- John Szerlag saying that maybe when the entire city staff is down to 40 people they can move "City Hall" into the Community Center -- Whoa! -- Still want to claim they're not trying?
- Compensation packages in Troy are not Cadillac -- they are perfectly typical.
- Janice Daniels is unwise (wink). Did she tell Mr. Rapp that he should have considered the Constitution in his analysis of Troy's organizational structure? Is there anything she DOES understand?
Monday, January 31, 2011
Do we really WANT to have a skeletal city government and nonexistent services?
Do I really need my taxes and services to continue their free fall?
I moved here for the services, ironically. I don't mind paying a few bucks to save some of these things.
What's good for rich folks like Bob Gosselin is not necessarily good for ordinary folks like me.
January 31, 2011
Report says Troy should shrink its staffs to cut costs
By TAMMY STABLES BATTAGLIA
Detroit Free Press Staff Writer
Troy officials should condense departments, cross-train employees and shrink the city's government, according to a report expected to be presented to Troy City Council tonight.
"The City of Troy is a very well-run city; that may enlighten some people," City Manager John Szerlag said when asked about the report's findings Friday. "That's what I thought jumped out at me the most."
Touted as an independent review, the 160-page analysis was compiled by three consultants from the International City-Council Management Association (ICMA), along with two consultants from the Center for State and Local Government Excellence and the International Municipal Lawyers Association.
Other findings include:
• "The city's efforts to outsource and privatize services, such as building inspections and the golf courses, mirrors the leading practices found across the nation, and the privatization review process is well-designed."
• "Salaries and current benefits are comparable to similarly sized Michigan cities, and measures to contain these costs are leading-edge practices."
• "The city's actions to address the cost of employee benefits ... place it among local government leaders in managing these costs."
• "Most departments and functions are at or nearing the limit of their ability to 'do more with less.' "
• "The proposed plan(s) for addressing declining revenues balances the budget, but the decisions and detailed implications have not been fully acknowledged or embraced by staff."
The special council meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the council boardroom, a small conference room off council chambers.
read the entire article here
Sunday, January 30, 2011
There is no mention of time for public comment on the agenda. Below is the entire agenda.
Current City Council Meeting Agenda
January 31, 2011 City Council Meeting - Special Meeting
Call to Order
A-01 Call to Order
B-01 Roll Call
Certificates of Recognition and Special Presentations
C-01 ICMA Report Backup Material
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Tea Partier Who Ran on Tax Revolt Line Causes Massive Local Budget Crisis; Situation a "Black Eye for the Tea Party"
The home energy tax cost households on average $7.27 each month — a fraction of most tax bills. But in an area already paying some of the highest taxes in the country, it took on symbolic importance. [...][Mangano's] struggle began almost the minute he repealed the energy tax. “I’m not sure that (Mangano) understood the magnitude of the fiscal problems that he faced and he had promises from the campaign that he had to keep,” said Lawrence Levy, a dean at Hofstra University and a former member of the editorial board at Long Island daily Newsday. Eliminating the energy tax “blew a bigger hole in his budget and added to the problem with really no plan to replace the revenue,” he said.Within two working days of Mangano’s inauguration, a letter from [the Nassau County Interim Financial Authority] landed on his desk — the opening salvo of what would fast become a testy relationship. In a two-page letter, NIFA’s chairman Ronald Stack requested a revised multi-year plan and asked Mangano how he planned to make up for the lost revenue.He never did provide an answer that satisfied them. On Wednesday, NIFA said the county’s $2.6 billion budget was out of balance by $176 million, meaning it could take control of its finances. Mangano said he would sue NIFA….In November, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the county and put its finances on outlook negative, citing weak liquidity and an over-reliance on nonrecurring revenues. The rating agency singled out the energy tax repeal as problematic.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Please come to the meeting and educate yourself.
Don't rely on the "creative interpreters' to explain the report in their mailers.
Go here to see the agenda and click on "Back Up Material" to read the ICMA Report.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Anonymous: It's all a very interesting read, but does nothing about the immediate pending situation , library closure... tic toc ... (and anticipating criticism for the 'tic toc' comment, look to the right of your page here, and see the countdown clock you put there) ...
Sharon: I am very mindful of the tick tock. Problem is, as I and many people see it, our Plan B went down in November. Last May we saw Proposal 1 as the last ditch-effort to save the library because of the timing.
You see, I understand that there IS NO money for the library and thus it will close. And some silly Kempen petition will just force the city to open a joke of a library.
The problem in Troy is so much bigger than just the library. The library is the tip of the iceberg.
If the 2008 millage cap had not happened, we never would have noticed a thing. Council would have temporarily raised the millage to pay for what we want and need, as dozens of other councils had done in the past. Our revenue is shrinking by the millions each of the next few years. They just learned that they would lose an extra $700k.
Now we have to vote our own tax increases, which the good people of Troy might consider doing if they didn't have all of these liars disinforming them about what is going on.
Revenue is the city's tax income. We pay for what we get. My taxes went down. I was willing to pay a small percentage of my decline to keep the library. But no. Greed prevailed.
All I can think to do is to make Troy residents understand that we WON'T have a library because Troy politicians like GLENN CLARK LIE TO WIN--and they apparently don't care about the results of their efforts. They only care about the little check they put in the win column.
And do you believe, as Ms. Daniels said, that people don't care about whether we have a library when they move to a city? That is nonsense and proves she doesn't even know her OWN business. These are dangerous people who have too much media attention and are getting out ridiculous distorted messages that HURT Troy.
Tick tock. I wish the alarm would ring on this clock, because if people don't wake up soon Troy is going to be a great town that used to be.
The uninformed middle in Troy needs to wake up and see that our last two elections were filled with lies and manipulations.
Until people educate themselves about the facts and stop relying on people like TCU/Gosselin/Clark/Kempen/Daniels and Howrylak for "facts" we cannot save Troy.
One example. All of the above say we have the highest taxes in the area. That is a lie. Our tax rate is one of the lowest. So they compare dollar amounts which is misleading because our houses are worth more.
Why lie so much? If your motives are good, why always lie and cheat? Why manipulate Troy voters? Why?
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
They tell me I should be nicer.
They say I should find common ground.
What on earth is wrong with me?
Here is my reply...
Find common ground? Find common ground? How would we do that? Is that what Janice Daniels does when she drips with nasty sarcasm at the city council microphone and informs Troy Republicans that they are the “wrong kind” of Republican and must change to be just like her?
Have any of these people apologized for their bad deeds? No. Have ANY of their political friends who benefit from their bad deeds (e.g., Howrylak) disavowed them? No.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
If Troy residents aren't mad yet, they will be after reading this! Meet Glenn Clark--Troy’s dirty politician
In the Jan. 24, 2011 Oakland Press – by Chad Selweski.
“In a rare move, former state Rep. Kim Meltzer has admitted in writing that her campaign lied about the legislative record of an opponent, Leon Drolet, during the hotly contested 2010 state Senate campaign in north Macomb’s 11th District.”
“Among the many pieces of nasty literature that blanketed the district were fliers from Meltzer’s camp that falsely claimed that while in the House Drolet had introduced legislation to legalize gay sex in public places. Meltzer said on Monday that she was unaware of the content of the flier and did not approve it ahead of time.”
“A piece of campaign literature distributed by the Meltzer for state Senate campaign contained statements about Leon Drolet’s legislative record that are not true and were unapproved by state Rep. Kim Meltzer.
The campaign literature falsely stated that ‘Drolet co-sponsored a bill that would have allowed sexual acts between homosexuals in public places, public parks and public restrooms — exposing our children to that filth.’
“In fact, Leon Drolet did not introduce or support legislation that would allow such acts or homosexual gross indecency in public places, as was inaccurately stated in the campaign literature. False statements contained in the campaign literature were not approved by state Rep. Kim Meltzer. A countywide apology to both Leon Drolet and the residents in the 11th District was submitted and printed in a local paper dated Aug. 12, 2010. All matters pertaining to this issue are hereby fully resolved with any and all financial settlements undisclosed.”And who was the filthy politician in the story?
Drolet issued one parting shot, blaming the incident on McCarthy-like tactics by Meltzer’s campaign manager, Glenn Clark, a longtime figure in Macomb and Oakland counties’ GOP politics.
“I’m glad Kim and I amicably resolved this matter, and I believe she didn’t approve spreading lies,” said Drolet, who also served on the Macomb County Board of Commissioners. “Meltzer’s campaign consultant, Glenn Clark, has a long history of specializing in reckless, gay-oriented smears (and) ... his obsession with persecuting gay people has come to define him.”Is it any wonder Troy residents are afraid to come forward and fight for what's right and run for office in Troy, with dirty politicians such as Clark lurking about?
Anyone looking for a laugh watching the Troy City Council Meetings is probably left feeling as I do. It seems the though nearly the entire process has been lowered to the realm of a campy cable channel comedy.
And the head prankster? Mr. Martin Howrylak. I am left staring in amused bewilderment at every comment that boy makes on every single motion brought forth to the council. I am in AWE of the patience shown to him by the other professionals on council, in administration, and by our city attorney.
Week after week, Mr. Howrylak stammers his request to speak and brings forth an issue that has obviously been discussed by council in either public forum or (appropriate and legal) closed session. Week after week, he attempts to embarrass and defraud the council members and the process. Week after week, his weary and yet still very patient colleagues are forced to clarify ONCE AGAIN how what they’ve done or are considering doing is prudent, appropriate, reasonable and legal.
Week after week, like a child who doesn’t like the answer he hears from one parent, Mr. Howrylak tries to appeal to the other. He whines, they clarify, he rebuts with a petulant retort. And then the thrilling vote on whatever issue it is at hand – usually a slam-dunk and clearly beneficial issue. I can hardly believe when (gasp) the only detractor is (again) Mr. Howrylak.
Insert eye roll and heavy sigh.
It’s time to give Mr. Howrylak the same treatment a child in our home would receive for such behavior. He is clearly in need of a time-out, and I am quite sure he will receive one in November.
Martin Howrylak for Mayor? That’s one comedy I won’t watch. And I hope you won’t, either.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Really? But, apparently that judge does indeed have the authority and our city attorney does NOT have the authority to tell an Oakland County Circuit Court judge what to do.
Is this person really going to run for office in Troy?
That's simply more TCU smoke and mirrors. And frankly, it's getting a little boring.
A judge approved the extension of the Kempen Petition decision (or Kemper, as Tom Burke kept saying), so the city did not violate the Troy City Charter.
If Mr. Kempen had so much time to play games with our library's fate last summer and fall (after all, his deceitful petition was from the "Friends of the Troy Public Library with No New Taxes," another example of how Mr. Kempen defrauded those who signed it believing it was from the REAL Friends of TPL) he probably has lots of time now to continue to fight for his meaningless petition that helped destroy Troy's best chance of saving the library.
My answer to the faux horror of Daniels and Burke?
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Cathleen Russ has contacted Library Systems & Services, Inc. (LSSI), a library management company, regarding outsourcing library services and staff. LSSI typically looks at three areas when analyzing possible cost savings: technology, materials, and staff. George Bateman, Vice President of LSSI, recommends that the City Council decide what level of service it wants the library to provide, if any, and then bid the job accordingly, at which point LSSI would respond to an request for proposal (RFP).
Cathleen Russ is exploring the possibility of the library operating as a private, non-profit 501 (c ) 3 organization. Preliminary results indicate that such an organization would not be sustainable. A legal opinion is also necessary to clarify some issues, such as use of city assets by this organization.
John Szerlag and Cathleen Russ contacted the City of Birmingham regarding sharing a library director, when the Baldwin Public Library directorship was vacant. John Lamerato and Cathleen Russ contacted the City of Royal Oak regarding sharing a library director, when the Royal Oak Library directorship was vacant. Neither community was interested in a shared directorship for its library.Cathleen Russ has contacted library directors in communities that border Troy, to see if any of those communities were interested in forming a district library. Forming a district library requires a vote of the people in all participating communities. It also requires a funding commitment, usually in the form of a dedicated millage. No communities were interested in forming a district library with Troy.
From a memo for the Jan. 24, 2011 city council meeting:
Date: January 21, 2011
To: The Honorable Mayor and City Council Members
From: John Szerlag, City Manager
Subject: Library Update
Council Member McGinnis and I were talking about comments both of us have received over the past several months from concerned residents and business owners about cost saving measures for the Troy Public Library. Ms. McGinnis thought it would be a good idea to advise Council and the community what cost saving measures Troy has accomplished or attempted relative to this issue. I also think it’s a great idea and attached you will find an update on this matter.
Please know that our largest cost saving measure to date has been going from a full-service library open seven days per week with a total budget of $4.5 million to one that is now open six days a week with reduced personnel, programs, materials and services having a budget of $2.7 million.
It gets a little dull to go to the city council meetings and continuously hear Janice Daniels, Tom Burke and the supporting cast claim that the city is doing nothing to bring down costs. And why not? Ms. Daniels has told us she doesn't care how children feel about losing the library, that people considering moving to Troy don't care about whether Troy has a library and is "blame labor first" in mentality. She really just doesn't get it.
The city, in truth, has worked diligently to cut costs over the past few years. Further evidence will be presented at tomorrow's meeting--Item N-8.
To: Honorable Mayor and Troy City Council
From: John Szerlag, City Manager
John M. Lamerato, Assistant City Manager/Finance and Administration
Mark F. Miller, Acting Assistant City Manager/Economic Development Services
Peggy E. Sears, Human Resources Director
Subject: Update on Employee Concessions – Classified and Exempt Employees
In order to address the current budget situation, City Council directed that City management pursue a 10% cost savings from each employee group. This 10% is calculated on payroll costs which include base pay, pension, workers compensation and FICA. On November 22, 2010, City Council ratified a contract extension for the Troy Fire Staff Officers Association (TFSOA) that achieved these cost savings.
Consistent with the direction of City Council, we have met with the Classified and Exempt employees to discuss further concessions beyond the furlough days that had been implemented. (Since February, 2010, the Classified and Exempt employees have been contributing furlough days which represent a 5% savings.) These meetings resulted in achieving a 10% reduction in payroll costs, approximately $919,000. This cost savings is comprised of a combination of furlough days and pay reductions, as well as the same changes to health insurance that were agreed to by the TFSOA.
We have now met our objective with three employee groups representing 32% of our full-time workforce.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
What could go wrong?
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
|Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Main St. Anytown U.S.A.|
Monday, January 17, 2011
Troy Citizens United lied, cheated and misrepresented facts on their way to a victory over saving our library last November. And now?
They're upset because the city sent the Kempen Initiative off to a judge before acting further on it. As I've written, if you read the Kempen initiative, it said nothing. A one-sentence bit of nonsense that says the city must keep open a library. What was the poorly researched, written and planned sentence?
"In order to assure access to quality local library service, the City of Troy shall operate and maintain a public library open to the public for not less than 55 hours each week."I asked a gentleman who was holding this petition why the petition was impossibly vague, nonbinding and didn't mention funding and didn't even mention the library by name -- it says "a library" not the library at this address or the Troy Public Library. He said, "Well, you can't make it idiot proof." Nope, not when an idiot apparently wrote it.
I think the city IS acting in good faith. They could easily open a broom closet at the community center and put 10 books at it and say Voila - a library!
A full-service library is another question. With what money? Shall we cut employee salaries or benefits and be sued by the State of Michigan? I know, they want to dump our cops and outsource to the Oakland County Sheriff, right? Remember the joke that this petition promised to Keep Our Library with No New Taxes, then the Monday after the election Howrylak told the Free Press he wouldn't be "adverse" [sic] to considering a half-mill increase.
Where's the money, Howrylak and Kempen? Don't be so sly. You must know. You keep saying it's there. Then where?
In the piece Deb DeBacker says "we would like to save the library." Yet her organization put those 3 fake proposals on the ballot to kill Proposal 1. They don't want to save the library, they want toy with it.
Howylak, the TCU darling lied and said we would have to buy all new books and computers and a building. If they cared about saving the library, they would have supported the only proposal that WOULD have saved the library.
What also amazes me is that whenever TCU so much as sneezes, The Oakland Press runs out to cover it! And look, TCU always gets the last word.
Get your tissues ready for this Oakland Press piece. Those poor victims at the TCU - boo hoo hoo
Troy Citizens United: City violated charter with library petition
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Monday, January 10, 2011
My heart goes out to the victims of the shooting in Tucson. And I pray that perhaps this will serve as a turning point in the tone and tenor of our collective political discussion. There is no question in my mind that the anti-government vitriol we seem to be accepting as a norm can provoke the unstable among us to violence. May God protect all of our public servants and those who surround and support them.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Councilman Martin Howrylak said that he could save it. Now he has no plan and points fingers every which way.
He wrote in the letter below, "It takes the vision and leadership of a hardworking city council and city manager to make tough budgetary decisions to ensure the continued operation of all functions of the city. It is what we have been elected to do."
Yet, when I ask his army of defenders why he's not spending every spare minute (and I believe he has quite a few to spare) finding the money he assures folks the city has for the library (how does he know if HE can't find it?), his defenders say, "Boo hoo, he is at the city manager's mercy and can't do a single thing on his own."
Then I ask, why do people believe in Martin Howrylak?
- He can't think outside the box.
- He can't make good on his promises.
- He has no ideas.
- He has no plans.
- He isn't scouring the books and bringing up brilliant ideas.
- He isn't showing us where the money is he claims exists.
- He can't save the library.
- We will have no library in 112 days.
- He lied.
And at Monday's council meeting, when he says those big bad council people are all to blame, remember the lies in this letter he sent out (below) a week before the election over Proposal 1, which would have saved the library. He claimed that the one-sentence Kempen Initiative, which was not worth the paper on which it was printed, was a great plan.
He was wrong.
In 112 days, I say we put a sign on our former library -
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
A friend from another city told me she heard at a Troy organization's meeting yesterday that the library will sell off all its assets before closing its doors at the end of April.
The official plan is to shut down the library carefully so that in the event it is saved it won't be difficult to open up for business once again. They plan to keep the books on the shelves temporarily with the hopes that some intelligent folks will find a way to save our library...SOON.
Also, the Friends of the TPL will NOT be having a fire sale to rid themselves of all the assets that have been donated to them over the years.
It sounds like they'll all be in stand-by mode waiting for the THIRD shoe to drop.
If you hear people telling these untruths, tell them it's not so! Please.
We can still save the library!