So yeah, our fire and police don’t deserve awards for Memorial Day 2011. But the firefighters are getting what they want….
The “independent” investigation into the Zack Suicide is being conducted by a single man who is the same man that signed many of the state fire level certificates of those he’s investigating. Huh? That’s right. He was CalFire Chief and signed off on many of the training certificates/levels for fire management and fighters who failed us on Memorial Day.
And the fire management’s pay and bennies; nary a concession in site: have you seen the September 20, 2011, City Council Agenda’s Item 5.H.? It’s a Consent Calendar item to approve the fire management MOU. (See it here.) Apparently, this item doesn’t require a public discussion? HUH?
There are five positions in AFD Management.
The total cost to the city in 2010 for those 5 positions: $1,324,835. That’s right: $1.33 MILLION. An average of $265,000 per person….
That same level of pay is ensured by this new MOU for the period from February 28, 2010 to June 29, 2013.
City Manager Russo says the estimated costs savings from this MOU with fire management are in the four digits. That’s right: UNDER $10,000. WTF? Other cities are getting IMPROVED fire services from moving to county AND saving 10% (which is millions). Other cities retaining their city fire services are driving 10% pay/bennie concessions from their management and staff. Us? oh, we’re about to be bankrupt and we want to continue the folly that we are not headed into a double-dip recession in a few weeks here; one of the first signs is this sudden 33% spike in foreclosure rates we’re seeing right now. Do we live in Opposite City or what?
If you think this is wrong, you can blame Mayor Gilmore, Vice Mayor Bonta, and Councilmembers Beverly Johnson and Lena Tam who are sure to approve it like they did the (ridiculous and unaffordable) IAFF Local 689 MOU earlier this year. But I tell you: our city is meant to be a city-manager led city and CM Russo has been at the helm long enough to be fully 100% responsible for submitting this to city council. Write Mr. Russo, tell him what you think: firstname.lastname@example.org Demand he differentiate himself from the apparently bought and paid for elected officials who hired him; that’s his job now that he’s in it: to work for us when we say city council is not representing our best interests. And we do say that! Let’s demand evidence-based management from CM Russo particularly when the evidence contradicts the mayor and city council majority’s “intuition”!
We’ll probably just get schooled for being uninformed and speaking out; we’ll get told to attend City Council’s Special Meeting on September 27th to explain labor negotiations to residents.
But I don’t really need to understand the labor negotiation process as much as I need to understand why those in charge of our city are not:
1. Driving substantial concessions from public safety services when those contracts are way out of line with what we can afford and what makes sense
2. Engaging and utilizing The Kevins (City Treasurer & City Auditor) or heeding their advice, warnings, guidance. You heard The Kevins speak out on our behalves at City Hall. Now listen to their recent discussions on our city budget and public safety services contracts on Alameda Community Radio here.
I’m just sayin’: Opposite City. We have to change this: Get informed, speak out, vote smarter.