watchdog

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

December 26, 2007

THE NEW CITY COUNCIL HAS THEIR WORK CUT OUT FOR THEM!!!

I have been investigating for some time the whole question of City of Memphis appointed positions. This has been a huge issue since the January 2001 pension resolution that allowed elected and appointed people to retire after 12 years regardless of age. This has cost millions of dollars to date and will go on costing taxpayers well into the future.

In September of this year I asked, through an open records request, for information about the number of appointed positions over and above those allowed in the Memphis City Charter and other information about the cost to date of the January 2001 pension resolution and what will happen after the end of this year. To date, after three months, I have only gotten one piece of information and that is the copies of the two 2004 resolution addressing this issue. While I wait for the other information that I have been promised, I want the public to look at these two resolutions which I find interesting. These confirm and approve the situation that has been going on for 20 years and confirms that the council has been doing nothing until Carol Chumney and John Lunt brought this forward in 2004 and tried to change the situation. The City Council did do away with the January 2001 pension resolution, BUT ONLY FOR FUTURE PEOPLE, NOT FOR THEMSELVES, and apparently they are adding the positions shown below and making the rest of them into civil service positions.

Now look at three things which need the attention of the new city council members.

#1- An attached spreadsheet (Click here) showing the appointed positions per the City Charter with names and salaries that I obtained from an open records request in 2005. In this I have those top positions from the City Charter and those that were added per the April 2004 resolution. Some salaries I estimated at $95,000 where I did not have a current salary. Notice the total at close to $5 million for the group. To this group must be added quite a few attorneys in the City Attorney’s office which are part time positions for lawyers who work public/private jobs and receive pension and health care benefits. There are several jobs in this whole appointed group that are of questionable value and look like made up jobs for cronies.

#2- Look at the 2008 operating budget where the funded staffing level has increased from 5162 in 2006 to 6225 in 2008. The most increases are in the following areas.

Executive- 35 to 98, Human Resources- 38 to 64, Public Services- 88 to 433, Fire Services- 1690 to 1878, General Services- 121 to 176, Police- 2428 to 2668, Park Services- 227 to 281, City Attorney- 46 to 61. What is going on here?

#3- In order to save a lot of money, the new City Council should lay off the old appointed people who have less than 12 years of service in order to keep them from being eligible for the old January 2001 pension resolution. This one act alone would save millions of dollars in future pension funds. If they are really necessary for city services, then they could be hired back as civil service employees with their previous service credited to them but they would have to come under normal city pension rules for retirement. See the attached spreadsheet showing those appointed positions with 8 years or less service in 2005. This is almost $5 million per year in salary and the pension money saved could be huge if these positions were done away with.

Click here to see the appointed jobs having 8 years or less in service in 2005 amounting to a yearly salary of $5 million

Following are the two 2004 resolutions concerning the appointed people under the City Charter.

Resolution #1- Adopted March 2, 2004

WHEREAS, the Administration has presented information to the Council regarding over 300 appointed positions that have not been approved by the Council; and

WHEREAS, it is the desire of the Council that the Administration resolve all issues relating to these non-appointed positions consistent with the provisions of the Charter without any qualification for retirement benefits for 12-year appointed positions.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED That the Administration resolve all issues relating to these non-appointed positions consistent with the provisions of the Charter without any qualifications for retirement benefits for 12-year appointed positions.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED That the Administration should be prepared to report to the Council’s Personnel, Intergovernmental and Annexation Committee on March 16, 2004.
Then on April 13, 2004 the council approved the following resolution.

RESOLUTION TO RECOGNIZE CERTAIN POSITIONS AS APPOINTED AND EXEMPT FROM CIVIL SERVICE AND TO CLARIFY THE STATUS OF THESE EMPLOYEES

WHEREAS, Section 250 of the Memphis City Charter provides that the Director of Personnel shall classify all officers and positions;

WHEREAS, Section 250 of the Memphis city Charter sets forth certain positions as appointed and allows for the creation of additional appointed positions with the concurrence of the Council of the City of Memphis;

WHEREAS, over the past twenty years, the Director of Personnel/Human Resources has classified a number of positions as appointed that are not specifically enumerated in Section 250 of the Memphis City Charter;

WHEREAS, the Council of the City of Memphis desires to clarify the status of the employees holding these positions;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF MEMPHIS, that the Council concurs with the recommendation of the Mayor and the Director of Personnel/Human Resources that the following positions shall be classified as appointed pursuant to Section 250 of the Memphis City Charter:

Deputy Director- F&A Finance Division
Deputy Director-Finance Finance Division
Comptroller Finance Division
Purchasing Agent Finance Division
Treasurer Finance Division
Deputy Director-Fire Services Fire Division
Deputy Director-Police Services Police Division
Deputy Director-Parks Parks Division
Deputy Director-Recreational Services Parks Division
Deputy Director-Solid Waste Public Works
Deputy Director-Maintenance Public Works
Deputy Director-Human Resources Human Resources
Benefits Officer Human Resources
Manager-Labor Relations/EEO Officer Human Resources
Deputy Director-Public Services Public Services
Emergency Management Director Public Services
Administrator of Animal Shelter Public Services
Manager of Multicultural Affairs Public Services
Executive Director of Second Chance/Ready4Work Public Services
Deputy Director-General Services General Services
Deputy Director-Housing/Finance & Ed Dev HCD
Executive Director of Depot Redevelopment Special Services
Executive Director of Workforce Investment Network Special Services
Executive Director of Youth Opportunities Special Services
Chief Deputy-Court Clerk City Court Clerk
Chief Deputy-Traffic Violations Bureau City Court Clerk

With respect to all persons currently occupying positions not specifically enumerated in Section 250 and not listed above who are or have been classified as appointed, the Council acknowledges the Director of Personnel/Human Resources’ past and present classification of these persons as appointed through the end of this term, December 31, 2007, so long as these persons remain in their current position. Then the person currently occupying these positions leaves his or her position for any reason by the Council as an appointed position pursuant to Section 250 of the Memphis City Charter.

Except as provided herein this resolution shall not alter or impair the classification of any past or present employee as being appointed and exempt from civil service.

1 Comments:

  • On county budgets there is a section that calculates unfunded liability for pensions. Is there not a similar requirement for city audits? The growth of government workers has nothing whatsoever to do with population. It is all about the money avilable. As Karl Marx or our Comptroller Geneneral would say,"the ability to pay." This is not just a problem in Memphis but in places like Greene County. The population is doubling every 71.5 years but the cost of school is doubling every 14.6 years since 1998. In Bradley County the population is doubling every 66.6 years but the number of government workers is doubling every 15.8 years. In Rutherford County the number of county employees is doubling every 13.77 years while the population is doubling every 18.04 years.
    The people who are really wise to these kind of problems are the folks who issue credit ratings. Governments that live within their means are rewarded by lower borrowing costs. If the credit rating was not on the city audit, it probably slipped or is nothing to brag about.
    I used to live in Memphis... more than once and it is sadder every time I came back. No one gets robbed just once in Memphis. The second robbery takes place when you have to buy the police report downtown and pay the parking.
    I suspect that the monkey-see-monkey-do mentality has taken over and they are just doing like everyone else. On county budgets there is a section that calculates unfunded liability for pensions. Is there not a similar requirement for city audits? The growth of government workers has nothing whatsoever to do with population. It is all about the money available. As Karl Marx or our Comptroller General would say,"the ability to pay." This is not just a problem in Memphis but in places like Greene County. The population is doubling every 71.5 years but the cost of school is doubling every 14.6 years since 1998. In Bradley County the population is doubling every 66.6 years but the number of government workers is doubling every 15.8 years. In Rutherford County the number of county employees is doubling every 13.77 years while the population is doubling every 18.04 years.
    The people who are really wise to these kind of problems are the folks who issue credit ratings. Governments that live within their means are rewarded by lower borrowing costs. If the credit rating was not on the city audit, it probably slipped or is nothing to brag about.
    I used to live in Memphis... more than once and it is sadder every time I came back. No one gets robbed just once in Memphis. The second robbery takes place when you have to buy the police report downtown and pay the parking.
    I suspect that the monkey-see-monkey-do mentality has taken over and they are just doing like everyone else.

    By Anonymous Danny L. Newton, at 8:41 AM  

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