Thursday, February 12, 2009

Don't Take the Cut!

A retroactive 8% pay cut is RIDICULOUS and in my opinion the city employees should not stand for this. An 8% retroactive pay cut amounts to an over 20% pay cut for the remainder of the year. Can the mayor even allow retroactive pay cuts....this can't be legal and I will be researching it (on that note, has anyone else heard that arthur frank quit? still needs verification but he has been missing lately).

If pay cuts are needed as a result of recent cuts to local state aid why are the pay cuts retroactive...weren't the local aid cuts just made and not retroactive?

The budget needs to be scrutinized with a particular emphasis on the Mayor's staff and spending. Let's start at the top.


Tom Paine said...

For once it would be nice to have Correia come up with some type of idea to help the city. Maybe raise revenue in a different way. But I believe that is too much to ask of an old politician like him. He has no ideas, no clue on how to treat people. Nothing.

Anonymous said...

Where is the free cash the Mayor should have had certified by this time? Asking these city employees to take this cut without the knowledge of where this year's or last year free cash account stands is ridiculous. Cuts need to made from the top down.

shamrock said...

I'm not sure if they are exactly the same thing but according to the Mayor's answer (which sounded like he was either generally confused or shocked that Ric would ask such a question) interview with Ric Oliviera on Tues morning, "cash reserves? there are no cash reserves."

shamrock said...

One more thing - how did Bob spend the 10 million that was left in cash reserves when Lambert left office.

Anonymous said...

over on fallrivertalks watchinu has an investigation into the karams business dealing going on and atty frank was metnioned as signing some of their annual reports etc a few year ago and they insinuated he may have to recluse himself in some city dealings, another chappy if you will.

Tom Paine said...

That is correct about the $10million. Lambert even wrote an editorial about the $10million saying that part of it could be used for the Watuppa Heights project.

I guess Correia went through the entire $10million.

You now can see why I am worried about that Watuppa Heights project. The city is on the hook for it and how are we going to pay for it. They have dragged their feet on the issue and I am afraid we will be in federal court someday.

Anonymous said...

Okay in follwing up on Shamrock's comments on Ric's interview. I tried using the Herald News serach for budget stories but well using the HN search is well useless but using alta vista I found this gem which talks about the free cash account and how councilors were crying foul last Spring.

Here is a outtake from the story:
"In an op-ed letter that ran in the Fall River Herald dated August 16, 2007, former Mayor Edward M. Lambert, Jr., referring to the demolition of the Watuppa Heights, stated the city "has more than enough money available in the presence of more than $10 million in unreserved cash balances that this administration is passing on to the next mayor, that could be used for one-time capital investments."
Currently the city classifies the referred "unreserved cash" as "free cash," which is "unused monies left over from the last fiscal budget," according to the city administration.
According to former Mayor Lambert, the final number ended up to be $11 million of free cash, certified in December by the state.
"Approximately $8 million were available for the general budget and $3 million for water and sewer projects," said Lambert. "But it wouldn't be wise to say that we have more than $10 million free cash and use it all in one budget year because it would create a significant budgetary structural problem for next year."
Mayor Correia further explained why using "free cash" is limiting.
"Because a deficit is a recurring expense, versus a one time expense, the City cannot use this free cash to make up for the deficit," said Mayor Correia through a prepared statement. "That is why free cash cannot be built into the budget. A city's operating budget means you need the money appropriated for the budget this year, next year, and so forth."
"If the City were to build this money into the budget this year, next year it would be in the same predicament it finds itself in now," he added.
"Free cash" funds are used on an "as needed basis," according to the city's administration.
In the past, the city has tapped into these funds to replace a Department of Public Works vehicle or to purchase a climate control system for the building generator to prevent loss of power to the server at the Managed Information Systems Department.
The city currently has used $1,811,343.00 in "free cash," and has $6,476,745.00 left in that fund, according to information provided by InĂªs Leite, spokesperson for the city's administration.
The rate that the city's administration is using the free cash has been noticed by some city councilors.
"We try to plug that money for one time expenses, but he has been blowing through it since he has been in office," said City Council Vice President Leo O. Pelletier. "We have bought a car, spent $450,000 in snow removal and $110,000 in a new tar machine. It's a million for this and a million for that. Every week, he is coming up with transfers."

So there you have it. It would be nice is Ric could collow up with the mayor the next time he has him on... or isn't that one of the issues, the mayor does not like to go on Ric's show because well...

Funny how he told Ric on the air that there was no free cash account yet, here one is. i am not so sure Bob was the only person surprised. Perhaps Ric was surprised that Bob would lie to him since it was his own paper which pointed out the free cash issue last Spring.
I think it is fair to saw as someone has said before, it is not only what Ric says that you must listen for but also what he does not say.
And speaking of Ric and this whole joe CAMERA mess.
Can you imagine Bill Whitty sneaking around trying to disrupt an interview between a councilor and a reporter. I think that Ric should not have apologized to Joe and probably did it to take the high road while Joe is obviously super immature.
I think Ric shouldn't have done it.

just anonymous said...

Pay cuts have hit many in the private sector and have hit my family.

Initially, I was thinking that a pay cut might be the only way to go... However, NOW... finding out that it is meant to be retro-active, I agree with Shamrock. Don't fall for this!

Tom Paine said...

Yep, that is the editorial.

Now think about this, Correia signed an agreement with the state to spend at least $4million, and recently the council did an agreement to spend up to $4million.

All this on Watuppa Heights.

I ask you these questions:

1. Where are we getting $4million???

2. Before our leaders voted on the Watuppa Heights project did they even think about who would pay for the project?

3. The amazing thing is that the bill was passed in 2002 on the state level. 7 years later the damn project is still standing. Why is it taking so long if there was a plan???

Anonymous said...

I believe the free cash has been divided up into stabilization accounts for individual accounts. We need a breakdown of all assets and revenues to date before we start asking people to take pay cuts or layoffs. The city council needs to get proactive and get the answers the public deserves.

Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...

I want an audit!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

anon 18:08
What free lunch? I believe these employees work for their paychecks.
This type of economic downturn always results in simplistic finger pointing. Everyone resents everyone else.

Anonymous said...

The $4 Million for Watuppa Heights is coming from CDA funds.

According to the state, Free cash is not the same as reserve funds.

From the state's revenue dpt page:

Free Cash


Remaining, unrestricted funds from operations of the previous fiscal year including unexpended free cash from the previous year, actual receipts in excess of revenue estimates shown on the tax recapitulation sheet, and unspent amounts in budget line-items. Unpaid property taxes and certain deficits reduce the amount that can be certified as free cash. The calculation of free cash is based on the balance sheet as of June 30, which is submitted by the community's auditor, accountant, or comptroller. Important: free cash is not available for appropriation until certified by the Director of Accounts. (See Available Funds)

Reserve Fund


An amount set aside annually within the budget of a city (not to exceed 3 percent of the tax levy for the preceding year) or town (not to exceed 5 percent of the tax levy for the preceding year) to provide a funding source for extraordinary or unforeseen expenditures. In a town, the finance committee can authorize transfers from this fund for "extraordinary or unforeseen" expenditures. Other uses of the fund require budgetary transfers by town meeting. In a city, transfers from this fund may be voted by the city council upon recommendation of the mayor.

Tom Paine said...

$4million from CDA? From what I understand that is CDA yearly budget.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. So? The costs would be spread out over a few years. Big deal.

Tom Paine said...

Ah, so money normally coming into the city to help with redevelopment of business, the elderly, etc will now be deverted to Watuppa Heights. That is just great.

And by the way, do you have that info in writing, I would love to see it. And I do mean a contract.

Anonymous said...

That would be why the mayor was so intent on saving cda money to pay librarians and help the homeless.

He then made a "out of pocket" donation of $500 to the new years in the neighborhood . Only problem is he took it out of his
campaign fund ie the pocket of the city workers that are intimidated into a donatiopn in fear of losing their jobs.

We don;t need an audit it will add up in the end!

reality check said...

Didn't the city council give the mayor 1.2 million to hire people to get the city's finances in order. Why is it then, that when the unions ask to see figures on the city's financial situation, the city tells them that the information requested is not available yet. Are we getting our 1.2 million dollars worth? If the city doesn't have the numbers, how can they ask the unions to give back a quarter of their paycheck.

Anonymous said...

city website- contracts awarded

Contract #09-174
Munis Training for City Collector
Randy Mercier 35 Thornton Ave Saco, ME 04072

Contract #09-173
Lockbox Services
Bank of Fall River 30 Bedford St Fall River, Ma 02722

Contract #09-171
Library Books
Ingram Library Services One Ingram Blvd La Vergne, TN 37086
$25,000.00 Annually

Contract #09-170
CPA Technical Assitance
Lefkowitz, Garfinkel, Champi & De Rienzo P.C. 10 Weybosset St Providence, RI 02903 $100,000

Contract #09-152
FY2008 Audit Preparation
Abrahams Group 52 Flanagan Dr Framingham, MA 01701

Fear and Loathing in Fall River said...

I wouldn't count the Mayor out yet. I think he is up to something. What I don't know. My guess is, he is going to lay people off, and use this union vote to place the blame on the unions.

The flaw in his argument is, he gave the unions no choice but to say no. If it were truly 8% for the rest of this fiscal year, and 10% for next fiscal year, until things turn around, it may have been more pallatable. However, he gave them something so that they either wouldn't see it, and get it passed at a 25% cut, OR he gave it to them knowing they would reject it. It is the Mayor's MO to do this type of thing. Now he can pass the blame onto someone else, the unions, when he cuts jobs.

This guy has no leadership ability. He looks like he is bumbling around Government Center looking for the doorknobs at this point.

The past month or so, he has backed down any chance he gets. He used to be gung ho and strong. But, alas, he is losing it I think.

I really feel that he gave up after his push poll in January came back negative.

Anonymous said...

I think he is tired, he never had to work this hard. Normally you could just spin something, the fall river citizens would fall for it and you would move on. Now every move made is scrutinized by many, many, people.

Anonymous said...

Audit what audit????

State Auditor's Office
Herren Albert R.
Analyst/Specialist 37.50 $44,982.10

anonymous said...

Even Lambert didn't have it this rough. He was either better at spin, or he presided just before the age of the internet in Fall River. Either way, from here on out, you will see greater scrutiny and open government. We will demand it.

We are everyone, and no one.
We are everywhere, and no where.

Anonymous said...

Tom Paine -

The info was talked about at city council meetings. it's in writing.

Tom Paine said...

Sorry to say to you that is only an idea, a suggestion. As a matter of fact the recent council decision by the council has not even been approved by DHCD. Check it out.

reality check said...

Tom Paine is right. The only one on board with this new, so-called plan is the city council. Questionable financing and no state approval, should be interesting how this one plays out.

Anonymous said...

in the end, what matters is that people will have a decent place to live and the neighborhood will be better off.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else think Joan menard sounded like an absolute dummy on the Barry Richard show the other day! She was telling city workers to take the 10%?? cut. She also told him that Bob should raise taxes. Nice Joan, How's that 5% increase and your Caddy.
P.S Assigned to the rules and ethics hahaha

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else think Joan menard sounded like an absolute dummy on the Barry Richard show the other day! She was telling city workers to take the 10%?? cut. She also told him that Bob should raise taxes. Nice Joan, How's that 5% increase and your Caddy.
P.S Assigned to the rules and ethics hahaha

Anonymous said...

Since when does the city worry about legallity?

Rain Tax?
Minimum parking for schools?
Wet lands? (Hery Lord)
Landfill (N. Watuppa)
Eminant Domain (Kerr Mill, waterfront)

Anonymous said...

We need a tax increase in Fall River! After all the employees making over $75,000 take a 10% reduction in salary. All of the money to fund our schools comes in from the State we pay very little into our education system and it shows. Bob Correia underfunded education when we received 2.5 milion more in State funds. Imagine what he will do with less. God help our children!

Nancy said...

Excuse me anyone making over 75,000 a tear take a 10% pay cut!!!! It has taken some people 20 years to get up to that pay rate. more funding for schools!! The teachers don't even want to give up a 2% raise they haven't gotten yet. If you make 75,000 a year 10% might be your kids college tuition you budgeted for. If you make that much you can't get financial aid either. If I worked at city hall for 25 year i wouldn't give up anything because you will never get it back!