Friday, March 23, 2018 01:30

Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Fun in the Italian Sun

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

While Clinton’s town officials labor to craft a tough budget in one of the worst budget years in memory, our illustrious BOS Chairman Maryrose Dickhaut is basking in the Italian sun on a three week vacation. People have been wondering why she didn’t attend the last couple meetings. So now you know and you also know why our Town Meeting was pushed out to the end of June, just so she could attend. As I stated before, this meeting is far too close to the end of the fiscal year for comfort.

While purportedly stating that she wanted to do the budget once and do it right, what was really going on was a personal agenda, hold the meeting off until she’s back from Roma or Venice. This was done with the help of Selectman LeBlanc who made the motion to have it Sunday the 28th then changed the motion to Monday the 29th.

The lack of leadership and self serving agenda is amazing. The other thing I have to mention is that Selectman Dickhaut’s brother, the health inspector is budgeted to receive a 7% raise. I believe it’s fiscally and morally wrong giving a raise this large while in the throes of the budget nightmare we’re in. This is your “leadership” at work. I certainly hope all who read this understand the implications of these actions as well as the total lack of leadership. Remember these actions well,  make a mental note of them and  don’t forget as you go to the polls next spring!

As an added note, please watch for someone planted in the Town Meeting audience to ask for a quorum count right after article 14.  This is the where the citizens petitions begin and certain public officials don’t want them to see the light of day.  I respectfully ask that all who read this please vote yes on articles 15 through 18.   These are the zero quorum article, BOS public comment article, adding the finance committee Chairman to the law committee and to fund the wind farm study which could help the town save about a million dollars year in energy costs.

So Whats The Plan?

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

As I detailed in my column in last weeks Times Courier, the budget process has continued in a haphazard fashion and without any real direction.

In typical reactive fashion, the Clinton Board of Selectmen showed a true lack of leadership while meeting with Clinton’s Union heads last night, May 27th. They made no real progress towards a FY10 wage freeze. The BOS of course did not meet and proactively discuss this  together as a team and come up with a unified plan they all agreed on. So with no clear plan or course of action to offer to the Unions this muddling around was doomed to failure. When you have a entire board, with all its members putting their own spin on what to do, how would you as a Union head react? I don’t blame the Unions at this point. No Cohesive Plan, No Deal!

My opinion is to offer the Unions a level wage for next fiscal year and to open the contracts and extend them another year, with next year and the year after coming in at the contracted percentage (I believe there is a year left on all the Union contracts).  The BOS in a last ditch effort to balance the budget have fumbled and are now on borrowed time trying to pull out of a death spin.

Whats next, close the Bigelow Library, cut the COA budget? Actually the non-unionized employees are at the mercy of the board and getting no increases. Why couldn’t the BOS have negotiated with the unions a long time ago WITH a plan…while there was time? Lots of questions NO answers, other than a complete lack of a plan and no capable leadership.

Budget Frustration – Updated

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

So BOS Chairman Haley is frustrated about their attempt to take a “first look” at the FY10 budget, he’s wasting his time he says. He’s reportedly frustrated because the board asked departments to submit -3% budgets and some of the elected offices did not comply. What does he expect? These are autonomous departments that DO NOT report to the BOS.

In reality Chairman Haley does not need to be frustrated as the BOS has the power and ability to reduce the budgets of these autonomous departments by the -3% asked for. The BOS is responsible for the submission of the budget, and as such could just cut each dept by the necessary -3%, it would then be up to the requisite department to decide what and where they are going to cut from their budgets.

Stop whining and show some leadership Chairman Haley, you and the BOS “OWN” that budget. Get on with it, you’ve been working at the budget since last December and you still can’t come up with a completed one.

Another issue with this budget process is the fact the BOS have not approached the unions and asked them to forgo raises this year to possibly enable the unionized departments to reduce potential layoffs. This shows a huge and remarkable lack of leadership. Many of the surrounding towns have already done this, and the unions agreed. An Example: Webster Police Officer’s agreed to a pay freeze and giving up all 11 paid holidays for next fiscal year, one of them calling it a “no-brainer.” The 22 police officers and five sergeants in the police union are among nearly 100 town employees who have agreed to wage concessions to help save the town approximately $300,000 and prevent layoffs of employees, The Police Chief has agreed to make the same concessions as his staff.

One officer said: “A lot of people think unions never give anything back. They think that in negotiations the object is to get what you can get. To a point, that might be true, but also, the function of the union is to maintain the people you have” . “When you see all these other companies closing or laying off people I think everyone is just glad they still have a job.” Our BOS hasn’t even broached the subject with our unions, this is completely unacceptable. When we have budget problems and the unions aren’t even approached and asked to possibly consider this action we as citizens need to ask ourselves why not.

Why is the BOS so complacent and unwilling to approach our unions and at least pose the question? Again, I’ll tell you why, It’s a lack of leadership from the top down.

Perhaps it’s time for the Finance Committee to take the bull by the horns and get the budget process done. They will certainly do a heck of a better job on the budget than the BOS have done.