Monday, August 31, 2009

Las Charadas de un Corrupto el Gobierno

Over the next week I will be featuring portions of a brilliantly written, horrifically eye opening, and shockingly blood curdling letter, which was submitted to me ANONYMOUSLY!!!

*dun, DUN, DUUUUUUUNNNNNN*

Who could have written it?

Was is Javier? Perhaps Alberto? No, no, it must have been...JUAN CARLO!In the true form of any good, dramatic novella, each installment of this letter with be full of terror, corruption, heartbreak, and MURDER! (minus the murder....well... hopefully)

Now, without further adieu, our journey of intrigue begins....

To the Mayor and City Councilmen of the City of Richardson:

Over the years, honorable, fair, reasonable, and just fulfillment of your sacred vow to the people, as well as the City Government’s observation and enforcement of the provisions of the Charter and Ordinances, has been greatly compromised and undermined by the politically-minded and profit-driven corporate and individual power brokers and interests who wield an undue influence on the city’s affairs at the detriment of the individual resident/taxpayer.
Serious budgetary/fiscal concerns, wasteful and inappropriate spending, insider and/or above-market vendor contracts being awarded without competitive bidding, risky, costly, potentially unsafe and sound, and/or imprudent deposit, investment, and debt management practices, rampant conflicts of interest and ethical breaches, poor or non-existent independent audit and internal control procedures, questionable accounting practices, and the appearance of purposeful and willful and/or unjustifiably negligent violations of law, rule, statute, and ordinance, often in consultation or participation with the office of city attorney, are some of the many serious issues that have and are being brought to the city council’s attention with this correspondence. We strongly urge the city council to reassert the proper chain of command and authority over the city manager’s office to immediately address the issues being raised, some of which are outlined below, in a forthright, transparent, and open manner.
Top priorities should be to re-establish the rule of law, pass a fiscally-conservative budget without additional debt with controlled and efficient spending, eliminate the undue influence of for-profit corporate and individual power brokers involving city business by striking a proper balance between economic development/growth and provide for the basic home, community, and quality of life needs of the general population, while protecting and preserving individual property, civil, and constitutional rights.

Furthermore, we respectfully request a detailed, complete, and full response to the issues, concerns and questions noted herein with the allowance of free-flowing comments and dialogue between city council members, city staff, and all interested citizens of this city at the next scheduled budget hearing on August 31, 2009, and call for decisive and appropriate action to be taken by the city council before approval and enactment of the final budget on September 14, 2009.

Respectfully,

Honest, Informed, and Concerned Citizens of the City of Richardson

{Just a guess, but I think Juan Carlo might be a lawyer. Disclaimer: It was NOT SCHNURR, I asked, he said he's not the novelist behind this one, he gets paid by the hour...Ok, so now on to the tragedia....}

Major Bullet Points -

Multi-million dollar and increasing operating shortfalls with huge amount of undisclosed debt of the Eisemann Center;

Long-list of under performing projects with $5.7MM in developer incentives paid in 2008-2009 and an unknown amount in 2009-2010;

Proposed $700.0M in Chamber of Commerce contributions that are specifically designated for economic development, but with 80% of these contributions being diverted to fund payroll costs and operating expenses, which are typically funded by the private sector;

$31.6MM in defeased G.O. bonds and Certificate of Obligations removed from city books with unknown value of the monetary assets placed in a irrevocable trust and whether they are sufficient to fully retire the defeased debt;

$10.9MM in additional borrowings with (1.8MM) operating shortfall and apparent discrepancies between actual and projected annual debt service requirements for 2009-2010;

Unsafe and unsound placement of 98% of the cities unrestricted cash with two local banks and 44.2% of unrestricted investments in a complex Flexible Repurchase Agreement with high systemic risk and institution/security asset quality concerns and issues;
Privately-negotiated vender contract with the Sherrill Park Municipal Golf Professional without competitive bidding with an excessive salary at 3X the high-end for municipal golf professional salaries and other unfavorable contract clauses and no audit in 17 years;

Highly questionable hiring of a former legislator as a paid for consultant (i.e. lobbyist) to represent the city’s interests for $6,250 per month or $75,000 plus expenses per year, with this same individual having contracts with other cities/agencies totaling $600,000;

{Hmmm, perhaps we should put up a statue of Mr.Fred Hill at city hall, in honor of all the good stuff he must be doing for the city of Richardson at that rate}

$400,000 annual salary being paid to the Chamber of Commerce President without a contract;

{Holy Mackerel, Bill Sproull makes HOW MUCH?!?!?!}

$174.0MM in unfunded retirement health and pension benefits with an increasing shortfall and future debt burden on the residents;

($1.8MM) operating shortfall without a zero-based budget despite city councilmen advocating same during prior election cycle;

$448.0M or 1.9% increase in payroll spending after 3.0% increase in 2008-2009 that was well above the 1.8% increase in salaries in the North Texas Region per federal labor statistics including the private sector;

City expenditures are increasing by $3.3MM or 2.0% despite an economic recession and declining revenues, resulting in the above-noted operating shortfall and increased leverage position;

Total estimated salary and benefits per employee of $82,780, and after excluding fire and police personnel, the top 22 city officials make an estimated $169,721 per employee and the top 134 make an estimated $96,086 per employee;

Personnel overtime costs of $3.6MM in 2008-2009 and budgeted at $3.3MM representing 4.0% of total personnel costs in 2009-2010, with 66.9% of the total costs being allocated to three departments with insiders alleging the existence of substantial overtime abuse;

141 employees or 14.4% of employee base receive annual car allowances totaling $841,548 or $5,958 per employee, along with allegations or admissions of improper usage by family members and/or dual receipt of car allowances and use of fleet/city vehicles;
City Manager has unilateral discretion to cash out on accrued but unused sick days, a practice that is unheard of even in the private sector, and reportedly pocketed $250,000 in 2007 and unknown amounts in 2008-2009;

City Manager’s total compensation package estimated at $390,656 in 2009-2010 is the highest in the state on a per-capita basis;

{But c'mon, he has 7 kids...they have to eat}

Deputy City Manager’s total compensation package estimated at $282,478 next year is the highest in the state on a per-capita basis;

(But c'mon, look at that haircut, it can't be cheap)

City is proposing hidden tax increase with the creation of the storm water utility fund with existing general fund allocation of 1.0MM left in place to be given to developers per Mayor Slagel;

Listing of additional pork or questionable budget items include a new $5,000 furniture set for the Fire Battalion Chief, $889,050 in unallocated/unspecified expenses, $202,020 in library insurance costs, $595,500 in Economic Development Agreements, free Eisemann Center tickets to city council and senior city officials, and free golf rounds to city officials at the Sherrill Park Golf Course.

{I heard Mark Solomon abuses the free Eismann center ticket perk and gets 8 for every show, while the other councilmen only take 4, dun, DUN, DUUUNNNNN}

Proposed redirection of wasteful and extravagant spending to fund increased crime prevention, criminal investigations/narcotics, and related administration costs given increasing crime rate, recent delayed 911 response time incident, and anonymous insider reports of morale and dissension within the RPD apparently involving funding issues vs. policy directives and other serious internal matters.
Numerous alleged and/or suspected purposeful and willful or unjustifiably negligent violations of law, rule, ordinance, city charter, statute, act, and/or regulation, and suspected government waste, fraud, and corruption, are resulting in an increasing number of complaints, legal filings, and outside party investigations, and growing media scrutiny, all of which reflect very poorly on the city.

{that ought to be a line item....all these crazies and their photocopies are costing this city a ton....in comparison to???}


What will happen next? Will Rosalina ever come out of the coma? Will Fernando be able to stop the train in time? Will Senior Slago get away with the money??? Tune in next time to see...

8 comments:

  1. Odd, but it seems to be a more lengthy version of what Ms Davis posted here several weeks ago. Could it be?!

    HW

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  2. some information is correct and some isn't. do your own investigations

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  3. Do my own investigations?....ok...I'm all for wearing a trench coat and big glasses. It's a look that happens to work very well for me.

    HW-you're on to me. I have body snatched Chris Davis. (:

    .....and the plot thickens......

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  4. Given the city's clever slight of hand and their ability to lead others by their noses through an endless maze and never seem to gain traction, I think this is a great overview and fairly accurate picture of EL BUDGETO. One should focus not on the minutia (or is that menudo?) but on the big picture - high salaries, operating shortfall, increasing debt, above market rate contracts, lack of competitive bidding, and undue corporate and insider influence. Muchas Gracias!

    El Guapo

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  5. I'm starting to think the COR budget is a shell game or ponzi scheme. Basically, we are broke. The council is rolling about $10M forward EVERY YEAR in debt for the future via CO's. Where's our money going?

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  6. Senior Slago will make a run for it! There will be obstetricians to over come. And the………..

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  7. And we'll all be left with the dreaded and non-curable mutation of Montezuma's Revenge, Pancho Slagelvilla Syndrome. Continual and non-stop heaves and ho's from our wallets and bank accounts...

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  8. Gotta love that baby picture! Kinda how most residents would look if they were to come to the conclusion that "Serious budgetary/fiscal concerns, wasteful..." were accurate. They would have that wild eyed spooked look. Cute, precious photo!

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