Sunday, April 22, 2012

C&G: Top city staffers’ wages less than other cities

As the Know Nothings (Janice Daniels, Tietz and Dave Henderson)) continue to look for money wasters under every cabbage leaf, the results of their years-long fight against Troy is resulting in a lot of problems.
One is the drain brain I have already discussed. The Troy Times did a story on it.
Not only is it a huge problem because we have lost so many good people with a cumulative dozens of years institutional knowledge of Troy management, the other problem is, we can't replace those people with quality employees.
Our wages are now low and prospective employees know that we have political leaders in Troy who pride themselves on being ignorant about city management issues. Who the hell would want to work for someone like Dave Henderson or Janice Daniels????
As Henderson makes up nonsense about what printer gets to print Troy Today (oh, the people who want the city to run like a business, now want it to run like a municipal welfare agency -- huh?), Troy is in deep, deep trouble.

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April 18, 2012
Top city staffers’ wages less than other cities
By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer

The top spot in Troy may be a tough sell, salary-wise, based on a report from the city’s Human Resources Department that states top management salaries in the city are 7 percent below average.

According to the city’s website, Troy City Manager John Szerlag’s total compensation and benefits are $159,917 a year, not including a pension he earned from his earlier tenure with the city.

His new salary as city manager in Cape Coral, Fla., is reportedly $160,000, with a moving allowance, an 18-month housing allowance, a monthly car allowance and $6,000 yearly for medical expenses.

Troy Human Resources Director Peggy Sears presented a report to the City Council at its April 2 meeting that compared how pay and benefits for Troy city employees stack up to other communities.

Sears said Troy salaries and benefits compared very well with other communities and were in many cases lower.

Salaries of Troy’s upper-management staff are 7 percent lower than in comparable communities, Sears said.

Salaries were compared with cities that have populations between 60,000 and 125,000 people.

Salaries in 30 job classifications were found to be comparable.

Sears noted that the International City Management Association organizational restructuring study — presented to the council in February 2011 and showing that Troy city employees were not overpaid when compared with similar cities — was completed before nonunion employees had agreed to more than 10 percent wage concessions that included furlough days, a 1.9 percent reduction in wages, increased contributions to health insurance and reductions in health care benefits.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Something Good in Troy

Something good in Troy

Kudos to the Troy Chamber of Commerce, Non-Profit Network, Walsh College and Flagstar Bank to name a few of the groups that put on an excellent conference today for non-profit organizations at Walsh College in Troy.

It was a chance for non-profits to come and learn about management ideas, fundraising in difficult times and using new technology. Being part of a non-profit organization is very rewarding, but make no mistake, requires hours of dedication and continual growth. In this constricting economy, non-profits are attempting to provide services with fewer dollars, and often to a greater number of people in need.

I hope that the residents of Troy will remember to support, both financially and with their time, the important work that is being done by non-profits that benefit their children (Troy Youth Assistance, Boys and Girls Clubs), seniors (Troy People Concerned, Troy Seniors), and our entire community (Friends of the Troy Public Library, Troy Historical Society, Troy Nature Society). These are just examples of the many wonderful groups working tirelessly in our community. Non-profit organizations impact lives in profound ways and shine a positive light on the resourcefulness and generosity of our city and it’s people.

And that is something Troy could use right now.

Thank you Troy Chamber, Michele Hodges and team, for your efforts to make Troy a great place to work and live. Thank you for assisting non-profit organizations to learn and grow as we strive to help others in our community.

With pride, integrity and purpose we will continue to do so.

Rhonda Hendrickson

President

Friends of the Troy Public Library

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Shaken and Stirred

From Rhonda...

I was at the Troy Public Library today and in the first parking spot closest to the entrance was a white pick-up truck with 2 hand-made signs reading:

“Save your Mayor…our 007”

Huh? The Mayor is our 007? A spy? Secret Agent? Commando? What is the meaning behind that sign?

Perhaps the truck owner feels that the Mayor is his secret agent against evil-doers in Troy. Perhaps he thinks she has infiltrated the city offices to spy and report back to people like him. (I say him because it seems likely.) Perhaps he likes the fact that 007was perceived as a “take no prisoners” type of person.

As I tried to understand what it meant, I decided to look up some information on 007 to see if there was some secret squirrel vision of Britain’s most famous spy.

Of course, when I think of James Bond I think of Sean Connery (not Roger Moore). I think of cool, suave, debonair and all man. So, how does this relate to the Mayor of Troy?

This is how 007’s persona is described by the author Ian Fleming himself, from one of his books and others. Very interesting and a bit telling, really.

“When I wrote the first one in 1953, I wanted Bond to be an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened; I wanted him to be a blunt instrument...when I was casting around for a name for my protagonist I thought by God, [James Bond] is the dullest name I ever heard.”

Ian Fleming, The New Yorker, 21 April 1962

“James Bond lives in a nightmarish world where laws are written at the point of a gun, where coercion and rape are considered valour and murder is a funny trick….Bond's job is to guard the interests of the property class, and he is no better than the youths Hitler boasted he would bring up like wild beasts to be able to kill without thinking.”

Yuri Zhukov, Pravda, 30 September 1965.

Regret was unprofessional—worse, it was a death-watch beetle in the soul.

Goldfinger, Chapter 1: Reflections in a Double Bourbon

His attitude went further, with Bond opining that homosexuals were “a herd of unhappy sexual misfits – barren and full of frustrations, the women wanting to dominate and the men to be nannied", adding that "he was sorry for them, but he had no time for them."

Fleming 2006d, p. 300.

“Welcome to Hell, Blofeld.” I must be dreaming.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bully Pulpit

Oh, Mr. Nick Cherasaro was back at the city council mic.
This time he told the city that Mayor Daniels' detractors are a bunch of bullies, because they bully and intimidate to get their way.
Don't remember who he is?
Here's a video of Nick posted a month ago that shows how demure, kind and un-intimidating this man is...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Transparency in Government

Sometimes I enjoy irony. Sometimes not so much.

In a March 26th Troy Times article Mayor Janice Daniels mentions a March 24 presentation on “transparency in government.”

It turns out she did give a presentation on March 24 at the Michigan Conservative Political Action Conference in Holt, Michigan on the subject of “Transparency in Government.” In fact, this was such important city business, it prevented her from attending a ribbon cutting in Troy scheduled for the same day. (Mayor Pro Tem McGinnis was able to be on hand, though, so the ribbon cutting was able to proceed as scheduled.)

Hmmmmmmm…This must have been a big, darn deal. I wonder what Daniels had to say about the City of Troy? Did she share that this is, in fact, a city with an outstanding reputation in terms of its management and financial reporting? I hope so! I decided to find out.

I emailed the Mayor and the rest of council and asked. Mayor Daniels responded:

“Thank you Mrs. Hodorek for your interest in my representation of the City of Troy. I do not have a copy of that speech however …”

... and she went on to tell me all about her efforts to “develop greater citizen participation in government at the earliest ages.” She also told me about how she was on television. And about her web site. And her office hours. She went on and on about all sorts of initiatives. But nothing about that presentation.

Hmmmmmmm. I read her lengthy response and thought that perhaps I had not made my request clear. I looked over my original email request. Turns out, yes, I was crystal clear. (Yep, you might even say transparent.) My words:

I would appreciate a copy of that presentation. It seems it would have been on the topic of ‘Transparency in Government’ and given at a political event in Holt. I would be interested in seeing how the Mayor represented Troy in this presentation.”

Yep. My request was absolutely translucent it was so darn clear. Her response was … well, it was a classic, political spin, murky “non-response.” The only thing that was transparent about it is the fact that she didn’t want to answer my question, but was certainly happy to provide all sorts of great, unrelated key messages she wanted to be sure I heard.

Wait, I thought to myself. I'm jumping to what may be an unfair conclusion. I'll try again. So, I continued the conversation with an email saying I was pleased she is excited about her many initiatives. And I also said:

“I am disappointed that you have apparently not properly documented/retained a copy of a presentation that reflects upon the City of Troy. An audience of people has been left with an impression and yet there is no record of what you said. Did city staff review these remarks? Did you seek input, vis-a-vis the communication plan for the city? Was your message coordinated from a strategic marketing perspective?

“The proper management of the city's reputation is my concern; it has been since I reached out to you in December. I am now affirmed in my gut feeling that my concern is warranted. And I am left, quite frankly, scratching my head. I caution you to be wise and discerning in your zeal to make a name for yourself. ‘Less is more’ should be your mantra, especially with our staff management in such a vulnerable position.”

She sent a one-line response and thanked me for my “kind support.” But, she didn’t answer my questions.

Hmmmmm. I’ll give her one more chance, I thought, and decided to try a little friendly humor. I sent this back, complete with the smiley face at the end:

“So there will be no transparency about your presentation about Transparency in Government? How ironic! :)”

No response. Apparently, she didn’t appreciate the humor, the smiley … or the irony.

I don’t appreciate the lack of message coordination, fact checking, reputation management, or transparency. And it's crystal clear to me now I should stop expecting it.

Oh, the irony. :(

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

More great comments!

I fear that some of you may not bother to read the comments below the posts, so I will regularly post the best (or most amusing).

From Anonymous:
Mayor Daniels in news all over the place, my in-laws live in Brighton and my mother in law asked me about her, as she and her tennis friends were talking of Mayor Daniels and her inability to be sane.

From Stop the Madness:
I got a phone call from someone in Lansing that mistakenly thought I was in that area to volunteer for something. I told her that I actually lived in Troy and she without hesitation said " oh my, you have to get rid of that awful Mayor." Then she proceeded to give me chapter and verse about all her crazy behavior. So, yes, I would say that I have run into people all over Michigan, someone in Mexico and now Florida that know about our mayors less than stellar reputation. Very embarrassing for my family and our city.

From Concerned Citizen:
It would be helpful to the citizens of Troy to have a "know the players" sheet with info and links about the histories of all the folks putting their hats in the ring. Pryor, DeBacker, Howyrlak, et al. There is lots to know BEFORE people vote this time. No after the fact discoveries that we will regret. On a side note, I think that any candidate that utters any version of a statement calling for small government, or blames lawmakers in Lansing (Republican majority mind you) or disparages public employees, had better openly state that they are not taking a salary as a State Rep or an Oakland county job. Can't have it both ways. Unless of course, you are them.

Deb DeBacker and typical TCU disinformation?

Look at this KTS article from long ago. As usual, we had to spend a lot of time unwinding the typical nonsense and hystrionics in order to let the truth get through.
http://www.keeptroystrong.com/2011/02/this-is-why-troy-is-laughing-stock-of.html

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Deb DeBacker is Running for State Rep!

On the "Troy Citizens United" Facebook page, Barbara Harrell has announced that "TCU supporter DEBORAH DeBACKER is...running for State Rep. in the 41st district..."

We've covered Mrs. DeBacker in the past, reporting that she is not the simple housewife she claims to be.

What is new, however, is Mrs. DeBacker's cleansing of her opinions. Some of her posts at Lew Rockwell have been scrubbed, all to make her seem less radical than she is.

So, for posterity, I'm posting the entirely of Mrs. DeBacker's opinions about children's books, one which she is trying to scrub from the internet.

Read it and you'll understand why Mrs. DeBacker is now trying to hide. She is a radical, determined to use government to dictate what your children should read.

Without further ado, Mrs. DeBacker in her own words:

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Read Your Children's Books by Deborah DeBacker

About now, the parents of elementary children are getting around to reviewing that summer reading list sent home by last year's teacher. Unfortunately, the same lists have come home from just about every public and many parochial elementary schools for the past 20 years. All those great Scholastic, Caldecott and Newberry Award Winners are available at public and school libraries. Parents BEWARE! You might want to watch "Night of the Living Dead" with your kids for some milder entertainment!

The books on this list will negatively influence your child's attitude about life. They are the written version of rap and hip-hop music. The boards who award these Newberry and Scholastic Winners must view children as little adults. The words " age appropriate" are lost on them. The behavior and attitudes resulting from reading these depressing and negative, anti-parental authority books may be just as bad as that resulting from the influence of the today's music and movies.

A book commonly found on such lists is The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson, about a child who describes her foster mother as a "religious fanatic." Here are some sample quotes:

  • "The church didn't fit into the modern world anymore than the people who went there did."
  • "Gilly of course, knew all about adultery…she offered for sale not only the definition of the word but some juicy neighborhood examples. In this way she gained seventy-eight cents in coins previously designated for the church collection plate."
  • "Nobody but a religious fanatic would put up with such gross ignorance for over an hourevery week of their lives-nobody but religious fanatics and the innocent victims they forced togo to church."
  • When discussing life her foster mother says,"Life ain't supposed to be nothin,'ceptmaybe tough…That all that stuff about happy endings is lies. The only ending in this world is death."
  • "Dammit, Trotter. Don't try to make a stinking Christian out of me."" Go to hell Trotter."
Ms. Paterson's books are not an isolated example. Much of the new literature for children today, involves uncaring parents. In the book, Maniac Magee, (Young Readers Choice Award, 1993), the main character, a young boy, lives with an aunt and uncle who have a bad marriage but will not get divorced because they are Catholic. Magee runs away, lives with, and finds happiness with various homeless people. It is reckless to tell a 10-year-old he will be safe on the streets.

Most recent children's books are about tragedies that befall the young characters. Ms. Paterson's book, bridge to Terabithia (Newberry 1978), is about the agonizing of a young boy who blames himself for his friend's death. The samples included in this article are not isolated incidents. Other children's authors write about subjects such as sole survivors of plane crashes in the wilderness and endless tales of the occult.

All those parents who do not want to talk to their children about the horrors of abortion and euthanasia better think twice before they suggest The Giver by Louis Lowery, (Newberry 1994) for summer reading. A combination of Brave New World/1984 is far above a twelve-year-old's understanding. Handicapped babies, low birth weight twins, and the elderly are "released," from this world, by injection to a mystical "ELSEWHERE." Overpopulation was no problem since new babies are limited to fifty a year, with everyone taking pills to stop sexual arousal!

These are just a few of the numerous worrisome aspects of this book. If your child has already read this book, I suggest a serious discussion to assure their understanding of right and wrong.

Parents, do you want your child exposed to this language and these ideas of intolerance and defiance? Do you want your children reading the same negative ideas produced by rap and hip-hop music? Should schools use their authority to promote this type of literature? My answers are all NO! Based on young children's limited understanding of reality you can be sure they will remember the most startling passages, i.e. baby killing, the agony and guilt of causing a young friends death, or using inappropriate language. My teens are tired of hearing me say "familiarity breeds acceptance," but they know its true.

Understand that there is nothing uplifting about today's children's literature. Instead, it is filled with anti-parent propaganda, and anti-religious views. These books present our children with overwhelming and overabundant psychological horrors at too young an age. They present political and cultural ideas long before children are ready to understand or cope with terrible dilemnas. Their depressing agendas are one more reason that our children might turn to drugs or commit suicide. No wonder "Whatever" is a common slogan and attitude!

Parents please read your children's books. And if you must chose from the list, choose those written prior to 1965. Take the time to find good literature for your children. And tell the teacher when you do not like a book on her lists.


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As you can see, Mrs. DeBacker is a authoritarian zealot, sensitive to negative portrayals of religious fanatics.

Maybe because she is one.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Recall signatures are easy to get

For months I've been very nervous about asking the woman who sits across the office from me at work how she feels about Mayor Daniels. I knew she lived in Troy. I knew she was smart.
Would she be annoyed if I brought it up?
I gently mentioned the mayor yesterday and sure enough, she thinks she is an "idiot," is bad for Troy and she was thrilled to sign the recall petition and got her husband to sign it, too!
Yay!
Today, I got out of my car at Nino Salvaggio's with my girls in tow and decided to take the petition clipboard with me. Before I took three steps from my car, a lovely lady screamed out, as if it was Christmas, that if I was holding a petition, she would love to sign it and so would her husband. And they did.
Then she told me she has a whole group of friends who could get together and invite me over for a little petition signing extravaganza.
Yay!
So I just want you all to know--this recall is not about a small group of people who want her out.
There is a huge groundswell of Troy voters who want the embarrassment to end as soon as possible.
And they are signing the petition.
Oh, and they wanted bumper stickers, too!
If anyone of you readers want to sign the petition, write me at keeptroystrong@gmail.com.
We'll make sure you don't miss the opportunity to sign it.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Freep: Effort to recall Troy Mayor Janice Daniels is off to a fast start

Great article tells the whole JD tale...
Effort to recall Troy Mayor Janice Daniels is off to a fast start 
By Megha Satyanarayana 
Detroit Free Press Staff WriterClipboard in hand, Troy mom Jen Hilzinger began knocking on doors near Wattles Road and Coolidge Highway. 
Dave Plancon answered, and Hilzinger started to explain that she was with the recall effort against Mayor Janice Daniels.Before she could finish her spiel, Plancon had taken the clipboard and started signing. 
"I don't like the way things have been handled," Plancon said of Daniels.The signature-gathering phase of the Daniels recall effort is only a few days old, and organizers said they have amassed nearly 20% of the 8,000 signatures they need to put the measure on the November ballot. Volunteers have been canvassing neighborhoods and camping out at the library and community center in an effort to oust the mayor, whose four-month tenure has put the quiet, diverse community into national headlines. 
The spotlight on Troy has also spawned recall petitions against City Council members and has led to the city manager possibly leaving for a job in Florida.Daniels -- the tea party-backed candidate who became mayor by 600 votes in an election with a 27% voter turnout -- has stared down criticism for her personal and political views on everything from homosexuality to public transportation.After being elected, word spread that Daniels used a gay slur on her Facebook page before the election, and then, during an effort to smooth things over with members of a gay-straight student alliance, referred to homosexuality as dangerous. 
In public meetings about a hotly contested transit center, which narrowly passed after two votes, a speaker Daniels brought in made references to Chinese government that some Asian Americans found offensive.Daniels created a website, www.janicetroymayor.com, where she asks for funds to fight the recall, and, in a recorded message, asks for patience as she adjusts to the job. 
"I was elected by the majority of the voters in Troy to address fiscal transparency and integrity in budgeting," she wrote on her website regarding the recall effort. "I ask each of you to join me in our effort to help unite us to create a better place to live, work and play. Please donate today to help me fight this recall effort." 
To her supporters, the mayor is still a hero of tea party politics. She has stuck to her guns in shooting down spending, they said. She need not apologize to groups she may have offended because she has done nothing wrong, they said. 
"Right now, she's doing a good job," said Nicholas Cherasaro, a Troy resident who is trying to recall three City Council members who voted in favor of a multimillion-dollar transit center that would serve as a bus and train hub at the Birmingham-Troy border. Cherasaro represents the Committee for the Recall of Tax Wasters. The group's petitions were approved Wednesday. Efforts to gather signatures have not begun. 
-snip- 
The Troy Chamber of Commerce said its officials agreed to pay an estimated $30,000 in yearly maintenance. 
Michelle Hodges, president of the chamber, said since the flap over the transit center, she has heard from businesses in Troy that said they want to do business elsewhere. Though unable to immediately put a dollar amount on money lost from the city's struggles, she said anything that affects the city's appeal is her concern. 
"We have to maintain an investment-worthy community," she said. 
And although a compromise has been reached on the transit center, Daniels' hard line may have cost the city city manager John Szerlag. In early January, Daniels publicly accused Szerlag, who came out of retirement to run the city in 2009, of not providing her accurate financial information and for opening mail addressed to the mayor. 
Szerlag said Daniels had damaged his reputation. Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson came to Szerlag's defense.Several days ago, the City of Cape Coral, Fla., announced that it offered Szerlag a job running its city. Szerlag did not return calls seeking comment.
Read more here.

Gathering signatures for the recall (video)

Well, I went to the library today to help gather signatures for the Recall Janice Daniels petition.
Dozens of people came out just to find us and sign the petition and then got back in their cars to leave.
Even as I saw at least five new people I had never met who were helping the effort, there was a small crew of Janice Daniels' supporters demonstrating against us -- the usual suspects.
Surprising to me, though, was that they were handing out Janice Daniels' recent letter in which she takes credit for many things she did not do.
That letter was discussed in detail in this week's Troy Times. Former Troy mayor Louise Schilling explains how the majority of actions Daniels seems to take credit for in the letter were actually completed long before Daniels took office. Ironically, Daniels apologist Ray Watts was quoted in the article saying that Daniels was not taking credit for those measures: "Resident Ray Watts said 'I don’t see the word ‘I,’ but it’s ‘we’ and ‘our,’' during public comment at the March 19 council meeting. 'You’re not taking credit that I can tell for these things; it’s for the past several months, and it reaches back to the previous council as well.'
Why is that ironic?
Today, in front of the library, Watts was handing out that same letter, telling people those were Daniels' accomplishments. Ha! Which way is it, Ray???
They simply can.not.tell.the.truth.
Fellow Daniels apologist Nick Cherasero was handing out the same letter, plus standing in the spot where drivers let passengers out of their cars and snarling at every person that we have Janice to thank for the library being open on Saturdays.
While it is true that she pushed toward opening the library on Saturdays, (the library is now closed on Fridays), I and many of the people who signed the petition knew that if Janice Daniels had her way, the library would be completely shut down!
And, if she hadn't fought so viciously AGAINST Proposal 1 in 2010, we would today have a seven-day-per-week library with full funding guaranteed for the next 10 years (at 0.9885 mills).
Surprise surprise -- Janice and her buddies want to have it both ways. She was against the library before she was for it, I guess.
Don't want to take MY word for it? Watch this video. She even makes fun of the children who begged to save the library.