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Maupin calls for Bremerton salary cuts

December 12th, 2011 by Steven Gardner

Bremerton City Council President Will Maupin sent a letter to Mayor Patty Lent and Financial Services Director Becky Hasart calling for major changes in the city’s 2012 budget. He also leveled an interesting claim about how department directors were instructed to address the changes with the council.

“This year, the Council was not afforded the opportunity to provide input early in the process and I understand that department heads were warned to not argue against the administration’s budget on threat of being fired.” — Will Maupin

Maupin faults the administration and the council for how the budget has been handled and said he looks forward to a meeting today (Monday) to hammer out some details before the council approves the final spending plan on Wednesday, which in theory could change.

Among the changes he calls for are a 15 percent reduction in executive salaries, the assumption of furloughs for city employees and a reduction in layoffs down to less than 10.

I’ve called both Maupin and Lent for comment and received voice mail. I presume they are meeting now. We’ll have a story later (in print Tuesday). The letter follows.

Patty & Becky,

The purpose of this memo is to provide input on the budget and the budget process to help finalize this year’s budget and to help avoid the same mistakes in the future.

I think that the administration, myself and the entire Council have made mistakes during the development of this budget. The budget contains several controversial proposals and was developed by the administration with very little input from the Council and department heads. Past budgets have been a team effort between the administration, the Council and the department heads. This year, the Council was not afforded the opportunity to provide input early in the process and I understand that department heads were warned to not argue against the administration’s budget on threat of being fired.

At this point, some of the administration’s proposals for revenue enhancement have been approved by Council for the 2012 budget. In the future, things like increases in PILOT, increased parking taxes, shifting funds to the street department, significant numbers of layoffs, etc., should be discussed with the Council before budget preparation begins.

Since the budget was delivered to the Council late, the Council accepted the task of changing or eliminating some of the elements of the administration’s budget proposal while trying to keep it balanced. In retrospect, the Council should have decided which of the proposals were acceptable and which were not and should have sent the budget back to the administration for further work. We should not have tried to do the administration’s work for them.

As I discussed with Becky on Thursday, here are some of the elements the Council wants incorporated in the revised budget proposal:

Salaries for high paid members of management, including the mayor, should be reduced by a meaningful amount (about 15%) through furloughs or other actions.
Furloughs should be used for other employees to avoid layoffs.
The executive budget should be examined to make sure it contains only required expenditures in this difficult economic period.
The budget should assume salary concessions by labor unions.
The budget should assume additional contributions to health insurance costs by employees.
The budget should assume no layoffs in utility fund positions and that a utility rate study will be done in early 2012.
The budget should include fewer than 10 layoffs in the general fund.

Although we did not discuss these items, I would like them addressed:

Retain a total of four positions in the electronics division.
Present a plan for executing street repairs, including the number of positions to be retained, considering that we approved funding for streets from parking tax, stormwater PILOT and $20 car tab fees.

Another issue we discussed on Thursday is that the Council requests that the administration prepare a narrative explaining the principles behind the elements included in the budget. The Council never received a briefing on what the administration was trying to accomplish with the 2012 budget. We only received an explanation of the individual elements. The Council still does not know why the budget included laying off as many people as was proposed while maintaining staff and management salaries at high levels. This narrative should include a discussion of the long term (the next two or three years) plan for PILOT, parking taxes, furloughs, health insurance costs and layoffs.

I think the action taken by the Council last Wednesday to delay action on the budget gives us a chance to make significant changes which will benefit all the citizens of Bremerton. I look forward to meeting with you on Monday afternoon to review the administration’s new budget proposal. I hope the proposal is something we can both support and present to the entire Council with a recommendation to approve.

Will Maupin
President, Bremerton City Council

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7 Responses to “Maupin calls for Bremerton salary cuts”

  1. Colleen Smidt Says:

    This is not unexpected. With the elimination of so many positions and city workers a certain amount of reorganization needs to occur within nearly every department in the city. Some departments considerably more than others, like Public Works.

    Organizational information and strategy from Department Heads, with the reduced numbers and positions incorporated in, needs to be generated and presented to the council for review if it has not already been submitted.

    Frustrations are coming visably to the surface quickly. From the council who are not being handed the appropriate complied data, from departments that currently lack solid leadership and direction, from workers that want to make concessions but have not been directly asked for them, from the Mayor who wants to ask workers for concessions, but has been prevented from doing so by Union contract negotiation protocol and rules and from the citizens who are fed up with the posturing, lack of communication and constant stream of excuses to justify the steady continuation of the status quo.

    No more worrying about hurt feelings or popularity contests. We are way beyond that now. Everyone needs to settle down, not get so defensive and work towards doing whatever it takes to fix the Bremerton budget problem.

  2. Robin in Manette Says:

    Great respons Colleen, you pretty much said it all, and I second it.

    The city has a great opportunity to do the right thing here!

  3. Colleen Smidt Says:

    and…

    THANK YOU COUNCILMAN MAUPIN!!!!!

  4. Ducttapeo1 Says:

    http://data.spokesman.com/salaries/schools/113-bremerton-school-district/

    Here’s a pay chart for the 2010-11 school year for Bremerton Schools.

    Now it’s all fine and dandy that the city now realizes the mess it’s in, and starts looking at staff, savings, and salary reductions. Keeping in mind that Bremerton, is a city operating the whole year.

    I thinks there a lot more waste and greed at the local school system than the city, at this point. And I’d argue the schools people are making more for less work.

    That’s about $1,110,140.00 in total compensation, for ten positions.

    For the city positions, highlighted in the budget vote comments, that’s about 9 positions.

    Mayor. $122,424
    Director of financial services $135,072
    City Attorney $141,912
    Director of Community Development $128,568
    Police Chief $141,912
    Fire Chief $135,072
    City Auditor $105,516
    Director of Parks and Recreation $122,376
    Director of Public Works $135,072

    That’s a total of $1,167,604.00. And although it’s 9 city positions against a school corporation, the city has a much larger and longer period of responsibility. And only about a $58,000 difference between a full time city, versus a 9 month school system. Each with similar problems. Bad school testing and probation, versus bad roads.

    For REAL change , apply the 15% pay cut to both entities.

  5. Don Stauff Says:

    These salaries are high .They are also incorrect.Many administrators are taking home much more than what has been revealed. For instance.The City Auditor has a salary range that peaks out at $105,000.00 per year . However the 2012 budget has him projected to take home $124,000.00.$19,000.00 is a significant difference . Especially when they are discussing laying of 25.5 people as was their original plan.For this administration to have warned dept heads to not argue with the budget being proposed or fear their job is a conspiracy to default the tax payers. For these dept heads to not expose this threat makes them an accomplice to the conspiracy.

  6. RM Parker Says:

    I applaud the work and effort of the City Council so far. I think our council is moving in the right direction and the citizens will be better represented going forward.

    A couple observations:

    The budget has been less than transparent coming down the pipeline. Greater discussion and more candid conversations would have made things much smoother.

    It appears that the budget process started much later this year. Maybe not, but that is my perception and I’ve heard that come up a number of times already.

    Seems as if a last minute bomb was dropped on the council with less than enough time to request much in the way of changes due to the last minute presentation. It is starting to appear more planned than by accident. If that is true, we need to ask some really tough questions of our mayor. I am not calling foul as it may just be my perception.

    I think the citizens and businesses should be proud of our council and it’s president.

    It’s a messy business getting the power within our local government back in the hands of it’s citizens. The City Council has made a huge step in that direction as the citizens representatives with this redirection to the city’s management team.

  7. RM Parker Says:

    After reviewing the latest proposal dated 12-14 on the budget, I think that a lot of ground and concerns have been covered. I am thankful to both the council and management for addressing some of the concerns.

    I think it’s now the unions turn to give some. Something along the lines of maybe a 10% of the health premium being paid by the employees would be a great start. Health coverage should require some type of employee contribution so they are vested in controlling the cost and helping to cover it.

    Let’s see how the vote goes tonight at 5:30.

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