Sunday, November 22, 2009

What Other Towns Are Doing About The "Budget Dilemma"

More information gathered at the League of Municipalities Convention:


- layoff plan - city administrator urged starting early so savings are not limited to a few months

- reduction in workforce - 102 positions including 20 vacant positions, 19 demotions, 49 permanent employee terminations and 14 seasonal terminations. This included 10 vacant police positions and 3 demotions.

- The savings from the reduction in force is reduced by increased unemployment benefit costs

- Non union employees absorbing increased co payments for drug benefits (from $10 to $20)

- 79 user fees increased

- Voluntary furloughs offered to save some employee positions but no-one came forward

- Superior police officers accepted 0% wage increase for 2010


- Council knew of $2.5 million shortfall early and worked closely with administration to introduce a budget

- layoff of 20 positions including 3 police positions

- Renegotiated FMBA contract (firefighters) to save $1.1 million and staff positions

- 12 furlough days per year (fire and police not included in this plan)

- raised user fees

- layoffs and furloughs resulted in staff morale problems


- county took over police dispatching, saving $600,000

- sharing IT Manager with Board of Education saving $50,000

- reduction in workforce from 166 to 137 over a two (or three?) year period

These towns are ahead of Plainfield in developing solutions to the fiscal crunch being felt all over New Jersey. At last nights Council meeting, the responsiblity for the budget shifted from the administration and Mayor over to the Council. There will still be a need for the Mayor and Council to cooperate in order to work with our unions to make the tax increase less devastating. We shall see.


Anonymous said...

Cory it is clear that the mayor has done nothing like the leadership in the towns you profiled. Fire and police unions have to come to the negotiating table. There is a problem when the mayor cozies up to the leadership of the police union. I can't see any way that she can not have a conflict of interest. She said at a public forum that the PBA leadership would not work with Adrian Mapp if he were elected mayor. That sort of comment shows that she will go to the ends of the earth to protect her cronies. We need better leadership than this. You and the rest of the council should need to take the lead on this budget and force the public safety unions to come to the table. There's no other way. You are right that the administration and council need to work together, but I am pessimistic about it because the administration has shown absolutely no willingness to do so in a realistic manner. Lets start with the mayor's cabinet and food budget and staff, then more equitably have layoffs among all the unions, not just those the administration thinks have less leverage.

olddoc said...

Cory,Have a good family Thanksgiving.

Then provoke Council to start with the initiative of some of these programs, Administration seems incapable. I am sure that there nus be changes in the TO of the two public safety Divisions that can result in greater economy. Are "clerical" positions being occupied by line officers. If there are too many generals and not enough yardbirds then either a temporary job accomadation with or without temp reduction in rank or immediate retirement with benefits obtained, not as if they had reached full retirement requirements.

If the Council makes the rules, Dashields will have to follow. Council may also have to review the function of Corporation Counsel as dfined in the city charter.

olddoc said...

Too many typos in my earlier comments. --Some corrections follow

I am sure that there MUST be changes in the TO of the two public safety Divisions that can result in greater economy. Are "clerical" positions--

Counsel as dpper case.fined in

Anonymous said...

You and the other council persons must make some decisions relative to the budget,similar to the ones that you have posted that were made in other towns. There should be no "sacred cows" and everyone should have to "give back" so that the homeowners are not stuck with what could be an odious tax increase. The article,online(Star Ledger)relative to "shift in budgeting cycle aids Dunellen" might also provide some additional considerations.
Margaret Lewis

Anonymous said...

All the talk in the world will not produce a solution better than the one that is most apparent. The council must eliminate positions that are not part of the actual production of services - do the day to day work. The city is top heavy in management. These people, such Maier or Helwig, etc. or fire or police, can be eliminated. They contribute little to the production or quality of services. Their loss will not be missed. With the state in a fiscal mess, there is little or no help from the state. The future is not bright. We need to show the market place and politicans that can help(Christie,Bramnick,Lance)that we have the savy and confidence to run the city in an effecient manner. If we don't we are doomed; it will get worse-a lot worse. Do the right thing!

The economic development study, crucial to any state commitment to the City is warehoused beacuse the council refuses to grant tax abatement to a pay-for play developer. Suggestion: call the group together!