, no local law enforcement agency has followed through on any of the allegations, prompting the FPPC to ask the state for the power to prosecute in these matters.

Does anyone  really believe that a local DA or city attorney would prosecute a public agency for raising taxes? FPPC commissioner Brian Hatch calls that “political suicide”.

Both the city of Chico and Chico Area Recreation District continue to spend taxpayer money on consultants who promise to help them pass their separate tax measures. Their consultant EMC Research claims “Great campaigns don’t just happen. That’s why we offer a full suite of political research and predictive analytics to help your candidates, organizations, and ballot measures succeed.”

Is this why you pay taxes? To hire people to raise your taxes?

Contact FPPC Chair Alice Germond <agermond@fppc.ca.gov> and tell her you support her efforts to impose stiffer penalties on those public agencies who flaunt the law and continue to undermine voters’ rights across the state.

You might also want to contact Chico city council at debbie.presson@chicoca.gov and the CARD board at annw@chicorec.com and let them know how you feel about paying for their campaigns to raise your taxes.

Juanita Sumner, Chico”

 

 

 

Chico PD’s latest contract proposal is unsustainable

21 Nov

I wrote a letter to the News and Review, I want to keep the city employee contracts in the news. 

Again, Chico Police employees put more money into local campaigns than any other group. In addition to the CPOA, former police chief Mike Maloney formed his own PAC, allowing police employees to get around rules limiting contributions.  

The new council majority will negotiate with a police department asking for 5 percent raises as well as payment of various benefits currently paid by employees. The city already pays over 25 percent of their pensions while most police employees pay 9 percent. Salaries in the police department average over twice the local median income. 

Police employees continue to complain they are understaffed, ignoring practical suggestions to lower their salaries to reasonable amounts and pay a more rational share of their own pensions in order to loosen up money for new hires. 

Despite an obvious conflict of interest, the proposal still includes a provision that the city collect union dues from employees who do not wish to be union members, this money being poured into campaigns at election time. 

The city is currently suffering “liabilities” over $75 million, about $50 million of which are pensions. We’ll soon see how new councilors installed with CPD money will react to the cops’ demands.

Here’s the cops’ proposal – I cut and paste this verbatim from the city agenda, the typos are all theirs. I highlighted stuff in red to show, they’re not only refusing to reign in their salaries and benefits, they’re asking for more stuff!  And they want a three year term, so these contracts would stand for three years with very little chance of review. 

Chico POA
Proposal – September 24, 2014
The following is a proposal for a successor MOU to the one expiring 12/31114 between the
Chico Police Officers’ Association and the City of Chico. This proposal is intended to begin the
bargaining process and introduce several ideas that the POA believes can create a better
environment within the City of Chico Police Department, specifically the Departments ability to
retain and recruit police officers. When possible, the current MOU provision that would be affected is listed. Wording is NOT
final and will be edited to reflect any changes prior to submission to the City in formal
bargaining.
1. Three year term of MOU: 111115-12/31/17. 1.3A
2. Salary. 5% increase effective 1/1/15, 1/1116 and 1/1/17. 5.1 and Exhibit B
3. Longevity. Add four new longevity step increases of 4% at the following length of time
of employment with the city: 10 years, 15 years, 20 years and 25 years. New Article
5.12 “Longevity Pay”
4. Pay Step Addition and Adjustment. 5.1C

a. Add a Step H at 5% salary increase. 

b. Add a “training pay” step equivalent to $18 per hour.
5. Cash out Holiday Time Banlc Reinstate policy of allowing employees to cash out
unused holiday time bank hours each year. 6.2
6. Vacation Cash Out. Allow employees to accrue vacation above the maximum caps and
to cash out any unused vacation accrued above the caps at the end of each calendar
year. 6.5
7. Holiday Hours. City shall provide ten hours of Holiday Time Bank pay for holidays.
6.1A
8. OT Pay for Holidays. City shall pay employees overtime rate for working holidays. 5.2
and 6.1
9. FICA and Dental to be paid by City. 6.3
a. City shall pay the 1.45% of FICA that has been paid by employees since 1/1111.
6.8G
b. City shall pay the entire employee portion of the dental insurance (or allow the
employee to opt out of coverage). 6.3 and Exhibit C.
10. Call Back Pay. Increase the call back minimum pay to four (4) hours. (3 currently). 5.5
11. Shift Differential. 5.9
a. Increase swing and graveyard shift differential pay by 5%.
b. Shift differential to be calculated into base pay for overtime pay rate calculations.
12. Adopt and/or publicize the ability to put OT earnings directly into deferred
compensation. 6.6E

Please write letters to council and the papers, this contract is not sustainable. No matter what Mark Orme tells us, this city is up Shit Creek and nobody can find the paddle. 

The paddle we need right now would be a local Right To Work initiative.

Surprise Surprise! City’s not really laying off 53 people – get ready for a major sales tax pitch

14 Jun

Oh gee, isn’t that just ginchee! The city won’t have to lay off these folks after all – they “care so much about this community” that they will be given lesser positions. At lesser wages? That isn’t spelled out, I wouldn’t assume anything. It looks to me like they were really after only 18, and now that  they got rid of those, the others will take little or no pay cut. And, they’ll still get their EPMC, just watch.

This was just a ploy to make all of us feel bad about these poor employees – pobrecitos! – who’ve sacrificed so much!  I’m sorry, stop shoveling bullshit onto my plate, I’m not eating it.

Get ready for an intensive sales tax increase pitch, and get ready to be surprised who else is behind it.

 

 

Many pink-slipped employees to stay with city of Chico

By ASHLEY GEBB-Staff Writer

Posted:   06/14/2013 12:06:27 AM PDT

CHICO — All but three employees issued pink slips last week by the city of Chico who have bumping rights have elected to use them to retain jobs.

Assistant City Manager Mark Orme said Thursday that of the 53 employees who received layoff notices last week, 35 had the option of using displacement rights to continue working for the city in a different capacity. Of those, one person elected to retire and two others will accept the layoff.

Employees had until Wednesday to notify the city of their decision.

“What is going to happen is we are going to go through the process of determining where these people can bump to and where they will end up,” Orme said.

To close a $4.8 million budget deficit, at least 40 full-time equivalent positions are slated for elimination in next year’s budget proposal, with cuts affecting every city department. Some positions are already vacant or upcoming retirements.

Any employees who could have potentially been affected by a bump were also issued layoff notices as a precaution, to be “comprehensive and fair with everybody from the start,” Orme said.

The city brought in the Employment Development Department and Unemployment Insurance for career counseling Thursday, and a presentation on the employee assistance program was Wednesday.

“They’ve had the opportunity to sit down and listen to these folks, they can ask questions, they can receive help if they need it and understand the entirety of the situation they are facing,”

Orme said.

“It was the most compassionate approach the city could take to make sure employees had every option available at this time.”

The number of employees who wish to stay with the city is a positive indicator, Orme said.

“What we’ve seen is the employees that care so much about this community and have dedicated so much time to the city of Chico that regardless of the position they find themselves in as this progresses forward, they are still ready and willing to serve the public in whatever capacity that might be,” he said.

Eighteen people who were issued pink slips did not have bumping rights. Any layoffs are contingent upon approval by the City Council, which will be discussing the 2013-14 budget Tuesday during an all-day study session.