Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Monday, May 10, 2010

Dead Men Don't Pump Gas But They Do Get A Salary

The urban legend of Edgar (aka Eddie) being a smart business person who can run this City as a successful business is falling apart piece by piece, day by day.

Oh don't take my word for it. Read what a business person who runs a City in a worse financial position than Windsor is in has to say about a situation about vacant jobs. From Detroit Mayor Dave Bing's recent Budget speech:
  • "This administration also promised to put an end to politics as usual and tell the truth, even when it wasn't popular. We've cut out all the unfunded vacant positions from this budget. The 2009-10 budget included more than 500 positions without a dollar to actually fill them. This is something past administrations used for political reasons, most notably in the police department to create the perception that there were more officers on the street than the City actually had on the force.

    Our citizens deserve to know the real numbers, without the phantom positions or the fuzzy math. As a businessman, I expect a real budget with real numbers and a plan that delivers real results."

In Windsor, it's worse. Vacant postions were funded unlike in Detroit. For years it seems.

I hate to tell you that we need ANOTHER investigation in Windsor but we do.

Creative book-keeping, what else can you call it.

Please do not tell me that I should believe one thing that I am told about our Budget and our so-called reduction in taxes. Department figures...hardly reliable now. Clearly they have been padded for years. Someone had to know about it but who? And what did they do about it?

Well mini-Gord found out and he told us:

  • "The critics claim there are no savings from eliminating empty positions at city hall. Not true, says Mayor Eddie Francis. Under Windsor's budgeting and spending procedures, each department is given an annual cash allotment based on its staff costs and other needs.

    So if an empty job is still on the books, the department gets the cash for that job on the assumption it will be filled later. If the position remains unfilled, the department gets to spend the extra cash on other stuff -- pending council approval, of course.

    That's the way most budgets work, in most governments and even most private companies. No manager in their right mind gives up staff complement willingly, or gives money back to the finance department. That's just not the way the game has been played ... until now.

    This year, managers throughout the corporation took the request for savings much more seriously than ever before, the mayor said this week. "Everybody was on board. It was really good," Francis said.

Nice to know that no one took saving money seriously before. Years of deception are being justified. What a shocking statement to make from a self-proclaimed business person. Would he have allowed HIS money to have been used this way?

It was all a game before. Those line-by-line so-called tough Budget sessions by the Councillors before, especially when the Councillor formerly known as Councillor Budget was in control, did not find anything wrong. Either they were incompetent or hoodwinked by their staff or both since positons were not filled yet money was being given out as if they were.

Read this misleading headline:

  • "Another 19 jobs erased at city hall"

Nope. here is what really happened:

  • "City council decided behind closed doors Thursday to chop another 19 full-time equivalent job positions to remain on target for a zero per cent municipal tax increase for the 2010 budget.

Imagine a schoolteacher in class asking a student this question and getting this answer:

  • Q. "What does your father or mother do for a living?
  • A. "Oh, my mother works in an "equivalent job position" at City Hall."

Now get this. It was tough cutting these equivalent job positions

  • "Councillors seemed content with Thursday’s closed-door decisions, saying many of the eliminated jobs are vacant or can hopefully be cut through attrition.

    “A number of these jobs have been vacant up to five years,” said Coun. Ron Jones. “They have been jobs on paper.

    “But certainly it’s a tough time and we had to make some tough decisions. I don’t agree with all the decisions that were made today, but majority rules.”

FIVE YEARS!!! Jobs on paper! What is going on here? How many millions of dollars have been wasted? How many daycare spaces could have been saved? Which managers have been fired for this?

Oh I get it. For five years certain Departments have told us lies. We thought they were getting money for real people who were working there but instead they were getting salaries for people who did not exist. They used the money for other purposes. We thought they actually were cutting money from their budgets but they weren't. They were using "salary" funds for those purposes.

What else is buried in the Budget figures that we do not know about!