The employment contract between City of DeKalb and its new manager, Anne Marie Gaura, is part of the agenda for Monday’s council meeting.
I’m pretty pleased about this pick — Gaura’s resume looks the best to me of all the city manager candidates in terms of range and depth of experience — and I’m pleased with this contract, too. It has an expiration date. And look here:
The Parties acknowledge that under current provisions of City Code, Chapter 3 employees are entitled to accrue and be compensated for “Comp Time” or “Compensatory Time.” Notwithstanding such provisions, the Parties expressly agree and acknowledge that Employee is a management employee, exempt from FLSA overtime provisions. Employee shall not accrue or be eligible to be compensated for Comp Time or Compensatory Time, and any contrary provision of Chapter 3 shall be inapplicable to Employee.
They maybe ended up having to offer more salary in exchange for the Chapter 3 exemption, and that’s fine. Salary goes up front on the very publicly-discussed budget, while comp and other such paid leave accumulations take compensation off budget and push it into a little corner of growing liabilities in annual financial reports that only a few oddballs like me bother to read.
Anyway, these are welcome changes. Hat tip to His Honor and the council for some good decision-making lately. If Gaura is as tough and honest as she is experienced, DeKalb could really be looking at a new day.
Filed under: City Watch
| Tagged as: cafr
The Daily Chronicle has come out against the proposed Sycamore Road TIF District, pointing to Mayor Rey’s recent comment that two developers are interested in one of the properties even with no incentives.
So why bring tax increment financing into the equation? It certainly might give the city some more money it can spend on projects of its choosing, but it doesn’t appear necessary here.
For one thing, I think maybe NIU has gotten the idea that the city is going to fix up one of its buildings. TIF in DeKalb has ALWAYS been about generating slush for pet projects.
But tax increment financing is supposed to be used to encourage development in areas that need it, not just to generate revenue for City Hall to spend.
The South Fourth Street corridor needs redevelopment, no question. But the South Fourth plan is a horrible plan. In fact, both of the TIF proposals are bad, as in ill-conceived and lazy. The TIF consultant should be fired and the Joint Review Board publicly shamed for its lack of proper oversight.
I’m glad to hear that the city council is questioning these TIF proposals and I hope at some point this body also sees the need to review and reform how TIF plays out in DeKalb.
Filed under: City Watch
| Tagged as: local media
This is more from the June 2013 Benefits Hours Report I was telling you about yesterday.
|300 Sick Pay||4,172.75||79,776.10||3,073,591.38
|500 Comp Used||1,974.75||12,397.48||457,938.93
|550 Floating Hldy||384.00||185.00||8,590.87
|560 Banked Comp||45.00||16,427.10||807,522.19
|301 Sick Pay Fire||2,274.25||50,421.75||1,544,619.90
|401 Vacation Fire||7,920.00||10,608.00||326,591.66
|501 Comp Used Fire||.00||317.63||10,018.57
|561 Banked Comp Fire||.00||2,169.64||68,972.21
You can see that the banked comp (560) truly is banked, and the administrator-depositors are enjoying nice, risk-free annual increases when raises and COLAs are applied.
The caps on unused sick leave are very high in all departments. In fact, there are about 50 city employees who, thanks to overly-generous sick leave and/or comp time policies, could quit their jobs tomorrow and potentially walk away with checks for more than $50,000. Read the rest of this entry
***Clarification*** added 12/3 due to a question that came up in this Facebook discussion: Firefighters often work overtime and they almost always receive overtime pay for it. However, according to their contract they might with permission accumulate a little comp time instead, up to 205 hours, after which no more comp time is permitted to be accumulated. My investigation of firefighter comp time actually turned out to be a red herring when it comes to high accumulations of paid leave and I only mentioned it to show that the path to the truth is not always linear.***
I’ve continued to look at the DeKalb firefighters’ current labor contract with the city since it is set to expire at the end of June. It says that fire personnel may accumulate up to 205 hours of comp time, so I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for comp time records for firefighters at about the end of the 2013 fiscal year (end of June or early July).
Luckily, I received more than I asked for because DeKalb Fire isn’t so much the story here.
Below is information about banked comp time hours drawn from a Benefit Hours Report that was generated June 26, 2013. Repeat: This is banked comp time only.
|Name & Position/Dept.||Banked Hours Available||Available Cost
|Espiritu (Asst. City Mgr.)||689.8||45,399.19
|Cleveland (Airport Mgr.)||1660.0||75,525.02
|Hicks (Fire Chief)||640.5||39,456.72
Another two dozen city employees had banked $5,000 to $25,000 in comp by the time of the report.
I’ll put up more numbers later this week.
Related post: On the Trail of the Legendary Comp Time Monster.
The city has put up another meeting agenda for tomorrow that’s a revision of the original, so all you early birds will have to read the new one. However, keep the old one handy because they didn’t include the rest of the packet with the revision.
Item 1: Another hit to the Public Safety Building Fund.
With the Police Department having effected a move to the new Police Station on West Lincoln Highway, an unanticipated need has arisen for additional communications equipment to ensure officer and public safety within the Building.
The new police station was designed for a high degree of security, with extensive use of steel, concrete and concrete block. The qualities of those materials that make them strong and durable also make them resistant to radio wave transmission. In short, the design and construction of the building hampers the ability of police officers to utilize their two-way mobile radios when within the building, or to hear radio traffic and respond to public safety emergencies or request assistance when within the building.
The solution to this issue is to install a bi-directional antenna system within the building that will permit direct communications with officers. The cost of this system exceeds $20,000; however, it is an urgent public safety issue that requires an immediate response and the equipment required is from a sole-source provider that has been working on the balance of the radio communication system. For both of these reasons, staff requests that the Council waive competitive bidding and award a contract to Dixon Ottawa in an aggregate amount not to exceed $25,000.
How much did the first communications system cost? Can we get our money back? Could this problem have been anticipated? How many more errors will it take to annihilate the budget? Read the rest of this entry
From Public Notice Illinois:
Notice of Request for Proposals: Automobile Salvage The City of DeKalb, pursuant to Court Order in DeKalb Circuit Court Case No. 12 MR 79, has acquired salvage titles for approximately seventy two (72) automobiles, trailers light trucks, medium duty trucks and tow trucks ( “vehicles “) as a component of its cleanup and remediation of an industrial site in the City of DeKalb. The vehicles are currently in the City of DeKalb Impound Lot. A list of the vehicle year/make/model is available upon request. By this notice, the City seeks bids for the purchase of the vehicles. Terms of sale are as follows: Vehicles are sold as-is, where-is, without any express or implied warranties. A junk/salvage title shall be provided for the vehicles. Purchaser is responsible for confirming number of vehicles and for comparing salvage titles to vehicles to confirm accuracy. The purchaser shall remove the vehicles from their current site within 30 days of the date of sale. Vehicles must be moved to a location that is either: a) outside the corporate limits of the City of DeKalb; or, b) a lawfully zoned automobile recycler/scrap metal recycling facility. Payment is required in advance of removing the vehicles. Respondents must submit: a) a lump sum price for removal of all vehicles; b) a price per-vehicle that is applicable to any individual vehicle or combination of vehicles at the City’s discretion. Respondents may also submit individual bids on individual vehicles if desired. The City shall select the bid or combination of proposals that produces the greatest potential revenue from the salvage. Respondents are responsible for complying with all applicable laws and regulations. Submission of a proposal constitutes the proposal of a contract with the City which the City may accept and enforce. Bids are due to the City of DeKalb, Attn: City Attorney, 200 S. Fourth Street, DeKalb, IL 60115 by 10:00am on Thursday, December 12, 2013. Proposals must be submitted in sealed envelopes. The City reserves the right to accept or reject any proposals, to waive the proposal process, and to contract with any entity it believes best serves the interests contemplated herein. The city anticipates notifying the successful respondents by not later than December 20, 2013. If any party wishes to view the vehicles prior to responding, please contact the City of DeKalb Police Department at 815-748-8400. (Published in the Daily Chronicle, November 23, 2013.)
You can look up case 12MR79 using the civil case search at www.circuitclerk.org. This was a case of the City of DeKalb vs. The National Bank and Trust of Sycamore and Michael Fitzgerald of 850 Glidden Avenue in DeKalb, which also appears to be (at least for the moment?) the home of Northern Illinois Towing & Roadside Assistance Service. The case was initiated in the spring of 2012.
In a post from January 10, I told you I’d continue trying to get information about the state’s Public Library Construction Grant Program since we knew so few of the institutions that won them.
Part of the reason it has taken so long to get back to you is that I goofed up my chance to fight for the information. Yep, I sure did. Since the Illinois State Library had always responded quite fully and promptly to previous Freedom of Information Act requests, I didn’t bother to make a copy of the request for the list of awardees. This time they denied me the document and I was unable to ask for a review of the decision because under FOIA you must provide a copy of the original FOIA request along with the Request for Review.
The lesson here, of course, is not to trust anybody — not even librarians. Read the rest of this entry
The City of Springfield is expecting to approve a new contract with its firefighters’ union soon.
Golly, I wish we had that kind of news coverage. Remember the last-minute hoop we had to jump through to find what the 2011 contract with our firefighters was about?
The Springfield story reminded me that the longish closed sessions our council is holding lately have something to do with collective bargaining and not just horse-trading over the appointment of the new city manager. Sure enough, DeKalb’s agreement with International Association of Firefighters Local 1236 expires June 30, 2014.
I meant to look at the contract anyway because during the last council meeting, they were speaking in code while talking about the latest emergency services contract. The code was “7(g)” and turns out “7(g)” is shorthand for, “How much the city is going to pay emergency personnel to attend sporting events.”
But on to the quid pro quo. Read the rest of this entry
I’ve isolated the comparison charts for you and put them after the jump (or you could teleport to the agenda instead and go to page 5 of the PDF file).
First, though, I’d like to spend a minute on city staff members’ reasons for requesting approval of new fees and fee hikes:
The changes of these and others are recommended at this time as it is convenient to do so with full implementation of financial tracking software.
So: We are doing this now because it’s convenient for us.
The CPI increases of building permit fees since 2003 has not kept pace in some cases for present day inspector rates of approximately $60 per hour including overhead. Also since 2003 more commercial activity occurred to track anecdotal information that inspection time for instance is significant for large amperage commercial building electrical services with intricate electrical cabinet circuits to inspect for code compliance. Other recommended fees are new to account for recent national or state building code requirements or to account for outsourcing for expedited plan reviews or in-house reviews not previously charged for having more than incidental review time.
More reasons: We pay our inspectors a whole lot. We finally figured out the real costs of some of the inspections. We’ve discovered there are more things we can charge for. Read the rest of this entry
Filed under: City Watch
| Tagged as: city council
What timing I have! I posted city expenditures for Egyptian Theatre projects on Tuesday and now there’s a memo dated November 6 in the agenda packet for next Monday’s meeting about this (see page marked E-3, which is p. 13 of the PDF file, my emphasis added):
In March of 2013, the City Council agreed to amend the Egyptian’s FY12-13 agreement to add FY13 TIF funding in the amount of $125,000 and shift remaining bond monies to be used for the installation of a sprinkler system instead of air conditioning. Any funds leftover after the sprinkler system installation and the associated plaster repairs were completed were to be spent on a list of other prioritized expenses.
Since that time, the sprinkler system install, plaster repairs, and a significant portion of the items on the prioritized list have been done. However, due to the uncertain nature of renovating an existing historic structure, P.E.T. wanted to make sure that they had solid costs on the sprinkler system and plaster repairs prior to moving forward with the items on the prioritized list. While many of the items on the prioritized list have been checked off, they were not able to spend all of the FY13 TIF monies by the agreement deadline of October 1. The Egyptian Theatre is requesting that the remaining $90,809.82 in FY13 TIF funds be rolled into their FY14 agreement.
The Egyptian hit a deadline for FY2013 spending in October so I’m not implying anything by my remark about the timing; this item has to come up now anyway. Still, they seem to be taking lots of care to line up the ducks. Read the rest of this entry
Filed under: City Watch
| Tagged as: TIF