Budget Fail

In a previous post, I listed perks that theoretically could be cut from the FY2011 budget. Car allowances, magazine subscriptions, dues to professional organizations, lunch reimbursements, and clothing allowances run into hundreds of thousands each year. (Sure, some of them are contractual — but did they even try to talk to the unions about them?)

At any rate, Third Ward Alderman Pam Verbic is against cuts to perks. Verbic says the city “can’t run a professional organization” without them.

That’s nonsense. In the real world, professionals have been paying out of pocket and taking business deductions for these items off their personal taxes for years. Some of the allowances don’t even make sense. While I could see a clothing allowance for employees who have contact with the public, why does IT have one?

The real underlying problem, of course, is that overall compensation and health “insurance” costs are too high. They need to be reset and it will take a while, contract by contract. (Too bad they didn’t take this seriously two years ago. We might be in a different place by now.) However, there is an immediate urgency to save jobs because that is good for all of us. When Verbic refuses to look at hundreds of thousands in perks, and Gallagher refuses to consider cuts to the Municipal Band budget, they are basically saying that paying for stuff like the city manager’s subscription to Crains Chicago Business is more important than trying to bring back the AFSCME employees they laid off, or saving first responders. They either don’t get it, or they don’t care.

It puts the lie to their insistence that “everything is on the table” budget-wise, and to the stated strategic goal of protecting and increasing public safety.

2 thoughts on “Budget Fail”

  1. In case you were here earlier, yes, I have edited an earlier, harsher comment. Although my remarks very much reflect my feelings, I’ve decided to leave something more positive in its place anyway.

    It is this. I want to express my deep appreciation to all my neighbors who read 353-page agenda packets, attend marathon meetings, submit FOIA requests, and find their way to the podium at the Muni Building despite the less-than-warm reception to be found there. Because of you and your endurance, there is hope for the democratic process in DeKalb. Someday, we and our city representatives will find a better way to talk to each other. Someday, we will find a way to nurture a more beneficial culture.

    Thanks — and see you at the next Council meeting.

  2. I’m not sure about the rest of you but when I take on a job to work for someone and their business, I usually spend some time speaking with them. One of the points of discussion usually is the compensation I will receive for my efforts. At this point, it is pretty much stated as to what compensation I will receive and what the expectations are for that compensation.

    Now if the City of DeKalb would eliminate the unnecessary frills listed above by Yinn and probably a few more not known or listed above, the new employee should not complain about “not having these perks” and realizes from the get go what tools they have at their disposal to conduct their work and business.

    These “perks” that Ms. Verbic refers to is just another way that taxpayers are abused of and unfortunately it has been going on so long that Ms. Verbic and many like her think now that is how business is done. NO IT IS NOT! Especially today when people are desperately looking to sell their product and services, we the taxpayer should be the recipient of the ” giveaways and perks” offered by big business and those looking to do business with the city, not the other way around.

    Oh, by the way. I think it is fair enough to say that our city manager is probably compensated in many different ways that we don’t even have a clue is happening but then again our mayor and city council refuse to investigate our city manager and former alderman Victor Wogen still to this date. Now, with this attitude rampant at city hall, do you think anyone is really worried about how they spend?

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