Saturday, May 30, 2015

Council considering giving staff another pay increase

From Lisa Shaffer's latest newsletter:
... if we increase staff salaries as a result of our labor negotiations, each percent increase costs about $78,000 for the represented employees and a similar amount for the remainder of the employees, so a total of $150k/year for each percent. Negotiations are underway and we don't yet know where we will end up.
Lest we forget, the average city worker already gets $92K + $36K in benefits. And the average career city retiree gets $94K for life upon early retirement.

Any pay increase would also increase pensions proportionately.

35 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. My thoughts exactly. If City Council approves this, they are fired next election. Tony/Mark- we are watching.

      Fire 20% of the mid and director level managers, that will make the rest of the staff wake up and actually work. Their raise is from zero which is what they will make when they are fired for not doing anything, to their current salary and benefits. They should feel thankful or go find another job.

      Plenty of more qualified people out there then that pack of slackers.

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  2. No doubt will come with high praise all around.

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  3. De-incorporate. The trough only gets deeper for the "civil servants".

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    1. Brilliant idea, where do I sign?

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  4. Which council member is telling the staff they are lucky to have jobs and they should be happy with a 50% reduction in pay and pensions?? Once again the public/taxpayers get screwed.

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  5. Assuming the number of city employees quoted in one of the links you provided are accurate, there are 200+ total salaried employees in the city, represented employees and otherwise. This means about $750 per year increase in budgetary demands per 1 percent increase in salary per person, assuming the increases are across-the-board.

    Perhaps it's time to unwed some panties around here? That could be made up easily by code enforcement fines alone.

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    1. It will be more than that when pensions are taking into account!

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    2. Yeah well a 3% increase will mean $2250 per year X 200....You do the math.
      No pay raise no increase in pensions.

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    3. Thank you. There is the (obvious) connection between pay raises and even more-inflated pensions.

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  6. I'm not sure I you and I read the newsletter the same way. My first impression was that the $150,000 figure included concomitant increased pension costs.

    I'm willing to accept that you are right about concomittant pension increases, but I am obviously far less concerned about it given that it is based on increased costs arising from a 0.82% wage increase ($750 more per month on a $92K average salary).

    Are you arguing that city employees shouldn't get any cost of living adjustments?

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    1. Given that Jerome Stocks gave them a 30% bump up a few years ago, this needs to be taken into account.

      Also, I would not be opposed to the worker bees getting a raise, but the department heads and managers should not get any raises.

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    2. The bump given by Stocks was 35%. The pension calculation went from 2% to 2.7% per year of service based on final salary. Pension obligations absolutely need to be taken into account. When the worker bees get a raise through union negotiations, the managers are always given the same raise. This is the way it's done at City Hall.

      With early retirement and longer life spans pension obligations become a huge expense. Any savings from the tweaking of pension plans that the city did a few years ago are decades away. We're talking about $1 million per employee per decade of retirement. Essentially the cost of a retiree is close to the cost of an active employee. Over time it's like doubling the payroll. It becomes unsustainable, as some older cities have already realized.

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    3. Agree that outrageous 35% bump up has to be taken into account. What should it have been under normal circumstances, where Stocks wasn't buying behavior? Amortize that over so many years and it should be awhile before "staff" gets any increase.

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  7. This $150,000 figure was no doubt provided by staff members. What is their record in terms of other important issues like the bonding on Pacific View and the supposedly "free" in-house Housing Element that has been done by consultants for six-figures while Manjeet and Jeff work full time to snow the council?

    As long as staff is providing figures--especially when it benefits themselves, I don't believe it. Even with the finest most ethical people presenting this information, there is a built in bias or even a conflict of interests. Also, council members are motivated to give raises since staff members will remember. Those left out of the decisions making process are the ones who end up paying. This means taxpayers.

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  8. A movement to de-incorprate should be seriously studied. With traffic and quality of life having sped downhill these past two years we clearly have failed leadership. The mad free spending of this council is ABSOLUTELY CRAZY and a small city like Encinitas cannot sustain this!

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    1. I'd rather go bankrupt, seriously. Let the council have that as their legacy and let's get some strict oversight in place for real.

      We incorporated for a reason and don't need to go back under county rules. If we think we have "infill opportunities" now, wait till the county gets ahold of us and the developer vultures swoop in. And before you get your panties in a twist, yes we all know not all developers are bad.

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    2. I have written several current and former council members concerning the disparity between private sector pay/benefits and the ultimate lack of sustainabilty of this situation and I have recieved exactly zero response. This is one subject no one on the council has the balls to even address.
      cabezon

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    3. Cabezon: Have you asked Jerome Stocks? His response might be interesting.

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    4. 9:47 AM

      "With traffic and quality of life having sped downhill these past two years" Really? Encinitas has gone into the dumper in two years? And your solution is to unincorporate?

      May I remind you of just one of the reasons Encinitas incorporated. From the LA Times July 17, 1990:

      "Route 680, the paper road that had been on county maps for more than two decades until Encinitas city officials erased it, has been restored by a Superior Court judge who ruled that the city violated state environmental law." ...

      And from the U-T on February 11, 2001:

      "Ten years after a Superior Court ordered Encinitas to widen Rancho Santa Fe Road to replace the never-built Highway 680, all the city has to show for its work is a handful of new stop signs.
      ...

      As long as Encinitas ignores the decade-old decision, ..."

      Yeah, if only to return to the bosom of the county, Encinitas would once again become Nirvana.

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    5. 680 was never going to happen due to folks in RSF. 1990 is after incorporation so logic is missing entirely. When Encinitas has it's insolvent shell game exposed you may see things different.

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  9. For the umpteenth time, the 35% increase in 2005 was for pensions only, not salaries. Four of the five council members voted for it, including Houlihan. Bond voted no. It's wrong to attribute the bump to Stocks only.

    Reverting to unincorporated status and yielding control to the county is the dumbest idea around. A much better idea is to elect council members who will be responsive to the majority population's concerns rather than their own, the staff's and those of the special interests.

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    1. Agree, the city is not going to return to unincorporated status. That's a total pipe dream.

      And since this is from only Shaffer's newsletter, I'm not sure we can go with that lead. I would have to read the whole newsletter or hear her take on the potential raises directly.

      You're never going to get your wish of a large cut in staff and a big cut in pension obligations. I will say this, private compensation as a whole used to be better, which is why the public sector has the pensions, that was supposed to be the tradeoff. Obviously an adjustment needs to be made, but to me it points out the decline in worker salaries as a whole and the complete evaporation of pensions and other worker benefits in the private sector.

      -MGJ

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  10. If not one person voted in 2016 who was listed on the Encinitas ballot, how would that play out? In other words, just don't vote for any one.

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    1. O yea, that'll work.

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  11. Staff salaries, benefits and pensions are extremely high. Public employee compensation should be pegged to pay packages for comparable work in the private sector.

    Staff is milking the taxpayers for all we're worth.

    Managers cater to developers and business owners so the property, sales and transient occupancy taxes keep rolling in. That way, the sky high pay packages can continue.

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    1. A real and accurate analysis of what developers and business owners actually contribute has never been done. There are many claims of the great contributions that developers and businesses bring our city, and these claims are used as a justification for terrible budgeting decisions and for giving staff whatever they want, but if we are so fiscally healthy, why do we have so much debt? Why are we $45 million dollars behind on road repairs and other upkeep?

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    2. 11:50, don't forget all the fees, mostly permitting fees, that developers and individual homeowners pay. That is a substantial part of the Planning and Building budget. Although it is treated as a separate department, we hire out, exclusively, with no-bid contracts, to Esgil to be our "Building Department" now. Esgil, originally, was hired out to do only inspections, as far as I know.

      Planning staff doesn't have the chops to do what should be their jobs. So we see all these "pass-through" fees, which are like taxes we all pay to replace some windows, or a hot water heater, or repair a roof. Planning Director Jeff Murphy and the General Manager of Esgil are driving the ship. Council, so far, has been too conflicted, or too foolish and short-sighted, to take the wheel and make some hard decisions.

      A lot will depend on the new city manager who comes in. How I hope Council has hired someone to clean out some of the deadwood, as the city of Oxnard successfully did. But I'm not holding my breath.

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    3. "Planning staff doesn't have the chops," or is it that they don't want to change a system that works for them and not us?

      Exactly what does our Planning Department do now that Housing Element and inspections are hired out? I have heard many people complain about how impossible it is to get permits for minor remodels at the city. It seems that there are more meetings in secret than ever before.

      Encinitas incorporated to preserve the character of our unique communities and to protect Encinitas residents--not to become monetized as a bottomless pension and salary provider for Encinitas employees.

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  12. They need to fire the parks and rec director for sure. She has screwed up way to many times.

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  13. this is f'd up http://www.encinitasca.gov/index.aspx?page=408

    they fine you and increase fees for the same water use, yet they sell more and more water meters. If there is no more water quit issuing water meters. Watch Cadillac Desert retarded City Council/ SDWD Board members, Americans overbuilt the west, yet you keep approving more dwelling units. Geez wake up!!!

    I am definitely voting against all the incumbents next election.

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  14. Let's see if the mayor is a fiscal conservative like she claimed in her campaign. My bet is NO WAY.

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    1. She will vote the developer party line.

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  15. What is all of this noise from Manjeet and Jeff Murphy that they need more people in Planning? Word on the street is that the planners there now don't want any more people since they don't have enough to do. This department is famous for not having enough to do. In fact, what are Jeff and Manjeet doing since they have brought in consultants to do the Housing Element which was supposed to be in house. Does spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of our tax funds for work that they were supposed to do in house qualify as good management practices?

    I would support giving the people who actually do the work a raise if we could get rid of the top two or three tiers of directors and managers since the common thread is that they go to council and whine that they can't do their jobs and say that they need more money. Leadership in Finance, Planning and Parks and Rec are simply mini Gus Vinas who say that they can't do their jobs and need to hire more staff, hire consultants and buy special programs of questionable value.

    Instead of spending money on extra layers, how about FIRING the current leadership and bringing in those who CAN do the job without bankrupting taxpayers? There are many who would be proud to hold these positions for much less than what we are paying for the performance that we are getting.

    This would be a great time for Mayor Gaspar to prove that she is a fiscal conservative by finding a way for us to get competent directors. Let's hope that the new city manager will be directed by council to clean house--starting at the top.

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  16. GASpar is by no means a fiscal conservative. She used that as her strategy to get elected and those that voted for her got duped badly.

    Do not elect her again if she chooses to run. She is more of a kid's leader than a government leader. You must have the persona that you care about those who elected you -- so far she has failed at every attempt.

    She dances for the developers and they love it.

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