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City Council Actions

During the FY13 budget process, the City of Long Beach contracted with a business consulting firm called Management Partners to look for efficiencies within our employee contracts.  This is the politically correct way for the City Manager to say that he is already posturing for the next round of contract negotiations.  The obvious purpose of the consultanting company is to help coach the City Council into believing that they should further cut our staffing, salaries, and benefits.

Management Partners gave their first two presentations to the Council on 6/19/12 and 7/3/12.  and were documented in the previous featured article titled "FY13 Budget Process".  However, it became increasingly clear that the company did not present a full and complete picture to our elected officials.  Some information was clearly skewed in order to try and bolster what was clearly city management's position.  Even some of the City Council members publically voiced their concern that the company did not seem to be comparing apples-to-apples when showing comparisons between Long Beach and other hand-selected cities.  Some of the discrepancies were documented in our 2012 Rap Sheet (3rd quarter edition, page 5).

At the completion of the FY13 budget process, the City Council set aside $200,000 in 'one-time oil money' to bring back Management Consultants for further evaluation work.  They were specifically tasked with researching ways to cut back on employee overtime costs and incentive pays.  While this will clearly have an immediate effect on the upcoming IAM contact negotiations, this will also have ramifications for our future contracts.  

On 12/4/12, the City Council voted 5-4 to give Management Partners an additional $300,000 (making a total of $500,000 for FY13).  The hope was that Management Partners would be able to show the Council how they could cut over $28 million dollars annually from the City budget.  During a time of financial hardship, this sounds like an extremely good deal; however, the promise of savings is incredibly deceptive.  Management Partner themselves have already commented that they are not familar with how Long Beach does business and provides services.  Any savings target is purely speculative and the savings do not come without a signficant and painful reduction to service and quality (both of which are not a part of Management Partners tasking).

Ironically, the City Council action on Management Partners came at the same time the City Manager was asking for the Council's permission to spend up to $250,000 on anything he wanted without their prior permission and without public discussion.  The City Manager asked for this increase in order to increase government efficiency.  In a 7-2 vote, the Council decided to increase the City Manager's discretionary limit to $200,000. 

At the same time that all of the above action is happening, the Police Department finds itself publically acknowledging that it will definitely need more money to meet its overtime obligations for FY13.  We have not even completed the first quarter of the fiscal year, but it is already clear that the budgeted funds will fall short of expectations.  This is something that the POA pointed out publically to the Council during the FY13 budget discussions.  The Police Department historically needs approximately 10 to 11 million dollars per year in overtime just to meet its bare bones essentials.  Much of that money is completely non-discretionary (special events and court requirements for example), and the money that is discretionary is either driven by operational requirements (SWAT, SART, etc), or has been greatly reduced internally over the last five years by restructuring how we do call-backs and various late shift work.  

However, despite the historical proof of need, the Council budgeted only 7 million in overtime for FY13.  They later gave the Chief additional discretionary 'one-time oil money' that he could use however he saw fit (including for overtime); however, even if the Chief used all of this additional funding to supplement overtime, it would still not be enough.  The Council was made fully aware of the problem in September, and it should be no surprise that it was brought to their attention again in December.  The Chief also used the opportunity to also take the money that he had previously received for 'Shot Spotter' technology and place it into this years overtime fund.


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