San Carlos Real Estate Agent, San Carlos Realtor It’s Time to Take Another Look at Budget Cuts in San Carlos. | The White Oaks Blog
Living in San Carlos March 23, 2010

It’s Time to Take Another Look at Budget Cuts in San Carlos.

by Chuck Gillooley

The “Other” Option.

Last night, after listening to nearly two hours of public commentary which was unanimously and vehemently against outsourcing the San Carlos Police and Fire services, the City Council of San Carlos nonetheless advised the City Manager’s staff to continue investigating outsourcing as the primary option for balancing the budget in San Carlos.    (It makes one wonder what the purpose of speaking at the Council meeting accomplishes?)   But ironically, continuing to investigate this option is probably not a bad idea, because I believe they will find that cost savings that are being touted are severely overestimated, in part because they’re being gleaned from very preliminary proposals from both the Sheriff’s office and Cal Fire — AND because the level of service outlined in both proposals are not the same level of service that we have today.   It will be interesting to see what the savings really look like when a more accurate comparison is done.  Apples to apples.

But what about the “other” path that was proposed by the City Manager two weeks ago — the path that called for “cuts across the board,” instead of outsourcing  Fire and Police Departments?    After all, the whole reason that outsourcing is being so heavily pushed by the City was to avoid the draconian cuts that were proposed in this path.  But have we given up on looking into budget cuts?   I hope not, because on further analysis of what has been done to date, it’s very evident that more work needs to be done.

Flatter, not Fatter.

I have been through enough Silicon Valley re-organizations to know that cost savings are achieved in a re-org by “flattening” an organization.  In other words, you end up having more employees reporting to fewer managers.  It’s called efficiency, and it’s a  key reason why middle-level managers are always a prime target during layoffs.

But San Carlos resident Mark Olbert did a very interesting side-by-side analysis that compares the City staffing as it stands today, versus what it would look like after the cuts outlined in the budget cut path.   What he found is that was that the ratio of employees to managers actually decreases under the new proposal — or, in other words, our City becomes more top-heavy, not less.  In his analysis, he refers to “span of control” as roughly the ratio of non-management employees versus supervisors.  Here is what he found:

  • Span of control before proposed cuts in Option 1:    4.3
  • Span of control after proposed cuts in Option 1:   3.5
  • Ideal ratio of employees/per manager:  6-7
  • Another way of looking at the numbers is that approximately 23% of City employees had management/supervisor responsibility before the cuts.  After the cuts, that number rises to 28%.

Here’s a summary of his analysis:   City Staffing

What does this analysis tell us?  First, even before a single cut is made, our current staffing level is already too top-heavy.   A number of 4.3 is below what many believe is an optimal efficiency range for an organization of this size.  Second, the cuts that Staff has proposed take us in the wrong direction — there are clearly more “worker bees” being cut than supervisors.

A More Aggressive Approach to Cost Cutting.

Last night, Council Member Matt Grocott presented an option that calls for across the board salary cuts for City management, as well as the elimination of the Assistant City Manager and Redevelopment Housing Manager positions.  According to Mr. Grocott,  no other positions would need to be eliminated and no closures or reduced services would be recommended under this plan.

Here are more details on his plan:  City of SC Budget Proposal

This is a much more radical and aggressive approach to solving the budget gap, but to my knowledge it’s the first time that management pay scale has been discussed in any detail so far.

The Bottom Line

Both scenarios above make it glaringly obvious that if we’re serious about fixing our budget problem, we need to take a MUCH closer look at how our current city government is organized.  And perhaps that “look” needs to happen from an impartial source outside of the City Manager’s Office.   It’s probably not fair to ask the City Manager to proactively take money out of his own pocket, or to re-organize his direct circle of influence.   But there are excellent consultants out there who specialize in civic organizational structure — ones that can take an impartial view of at what we have now, and create a more efficient organizational structure — something with a higher “span of control.”  Who knows, perhaps we’ve already done this?

But we owe it to our Police, Firefighters, and Parks people to take this inward look at ourselves.  Because right now, the burden of balancing the budget is still 100% on their shoulders.
__________________________________________________________________

Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
Don’t miss a single update!
_____________________________________________________________________________

GD Star Rating
loading...
GD Star Rating
loading...
It's Time to Take Another Look at Budget Cuts in San Carlos., 3.9 out of 5 based on 9 ratings
Comments 36
  • “But we owe it to our Police, Firefighters, and Parks people to take this inward look at ourselves.” Since when do we owe our employees anything besides their pay and benefits? Why do we “owe” people who make over 150k in this economy (which many of the Fire and Police do)? I never had you pegged for a labor liberal. Three of the Councilmen are staunch democrats and back labor, I think it shows that maybe they are trying to do the right thing when they side against labor.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • It has nothing to do with being a “labor liberal” and everything to do with getting a City Manager who will look at more than one option to solve the budget problem..and not protect his own interests in the process.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    • Chuck,
      Technically he has looked at two options which is one more than most. Mark Weiss also inherited this problem, he didnt cause it. But you are probably right, since you write a blog, and he just runs a city.

      GD Star Rating
      loading...
      GD Star Rating
      loading...
      • “Anonymous”,

        No argument here. I have always stated that he has tabled two options. But “one more than most?” Should we be throwing a party for that? I guess I expected more from a City Manager with his resume, and who also has some pretty capable help in his ranks — Brian Moura is no slouch. I absolutely agree that he did not create the problem — he came in while the ship was taking on water. But he was hired to fix the leak and right the ship, not just to rearrange the deck chairs. As such, is it not OK for me to at least question why other options are not being considered? Does that make me “right” and him “wrong?” Sorry if you took it that way.

        GD Star Rating
        loading...
        GD Star Rating
        loading...
        • Chuck,
          Have you met with the City Manager? If so, how did it go? If not, why not?

          GD Star Rating
          loading...
          GD Star Rating
          loading...
          • “Anonymous”

            No I have not spoken directly with the City Manager. As you may have noticed in the Council meetings, the public is instructed to address the Council, not the City Staff directly (the first speaker last week was admonished for doing the latter.) As such, I have directed my conversations directly with the Council members — I have either interviewed, spoken directly with, or emailed 4 of the 5 council members about this and other issues.

            However, I would love the opportunity to interview the City Manager for one of my “Spotlight on San Carlos” interviews. Maybe that will happen?

            GD Star Rating
            loading...
            GD Star Rating
            loading...
      • Isn’t the definition of an “option” something that is one among many possibilities? If you only look at one thing, is it really an “option”?

        By the way, I wouldn’t boast that looking at two things is so much more enlightened than looking at one thing.

        GD Star Rating
        loading...
        GD Star Rating
        loading...
  • Thank you for this post. Whether or not one agrees, people are looking for facts and alternative solutions beyond the headlines of losing police and fire. The top heavy analysis sounds pretty much spot on to my experience with how organizations in private business organize themselves. However, I want to know how the cost savings outlined by Grocott compare in the long term to the cost savings of getting rid of pension payments for police and firefighters. Aren’t pensions what impacted auto and the airline industries so severely?

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • As a resident of San Carlos, I do like Councilman Grocott’s idea. However, I do think that some other positions could be eliminated throughout the City. I agree that the mid to upper management positions should (if possible) be eliminated before any front line personnel, like Fire, Police, or Public Works. I agree with Chuck that the merger proposals are very thin and once the City really takes a good hard look at them and asks those other agencies for additional resources, they will notice that the savings are going to be minimal. One of the biggest concerns that I had with these proposed mergers that I believe was never answered, is that if it did not work what were then our options.

    A lot of people stood and spoke at the meeting, including Police and Fire, I would look to them now to come to some sort of agreement with the City to help offset these budgetary issues and come up with some long term cost savings. The pension issues is not just Police and Fire, all city employees are part of CALPERS. The only thing that is different is the actual salaries paid by the City for the different bargaining units, with the Safety units being the most expensive (but the overall costs have gone up across the board for all employees). I believe that if the City makes some of these hard decisions and cuts, that in November if they place another measure on the ballot it will pass.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Karen,

    Are you suggesting that we try to hire police and firefighters without providing them pensions?

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    • Hello,

      Great discussion. The only comment that I would make is that it is wrong to compare State employee salaries to private sector jobs. It used to be that you chose to work for the public sector for securtiy and benefits. In the private sector, you received more money in terms of salary but less stability and benefits (no pensions). Now, working for the government, you receive both MORE money and MORE benefits.
      Sorry, we need an adjustment!

      I am not picking on Fire & Police…it is a problem across the board…..why do we have so many building inpectors clearing 100K? The qualifications to do that job,in the private sector would be closer to 80K with no sweet pension/benefits.

      GD Star Rating
      loading...
      GD Star Rating
      loading...
  • Chuck, thanks again for another thoughtful post.

    This is not the first time the City Manager has pulled this one-option trick, and not the first time the Council has fallen for it.

    When it was time to put a revenue measure on the ballot last year, a Utilities User Tax was not an option because he had only done his homework for the sales tax option and said he didn’t have time to prepare a UUT before the deadline. We all know how that ended.

    Instead of hiring a consultant to look at our fire dept, lets hire a consultant to look at how the City is organized. I would not get rid of the redevelopment/housing manager, a position that is presently filled with an outstanding employee, and manages the only money we have -the RDA- but there are others who could go. There are other outstanding employees who could oversee more workers than they do now.

    At the Saturday meeting we heard about how difficult it would be to do the job without the workers who will be lost, but no discussion of keeping, or even adding, workers and cutting management.

    We need to look at all options and hybrids of those options, not just what the City Manager comes up with.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Go Matt!!! He seems to be the only one who gets it. This “outsourcing” idea is shameful. It’s time for a serious shakeout at City Hall if that’s the best they can do.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Wow Ted- It sounds like you may have been arrested once or twice before with tsome of those comments. Last time I checked members of the police department in San Carlos were the lowest paid, and top step only get paid $85,000 or so a year without the OT which they are required to work even when they don’t want too.

    Get your facts straight….and if it was up to me, they would get raises for some of the day to day BS they have to deal with….not counting the fact that they put their lives on the line every day they suite up, even for ungrateful people like yourself!!

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Hi Pat,
    No, although I’m not sympathetic to pension plans. I’m suggesting that maybe there are significant cost savings by combining pension plans or letting another budget absorb them.

    Karen

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Hi Chuck

    Good questions and good summary of the issue.

    I do not know Matt Grocott. I have never spoken to Matt Grocott.
    I do know he has been attacked by many in the community – labeled divisive – criticized as being the ONE in all the 4-1 city council votes.
    But don’t you all find it interesting that he appears to be the only City Council member willing to think outside the box presented by the City Manager?
    Who knew? Maybe having a mind of his own is actually a good thing?

    As many commenters to your blog seem to enjoy mis-representing my statements, let me review what I have consistently said over the past month or so.

    1. I have great concerns about outsourcing – I believe the estimated cost savings are over-sold. (When was the last time any government program cost less than “advertized”?). I also believe outsourcing will result in lower quality service.

    2. I agree the City structure is too “top-heavy”. About 10 days ago, I made a comment about “too many Chiefs, not enough Indians” which is the same conclusion Olbert came to in his analysis. Again, no offense to Native Americans.

    3. I believe cost reductions should be made across the Board. I have also suggested that greater cost reductions should be made at the top than the bottom of the City organization. I believe cost reductions can be made to both the NUMBER of employees and their SALARIES. Where is it written that city employee salaries can only go up? I don’t believe you will find it in the Constitution. And I ask again, if salaries can go down in the private sector why not in the public sector????

    I believe there is a way to avoid outsourcing and keep our City structure intact but it will involve sacrafice and compromise by ALL PARTIES – city employees and San Carlos residents and taxpayers.

    We can debate the specifics of how and where to cut costs.
    We can debate the specifics of how and where to increase revenue.
    We need to do BOTH.
    We each have our own opinion on these details.

    To all those that seem to disagree with me, that is fine.
    You are entitled to your opinion.
    But criticize what I actually write OK?
    Let’s stop the continued mis-representation.
    Refer to what is actually typed above.
    Can you do that?

    I believe if San Carlans actually talk to each other and listen instead of just attack each other and if San Carlans and City employees are BOTH willing to compromise, we can work this out.

    Despite my strong belief that government spending is out of control, I am willing to consider voting for a tax increase (if given the chance) to maintain City services and structures. And understand NO MORE TAXES is like a sacred cow to me. Can others give a little of their sacred cow too?

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • It’s been said before that the biggest mistake San Carlos made was closing down it’s high school. I don’t know the decision process that was involved then, but I’m quite concerned that we are not learning from a past mistake and once again potentially making an irreversible decision that this community could regret down the road.

    I understand we have a bad financial situation and a fundamental change is required at some point. But I think it’s critical we consider all
    options and fully understand consequences before enacting that fundamental change.

    Arguably, there are four levers we have to address this deficit: 1) Revenue enhancing measures; 2) Fire/Police expenses; 3) Basic operating expenses and staff (Parks & Rec, Youth Center; etc.); 4) City management expenses (thank you Matt Grocott for bringing this up)

    Rather than look for a silver bullet in one of these categories to address the issue, I think we need to form individual task forces to outline all the options in each area, as the ideal solution would involve a hybrid from all areas. Moreoever, these options should be categorized as “short-term/reversible” vs. “long-term/fundamental.” Outsourcing the entire police department, for example, would be a long-term fundamental change.

    This would accomplish a few things IMO. First, it would help identify all the other opportunities that we’re missing (i.e., partnering with Redwood City). Second, it will help us identify if there are some short-term fixes we can do for this year only and buy us some time to better research and understand the long-term implications. I understand we can’t do that every year, but I’d much prefer
    us squeeze what we can to get by for a year while we more thoroughly research long-term options. Finally, it will also help us frame any revenue measures against a known alternative. Rather than the vague threat of reduced services, it will be very clear…without this revenue measure, this is how we’ll make up the difference.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    • JJ,

      Thanks for your comment. The only thing I will add is that we need to look at both sides of our city borders. Belmont just announced that they are now looking widespread cuts to reduce their budget deficit, INCLUDING cutting salaries across the board. Here’s the article: City Considers New Budget Solutions. So we may have another willing partner besides RWC to discuss consolidation of public safety.. That is, unless we’ve burned that bridge already with the recent contentious JPA discussions.

      Another interesting point – in the meeting on Monday, the Staff seemed to use the terms “outsource” and “consolidate” almost interchangeably. But I think there are distinct differences in the two, namely that in a consolidation we retain responsibility for the employees and their salaries, but we achieve cost savings via economies of scale and eliminating duplication in upper management and support services with the other cities. The JPA is a good example of a consolidation (in theory, anyway.) Outsourcing seems to mean we wash our hands of any employee responsibility and simply pay a fee for a service. Is that everyone’s understanding?

      GD Star Rating
      loading...
      GD Star Rating
      loading...
      • Chuck,

        That is exactly my understanding.

        I think the bridge to Belmont is burned, at least while this Council is in office. With at least one Councilman continuously baiting Belmont on the subject of the JPA, we’re not likely to get into another agreement with them.

        GD Star Rating
        loading...
        GD Star Rating
        loading...
    • JJ,

      Another good post. I totally agree. I think it would be easier to get concessions if the City Manager started by talking to the people whose salaries and/or jobs will be cut instead of announcing the cuts to the public first.

      I think once the public understands the situation, we will pass a revenue measure. Unfortunately, it will probably require a 2/3 vote, unless Matt Grocott is willing to declare a “fiscal emergency.” He refused to do that last year and campaigned against Measure “U.” Now we can’t put another general measure on the ballot until November 2011 unless he changes his mind. Maybe if it’s a choice between loosing our fire dept and passing a revenue measure he’ll change his mind.

      Earlier this month Matt proposed a parcel tax for lighting and landscaping. I’d rather have a revenue measure that affects renters like me and Matt as well as property owners, and is used for Public Safety. A parcel tax is voted on by property owners only, by mail, with their votes public for anyone to see. Understandably, they don’t like that part. Property owners may live elsewhere in the State, or even out of state. What do they care about our Safety?

      I think the only way out of this is to gather thousands of signatures, convince the Council that we will pass a revenue measure, and scrape by until that happens.

      To be fair, the staff and four Councilmen wanted to that two years ago, but Matt blocked it. Then they made the mistake of hiring a consultant that in my opinion was a waste of money and following the advice they got for their fifty grand or whatever it was. Forget telephone polling, lets show them signatures. If three young boys can gather 200 signatures in 3 days, and we can gather 200 in the same 3 days, what could we do with a concerted effort over a 6 week period?

      GD Star Rating
      loading...
      GD Star Rating
      loading...
  • One of the biggest issues i have with government employee compensation is their retirement benefits. On what planet does it make sense for anyone, regardless of profession, to earn 80-90% of their salaries until they die? If you are paid an above average salary, throughout your working life, you should have been able to invest and plan for your retirement. And if somehow you are able to get this sort of retirement benefit, you should be ineligible for social security or any other government asssistance. It was not meant to be free money for everyone. It was meant to help senior citizens manage in their golden years if they were not able to earn enough money to invest during their working lives.

    Until MAJOR adjustments are made in bloated government pay packages, we will continue to have these unbearable strains on our communities.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    • The only way someone can be eligible for 90% of their salary is if they spent 30 years in public safety or 36+ years in non-safety. During that time, the employee contributes around 9% of their own money into the pension fund. Many public sector employees, like police officers in San Carlos, don’t get social security.

      This country has free capital markets and free labor markets. We all had the ability to look at how much police officers make in pay and benefits and could have chosen that job. But, why do that when there has been so much money flowing in the private sector (until recently). Being a cop can be dangerous, lots of shift work with long hours, missing holidays with the family, forced overtime, cancelled days off due to court, people don’t like you, etc. A few years back, people were making a fortune in stock options, real estate, dot com boom, etc. The heck with being a cop! I can get rich!

      Police officers can’t get rich and they know it. They watched their friends get rich and they just kept coming to work and making a decent living. The free labor market asks us all questions: Do you want the potential for wealth? Do you want to be safe? Are you capable of seeing death regularly and dealing with it? Would you prefer a secure pension to the potential for wealth? We all make informed choices in a free labor market.

      Now, that being said, we absolutely have to reform our pension system. Not because its too lucrative, but because due to changes in the economy it is now too expensive. When benefits were increased years ago, the pension system was super-funded meaning its rate of growth exceeded its pay outs. Cities were told by the best accuarials around that they could enhance employee’s retirement with zero costs in perpetuity. The rug came out from under the pension fund during this current major recession and things must now change.

      I certainly agree that changes have to occur. But, remember that in the United States we have a free labor market and we all make choices. My bet is that there are a lot of people out there that even if they knew they could get 90% retirement for being a San Carlos officer (about $72,000 annually) they still would have never done it for the reasons I set forth above.

      My advice: continue to push for pension reform but remember that its not the employee’s fault, you shouldn’t be angry with them, and we all have choices in a free labor market.

      GD Star Rating
      loading...
      GD Star Rating
      loading...
      • Hank,

        Thanks for a very good post. I think we should rethink pensions for the non-emergency employees first. I think college professors in the CSU system get 2.5% at 60. I think that’s fine for the people who work in offices, mow lawns, etc.

        I think police and firefighters have to expect to retire at an earlier age. This is not work for “seniors.” I’d like to see how much we could save by adjusting the retirement programs for everyone else before we touch the police and firefighters.

        Remember, as the economy comes back, so will the CALPERS investment portfolio. That will help with our rates.

        I have spoken at more than one Council meeting to point out that the people on the dais could have chosen this kind of work if it’s such a great deal. They didn’t. They chose to work in offices, so if there’s any comparison to be made it’s between the private sector, where Councilmen chose to work and the office workers at City Hall.

        GD Star Rating
        loading...
        GD Star Rating
        loading...
  • -Hank

    Well said. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Also, what people tend to forget, is that a majority of these police officers who have worked their entire career in law enforcement (dealing with the day to day business which Hank explained in his comment above) to get the opportunity to make 70-90% of their pay for the REST OF THEIR LIVES, rarely seem to actually enjoy it. The sad truth is that a good percentage of their lives get cut short by heart attacks, cancer, etc. 5-10 years after they retire. Let’s not forget that.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • San Carlos City Council Member Omar Ahmad has posted a rebuttal to Mark Olbert’s “Span of Control” analysis on his website. You can read it here: http://www.omarahmad.com/?p=488

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • I think what Omar wrote — which closely follows something City staffer Jeff Maltbie wrote to him in response to an email I sent to Omar about my span of control analysis — is more of a sidestep than a rebuttal :).

    What’s funny about Omar’s emphasis on “professional” employees not managing is that very, very few managers, or even executives, in modern business do nothing but manage in their positions. When I was the CFO of a several hundred person publicly-traded biotech company I built and maintained the budget and planning models that we used to run the business. I also performed many other activities than managing my staff. Heck, I even did my own filing, and if you called me on the phone the odds were I’d answer it myself :). I had an administrative assistant, but she spent most of her time helping the rest of the finance department run.

    Yet, even though most modern managers do more than manage, companies still pay attention to span of control. Why shouldn’t the City?

    Omar’s point might have had some resonance a generation ago, before American private sector companies were forced, by global competition, to rethink how they functioned. But it’s not the way business works anymore.

    BTW, a colleague of mine pointed out a benefit of flattening an organization which is non-financial, but could be very desirable to the community: the flatter an organization is, the more people there are who can say “yes” and the less people there are who can say “no”. He observed this first-hand when his company (which is a huge global business) went through exactly that kind of flattening.

    – Mark

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    • I can see flattening in some areas. Parks and Rec has one person who supervises parks and another who supervises rec. They’ve both been here a long time and are very capable. They could both be managers reporting to someone other than the Director of Parks and Rec, maybe Public Works.

      I think the Assistant City Manager’s job definitely could be done by others.

      Planning, housing, economic development, etc. have all been flattened into one Community Development Director, so I don’t think there’s any opportunity for cutting there. Matt wants to get rid of the Housing/Economic Development manager, but I disagree. That job covers a lot of territory, including Economic Development, which we need to get out of this mess, and the Redevelopment Agency, which is the only place we have any money. The person in that position now is excellent and knows all his various areas of responsibility inside and out.

      I’m not sure this kind of flattening would save a lot of money because I think we need more employees, not less. We’ve been cutting the workers and not the managers for years, so we need to beef up the workers a little.

      The City wants to hire a consultant to advise them about what to do with the Fire Department. We have an excellent Fire Chief who can give them that kind of help. They should spend that money to hire an expert to tell them how to restructure the City government. Mark Weiss has had 5 years to turn this around, and here we are. I’d like to hear some other ideas. Surely there are other possibilities. I don’t know what those possibilities are, but someone does.

      I do know that other cities encourage citizen involvement much more than San Carlos does. Mark Weiss doesn’t like citizen involvement, but this is his last year so maybe it is time to rethink the way we do business, instead of following him blindly down one of his paths.

      Many more citizens are actively engaged in the process now than I have ever seen. Let’s use that energy to really think about what we want our City to be and how we want it to work.

      GD Star Rating
      loading...
      GD Star Rating
      loading...
  • I thought people might find it enlightening to see my reply to Omar when he emailed me the material which later became his blog post. He and I had been exchanging emails about my span of control analysis for several days before I sent this.

    =======================

    Thanks for passing this along. Unfortunately, it doesn’t address the issue I raised. I did not go through and categorize people based on their job description. I simply went through the published org charts and counted up people who have lines of oversight pointing to them from other employees. That’s my definition of manager/supervisor.

    My conclusion, based on that data, is that the “cut” option is differentially eliminating more worker bee positions than manager/supervisor positions. This is hardly unheard of, and might be the right thing to do. It may even be the result of legal or contractual constraints the City has to meet. However, it’s also relatively common for this pattern to emerge during cutbacks because the hierarchy acts to protect itself, in addition to reducing cost. I’m sure you’ve either seen or heard of examples of this in the private sector. Boards and councils need to guard against that.

    As an aside, one of your colleagues shared with me that an example of this appeared in an earlier round of budget work in San Carlos. So it not only can happen, but has happened.

    If staff is asserting that those lines of oversight are incorrect, then please have them publish a revised org chart with the correct lines and I’ll redo my analysis. I’d point you to the document that I used, but unfortunately it no longer seems to be available on the City website and I didn’t download it. Do you happen to know where it ended up? It’s the public overview presentation that was made at the weekend budget workshop.

    – Mark

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Be interesting to see the “confidental bonus” each of the Command staff and City Management are not able to take this year. Why isn’t everything out on the table?

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • What is the Council didn’t loan $1.6 million to the RDA? That would redyce the deficit to $2 million. We should be able to handle that with cuts and some reserves to get us through while we look carefully at ALL the options and come up with a solution.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • I don’t see “The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review” anymore. Are you no longer update that data?

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    • Guy,

      Thanks for your comment. This site was hacked over the past weekend (as were about 30,000 other blogs that use the same host) and I ended up losing about 1.5 weeks of data. This included the Week in Review that was posted last week, as well as the Review that I was just about to post on Saturday 4/24. I’m in the process of having the site scrubbed and moved to a different server that’s more secure. This change should be done in the next 24 hours, and things will (hopefully) be back to normal. The Week in Review will resume with the weekly addition this coming Saturday and will continue as a weekly installment. But the last two week’s additions are toast.

      Thanks again….CG

      GD Star Rating
      loading...
      GD Star Rating
      loading...
  • Chuck, are you sure this site is repaired? It’s been so quiet!

    Here’s another way of doing budget cuts. The Tewksbury, Mass school district actually did what Gavin Newsom threatened to do in SF. They fired everyone, then hired them back at 32 hours a week. The teachers are not happy and are still working the same hours they did before.

    If Randy Royce really wants to cut retirement for current employees, that’s probably the only way to do it. You’d have to exclude public safety to avoid a gap in service, but the rest of the city’s employees would have a clear-cut choice: take it or leave it. That’s what they’re offering the police and firefighters and the citizens of San Carlos.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
Leave a comment