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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Be Careful What you Ask For...

Difficult times call for difficult decisions, and Troy has made a lot of those.

Some were necessary because of the economy. Some were suggested by the independent consulting firm that analyzed our structure and everyday workings.

And some were seemingly to appease the loud and constant demand for "smaller government" and "lower wages" for the city employees. These demands are expressed over and over by our ardent tax-fighters, Troy Citizens United, and their supporters.

And so...the City Council approved an early retirement solution for specific workers in the Troy workforce. The process identified those eligible MONTHS ago...and some were the employees who were part of the more expensive retirement program that the city had phased out way back in 1997.

Someone who was eligible has known for a long time that it was possible to take part, and some did as soon as it was approved.

Sadly, that means we are losing our Assistant City Manager, John Lamerato...and all his knowledge and expertise.

Sadly, that means we are losing our City Clerk, Toni Bartholomew...and all her knowledge and expertise.

So let's review:
-- City Manager John Szerlag is charged with achieving a 10% reduction in all city departments, and has done much of the work.
-- The police force VOLUNTARILY opened contract talks TWO YEARS EARLY to achieve that reduction in their department.
-- Mr. Szerlag has cut his own wages TWICE voluntarily.
-- Early retirement programs have been offered to costly employees with costly retirement packages, and many will participate in that wage reduction measure.
-- Overall city staff has been reduced by one-third.

What happens when employees see this kind of pattern? Many leave. Many get out while they can with as much benefit to their family's and their financial situation. Who can blame them???
It's what you get when you ask for a bargain city.

Troy Citizen United asked for a bargain city. So you think they'd be HAPPY right now, right?

Think again. In typical fashion of changing their argument to whatever sounds better at the time, now they're upset at losing our experienced workforce.

-- the same workforce they feel is OVERPAID.
-- the same workforce they DEMAND take a pay cut -- some ask for a cut of up to 50% on public record at council meetings.
-- the same workforce they advocate cutting down to PART-TIME hours to run a part-time city hall (Ms. Janice Daniels, Oakland Press op-ed, May 22, 2011).
-- the same workforce they expect to work miracles and provide all our services with decreasing revenues with no increase in operating millage -- and with fewer people to do all that work!

Troy Citizens United is getting exactly what they asked for...and they STILL aren't happy. Makes one wonder if maybe they should STOP ASKING for things they haven't thought out.

Support the August ballot...SAVE TROY.


  1. Even if the City administration behaved irrationally and met every delusionary demand that TCU wanted, they would still complain. When Assistant City Manager John Lamerato leaves, this translates to 30+ years of expert financial experience.. and he CANNOT be replaced. They can fill the position.. but there is no replacing Mr. Lamerato. I for one, am extremely sad to see him go.

  2. Along with John, the City is losing its city clerk, well-known and well-respected statewide; has lost the Assistant City Clerk to Independence Township; and one of the top aides in the department was just hired as City Clerk in Berkley. What a huge loss of institutional memory and expertise.

  3. This reminds me of the story of someone wanting to live forever. His wish is granted by an unsavory source. In the end, this someone regrets making the pact. All of his loved ones die and everything changes around him. He wishes he could take back his pact with the unsavory source. Unfortunately it is too late. TCU, have you heard of this story? You are the main character in this script, for sure. I do not know nor want to know who the unsavory source is. Then again, maybe we all need to know.

  4. Or we could simply look at this new chapter with optimism and excitement. Apparently no one here has hit that age where you've been bumped from a position to allow younger brighter faster folks to take over with their new insights and optimism. The story about losing legacy is only half of the picture. Glass half full folks.

  5. A valid point, Anon...but definitely more helpful if it isn't all at the same time. There's a lot to be said for knowledge of the culture of the city, experience and legacy.