Tuesday, November 8, 2016
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- Alert for the Tuesday, November 8, 2016 General Election
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- Mike Robbins’ Public Communications at the May 3, 2016 El Segundo City Council Meeting
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- Inherent Conflict of Interest – Letter to the El Segundo Herald by Mike Robbins
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Tag Archives: union contract negotiations
Advice to the Hermosa Beach City Council for fire/police union contract negotiations to avoid bankruptcy:
Start negotiating from a blank sheet of paper to eliminate decades of union lawyer tricks and traps that ratcheted up costs.
Read, analyze, understand and price every provision and phrase in existing and new union contracts. Negotiate a not-to-exceed total contract cost based on specified staffing/service levels. Don’t write blank checks with taxpayer money as pension and insurance costs increase.
Do not base compensation on formulas involving compensation in other cities or costs will spiral upward. Do not give up inherent management rights to determine staffing levels, work assignments and layoffs, which are the city’s most important cost-control and bargaining tools.
Include a burden-sharing mechanism that includes thresholds and triggers which automatically reduce total contract costs by specified amounts, and optionally reopen negotiations, when unbudgeted, uncontrolled expenses and revenue declines exceed specified thresholds. … Continue reading
While we prefer to negotiate directly with the employee associations, rather than using the media as a forum for bargaining — a position we have consistently taken — we have a responsibility to address some disturbing misinformation that is being perpetuated by the associations’ public relations campaign.
For starters, let’s be clear on one overriding point: Public safety is, and will continue to be, the No. 1 priority for the city council. The city council is committed to continuing to have local police and fire departments. The agreement it reaches with its associations will ensure the future of local police and fire services. It is regrettable that the associations’ leaders are resorting to scare tactics and attempting to politicize the negotiations with untruthful claims that the city’s bargaining position is seeking to dismantle the police and fire departments.
Collective bargaining is challenging in the economic climate in which all cities are operating, … Continue reading
The local papers for years have been full of public sector mandates, ultimatums, teacher, police, firefighter and meter maid demands for unsustainable salaries, retirement perks, benefits, and legacy costs that are driving cities across America into bankruptcy. Last night, Hermosa Beach was front and center on Fox News nationally for the unsustainable costs of “meter maids,” while unmentioned was the ongoing teachers’ demands in the same “me,” “I” and “mine” cauldron of selfishness. … Continue reading
The City Manager and Finance Director should NOT be negotiating employee contracts or agreements for salaries, benefits, or pensions
Subject: Updated Written public communications for May 1, 2012, 5:00 P.M. City Council meeting
From: Mike Robbins
To: All Council And Clerks; Cathy Domann; Mona Shilling;
Cc: Mike Robbins;
Date: Friday, April 27, 2012 10:48 PM
April 27, 2012
Re: Updated Written Public Communications – The City Manager and Finance Director should NOT be negotiating employee contracts or agreements for salaries, benefits, or pensions.
To: El Segundo City Council, City Clerk, Deputy City Clerk, City Attorney, City Manager, and Finance Director.
From: Michael D. Robbins, long time El Segundo resident.
Here is my updated written public communications for the May 1, 2012, 5:00 P.M. El Segundo City Council meeting.
Please distribute it instead of my previous email to the entire City Council and the City Attorney, City Manager, and Finance Director, and post it instead of my previous email on the official City web site at ElSegundo.org on the City Council Agendas web page, http://www.elsegundo.org/depts/elected/agendas.asp, as is customary.
Michael D. Robbins
(Email address omitted.)
The May 1, 2012 El Segundo City Council meeting, 5:00 P.M. session, has the following #1 under Special Orders of Business:
“1. Consideration and Possible Action to appoint Greg Carpenter, City Manager and Deborah Cullen, Finance Director to represent the City of El Segundo as labor negotiators with the Supervisory and Professional Employees Association (SPEA).”
The City Manager and Finance Director should NOT be negotiating employee contracts or agreements for salaries, benefits, or pensions, for the following SIX reasons:
1) There is an inherent and unavoidable conflict of interest, because their salaries, benefits, and pensions are based directly or indirectly on those of the employees with whom they are negotiating. City employee bargaining groups negotiate their salaries, benefits, and pensions, at least in part, based on the salaries, benefits, and pensions of the other bargaining groups. And the city manager, department heads, and all other managers are given pay raises based on the pay raises of employees below them to avoid “salary compaction”.
2) They are not negotiation experts. The city employee unions have professional labor union lawyers, negotiators, and negotiation resources to support their labor negotiations with the City, and historically, El Segundo city employees have received greatly excessive salary, benefits, and pension increases even during a recession. While this has been especially true for the firefighter and police unions, it is also true to a lesser extent for other city employee unions (“associations”).
3) The city manager and finance director must work with the employees with whom they are negotiating every day during the negotiations and after the negotiations are completed. If they drive a hard bargain for the taxpayers, there will be more employee resentment against them and less cooperation from the employees. Because of that potential resentment and lack of cooperation, there will be a disincentive for them to drive a hard bargain and negotiate in the best interests of the taxpayers.
4) The city manager and finance director are members of the city staff. They spend most of their time in City Hall in contact with other city staff members and little or no contact with the taxpayers. They have developed day-to-day working relationships and friendships with the city staff members but not with the taxpayers. Therefore, they tend to identify and sympathize more with city staff than with the taxpayers. … Continue reading
Lack of visibility and public input during city employee union contract negotiations
Schools but not cities
Question: Are Manhattan Beach residents afforded public hearings on city employee labor negotiations such as those provided between the Manhattan Beach School District and its teachers?
Answer: Absolutely not! The Educational Employment Relations Act requires hearings by school districts to “enable the public to become informed” and provide the public “the opportunity to express itself” and to “know the positions of their elected representatives” before negotiations.
The Meyers-Milias Brown Act covering local government labor relations requires no such public hearing, but neither is there a prohibition. The Manhattan Beach City Council, true to its historic repressive policy of not informing the public and respecting our intelligence, prohibits such efforts.
Question: Has the Manhattan Beach City Council (MBCC) barricade produced fiscal responsibility?
Answer: Absolutely not! Present contracts are replete with fiscally irresponsible provisions including diminished management authority; requiring salary increases but prohibiting decreases; allowing “stealth bonuses” for “extra duties” without required qualifications; and deficient disciplinary procedures including employees receiving pay while being investigated for misconduct with no provisions for deducting income earned from outside employment while on administrative leave.
Because elected officials and managers receive pay and benefits equal to or more than employees, they too benefit from these deficiencies including personnel policies resulting in inadequate measures of managerial performance and “investment vehicles” resulting in accrued vacation and sick leave paid out at current salary rather than when accrued. … Continue reading
Exactly as I predicted last July, Mayor Busch and his City Council majority “negotiated” and approved new city employee union contracts in secret, letting the new and unproven city manager do the “negotiating”, then rushed the contracts through a public City Council vote as a mere formality.
Why did Busch try to rush the “official” contract approval with less than 24 hours for the public and Council members to even see the contracts? Obviously, Busch was trying to hide the contract terms, which are still excessive, unsustainable, and mostly one-sided in favor of the fire and police unions.
In some ways, the new contracts are worse than the old ones. … Continue reading
El Segundo, We Have a Problem
The City Council has been negotiating new contracts with the City employee unions in secret for months now, but will only allow the citizens 24 hours to see these long, complex contracts before final approval. Mayor Busch has set a phony deadline of October 1, start of the new fiscal year, to approve the contracts. There is no legal or other requirement to do so.
Mayor Busch scheduled final contract approval for Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 5:30 PM. This non-standard day and early meeting time reduces public oversight even further. If Mayor Busch and the city employee unions were acting in good faith, they would provide the citizens sixty days, or thirty days as a minimum, to review and debate the union contracts they will be forced to pay. … Continue reading