Who is Serving Whom?

Public Servants...

What we don’t know can and will kill us! At the least, it can and will devastate our city’s finances. At the August 17, 2010 council meeting, the Capistrano Organizational Review Effort (CORE) Team, comprised of selected city staff, submitted to the council a report on “In-Sourcing vs. Outsourcing.” A glaring fact in the report was that, in an era where outsourcing can enhance efficiency and curb cost, our city continues to use in-house personnel to process its payroll. This is simply mind-boggling.

Then at the November 16, 2010 council meeting, more ugly truth concerning city wages and benefits finally surfaced. Here is a summary:

For the calendar year ended December 31, 2009, taxpayers paid. . . 
  • An “Accounting Specialist,” AKA: Payroll Clerk, to process the city’s bi-monthly payroll at a cost of over $60,000 per year. 
  • 124 employees (today the city has 133 employees., 119 full-time and 14 part-time). 
  • $7.7 million in wages per year ($647,657 per month) before benefits. This was 39% of the city’s budget of $20 million (now $17 million). 
  • 55 employees (more than 44% of the total staff) received overtime pay or other compensation. The cost to taxpayers was $403,000 ($33,583 per month). 
  • $326,000 for the employee share of pension contributions. This is in addition to the employer share also paid by taxpayers. Seems like they want all the money! 
  • $58,000 in deferred compensation to key employees. 
  • $977,000 for the staff and dependent’s health, vision, and dental premiums. Taxpayers are footing 100% of the cost for both the staff and their family members! Are you upset yet? 

But wait! There is more…a lot more:


For the fiscal year 2009–2010, “Classified” (fancy title for clerical) staff enjoyed the following: 
  • Customer Service Reps, Receptionists, Admin clerks, and others earned $25 to over $30 per hour. 
  • Overtime pay at 1.5 times the regular hourly rate for each hour worked over 40 hours in a week. 
  • “Comp Time” of 120 hours per year at 1.5 times the hourly rate for each hour worked over 40 hours a week. This is in addition to the overtime pay, and “Double Dipping” at its finest! It just doesn’t get any better than that! Effectively, all overtime is triple-time. 
  • $100.00 “Recognition Bonus” for each training certificate received above what is required for the position. 
  • $15.00 contribution to post-retirement health savings plan. How did taxpayers get so lucky? Even when the person retires, we still have the good fortune to pay through our noses for the person. When does it stop? Oh, that’s right…it doesn’t! 
  • 100% of the pension contribution paid for by hard working taxpayers after just two years on the job. This is quite a nice jump don't you think? This is in addition to the employer’s share of the contribution. 
For the fiscal year 2009–2010, “Managerial” staff enjoyed the following: 
  • Accrue 64 hours of “administrative leave” for hours worked over the “normal” work schedule, with an option to cash out the accrued hours each June and December. 
  • Bilingual Pay supplement of $ 85.00 to $ 125.00 per month. 
For the fiscal year 2009-2010, “Executive” staff enjoyed the following: 
  • 80 hours of “administrative leave” for hours worked beyond the “normal” work schedule, with an option to cash out the accrued hours each June and December. The City Clerk accrues 64 hours per year. 
  • Auto Allowance: Assistant City Manager $350.00 per month; City Clerk $ 250.00 per month; Community Services Director, Development Services Director, and Public Works Director all receive $225.00 per month. City Manager and Utilities Director have use of city vehicle for city business. 
Finally, every staff member enjoyed the following annually: 
  • Minimum of 80 hours of vacation days, with a maximum of 172 hours after 20 plus years of service. 
  • 96 hours of sick pay. 
  • 12 days of holiday pay. 
  • 10 hours of floating holiday pay. 
  • 5 days of bereavement pay . 
  • Jury Duty, at full pay for as long as needed. 
  • Time off with pay to donate blood. WHAT??? 
  • 100% paid medical, dental and vision for staff and family members under the HIGHEST CalPERS HMO plan. Hey, why not go for the best? Nothing but the best for our city’s staff! And, for those who wish to enroll with other medical plans with a lower premium can receive the difference between their premium and the city’s plan in cash. Those opting-out completely receive $325.00 per month, and those without dependents receive $137.50 per month. 
  • Disability payments up to two-thirds of salary for all NON-JOB related injury or illness. Wow! 
  • Tuition reimbursements of up to $20,000 per year for full-time tuition at a California State University with no maximum cap. 
The City Manager and Human Resources Manager are currently in contract negotiations for the 2010-2011 contract. Please let your voice be heard and tell our city council members that we are BROKE. NO CAN DO!!! We need to rebuild our city and the time to do it was yesterday.

We need to eliminate the following:
  • Overtime except in absolute emergencies. 
  • Payments for the employee’s share of their pension benefits. 
  • Comp time accrual for Classified staff. 
  • Administrative leave pay for Managerial and Executive Staff. This is unheard of in the private sector. You work however many hours it takes to get the job done. This is why “Managers and Executives” make the big bucks. 
  • Auto Allowances for those who have a “Desk” job.The City Clerk?... come on now! 
  • Paid time off for donating blood. 
  • Contributions to the retirees’ health savings plan. Let’s cut the umbilical cord after retirement. We cannot afford to continue this insanity 
  • Disability pay. Why on earth are taxpayers paying for disability insurance to cover a staff for non-job related injury or illness? Which genius dreamt that one up? 
  • A life insurance policy that is clearly costing taxpayers an arm and two legs. Try comparing the city’s policy to the private sector. 
  • Tuition reimbursements of $20,000 a year is way out of line, and no maximum to boot! 
  • 100% payments for staff and their dependents’ for health, vision, and dental plan. 
Let’s look at what the private sector is doing because we all know that the public sector has no clue what reality is. If private businesses operate in the same manner as their public counterparts, they’d go broke overnight. Right off the bat, the city can save over $1 million by simply eliminating the unnecessary overtime and flagrant spending.

PLEASE email your council members today at:

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