City of Long Beach – Transparency Data & Information

We wanted transparency. They promised transparency. They won the 2011 election with the promise of delivering transparency. The city just released numbers: management savings, salary info, charts, myths and facts. Is this just some New Gang Propaganda or are they really saving us money? You decide.

City of Long Beach – Transparency Data & Information

Earlier today, City Manager Jack Schnirman met with all department and division heads this week to discuss budget cuts. He has given a directive that all budgets be slashed by a minimum of 25% in non-salary lines. This is being done as part of an attempt to freeze expenditures. Only absolutely essential items will be approved for purchase at this juncture. Non-mandatory purchases have been ordered to be held at this time. The memo is attached.

Additionally, in the interest of transparency, the City has released official salary and overtime data to show tangible cost savings generated by the new administration. Along with statistics regarding management changes and overtime work, there is a “myth vs. fact” sheet that provides clarity to residents with transparency-related concerns.

Gordon Tepper
Director of Communications

Download the PDF: Transparency Data and Information

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17 thoughts on “City of Long Beach – Transparency Data & Information”

  1. From everything going on there are two things that can be said for sure. #1 These numbers are pretty staggering and prove change is taking place #2 This administration has the best public relations staff in the history of LB. Where was Tepper’s kid before working for the city?? He is getting the administration in the paper every day and providing sites like this with all kinds of info.

  2. To many holes! You can state management salary and leave a lot out. Why not list all city positions, total city payroll. It’s just to easy to say we cut management unless we see the whole picture. It is impressive though. Nice presentation.

  3. “Rich” please learn the difference between to and too. You are feeding the stereotype that republicans are stupid. And this does list all city positions that have changed if you look at the bottom anything that isn’t management is on there. If you want to see what the holdovers from the republicans are making, just file a foia request with the city but that has nothing to do with the new administration (other than that they kept them there).

    For “conservative” a quick Newsday search for Gordon Tepper came back with this
    http://www.newsday.com/business/li-people-on-the-move-aug-31-1.1400155

    Private sector is different from government. I’ve worked in Manhattan for over 15 years and most of the LB regulars wouldn’t last a week in the private sector. That’s the difference you’re noticing in the PR. He is doing a real job not employing the standard lazy CSEA union hack mentality (Mary Giambalvo or Kerry Troy: take your pick).

    By the way I think we are all still waiting to see Jimmy Hennessy go up to speak at a council meeting. I turn that stream on every week and he never shows. He must know that they are loaded up with dirt on him and is avoiding the “public”. We will probably just be treated to dozens of posts from Margaret and his other personalities on Patch instead. I wonder if he dresses in drag before writing to get in character.

  4. It called a FOIL where I come from. How do we know it list all positions. A spin is a spin. I would say I’m more of a poorly educated independent.

  5. Finally we have titles for Mike Cruz, Community Improvement Coordinator and Larry Benowitz Senior Recreation Leader. $30,000 per year part time! Now let see if they can come up with job descriptions. What a joke!

  6. So they are citing many positions at zero for right now. After seeing them hire their friends, families and supporters weekly since their inauguration, do they really think we are stupid enough to believe this presentation that these salaries won’t be filled? C’mon. You have showed us your true colors over the past three months, we see right through your spin and outright lies. I guess thats what they meant when they ran on the platform of transparency. As for Gordon Tepper, I must say, he has done a great job for the dems in the PR dept, even if its not the whole truth…

  7. If you look at the saving numbers Mr. Schnirman quoted, there was one I felt to be a bit disingenuous. He is taking credit for $633,618 in savings from amortizing an employee pension payment due to the state. To explain, the state recognizes the economic hard times and allowed local governments to defer their payment to the state pension system. Instead they could pay it back over 20 years. It is a one-time bookkeeping gimmick that moves the pension payment off this year’s ledger and into the cities long term debt column (i.e. your kids will be paying for this decision). I consider it kicking the can down the road, not a savings.

    By the way, do a little simple math. The previous administration authorized borrowing $4.25 million in December to meet payroll and to pay retirees. Now the current administration just authorized another $6 million in borrowing to cover the city through June 30. That is $10.25 million in borrowing (in 4 months) to carry the city for 7 months (December – June). That means the city is spending about $1.46 million more each month than they take in.

    This is not a Democrat-Republican thing. Both parties have shown they cannot spend within their means. The last administration just raided and wiped out the $8 million reserve fund before starting to borrow money. It should be noted that Mr. Schnirman said they expect to do additional borrowing.

  8. Remember that the short term borrowing this year has to be repaid in the next fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). This means that before the city’s 2012 – 2013 budget is even issued, we are already in the hole on the order of $7.5 million next year.

    Also notice that the statement says “all budgets be slashed by a minimum of 25% in non-salary lines.” Ninety percent (90%) of the city budget goes to paying city employee salaries, benefits and debt service (repaying money borrowed earlier). This is before the $10.25 million in new debt we added in the last four months. That only leaves 10% for everything else (non-salary) required to keep this city running. So cutting non-salary lines can only put a small dent in our very large deficit.

    Right now the administration is borrowing funds to try and sustain a spending plan we can no longer afford. This is straightforward revenue and expenses math. Until the administration begins making the politically difficult, but necessary, decisions about the 90% portion of the budget spending, revenue (e.g. taxes, new sources), or some combination of the two, things will continue to get worse.

  9. Thats because Tepper was a republican hire. All of the dem hires are incompetent. Not sure I agree with the numbers yet would like to see Fagens version.

  10. I hope all of us are for the best for the City. I voted for the new council members, even though I didn’t know them (or any of the “democrat clubhouse”), based on my observation of the past administration (which I voted for the prior 2 elections), and the need for a change, not just for change’s sake, but the prior administration’s handling of various matters, including questions about the City’s fiscal condition, among other things. Also, in listening to the aspirations of the new (then running) members, I was imnpressed just enough. That being said, I am unhappy with some of what i view as the politics as usual business that has gone on. On the other hand, I view them as largely living up to being open, transparent, professional and diligent. I also go to CC meetings and voice my view on things I don’t like that they are doing or how they are handling them. And all citizens that are dissatisfied with direction ought to go to the CC meetings and listen in and share their views. My impression so far, at the relatively sparsely attended meetings, is that most folks there that do speak are not acting on a partisan basis (yes, there is some of that), and are getting information and sharing views and letting the CC know the public is not asleep at the wheel and will hold them to task. That is our obligation as citizens. These blogs are a useful sounding board and there is a fair amount of good dialogue and information sharing, but there is an equal amount of “hating” and misinformation and disinformation. Not a substitute for attending meetings.

  11. Well said Publius. The citizens of Long Beach are also responsible for the condition of the city, because it is we the voters that determine who is making these decisions on our behalf. It is our job to hold their feet to the fire and make them accountable.

    Part of the problem I fear is that there is some apathy on the part of the voters. A small percentage of eligible voters actually vote in City Council elections. Also, when the surfing or volleyball community gets up in arms about something, a couple of hundred people will pack a City Council meeting, as we have seen at some recent meetings. But for a meeting about borrowing another $6 million and putting the city even deeper in debt, only a handful of people show up. That additional debt potentially affects how much we pay in taxes going forward and what services the city provides (or doesn’t). It impacts our quality of life on a broad scale. But where were the voters?

    One thing the surfing and volleyball communities have is a core group that rallies the troops together around a set of specific issues of interest to them. From what I can see they utilize social media tools to keep cohesion within their group. The non-partisan voters of this city that want to address a broad set of issues really don’t have a citywide mechanism to join them together in a unified voice, which could then be brought to the City Council. That would be a good thing to have.

  12. Neutron, there’s a non partisan site on Facebook called Citizens For Long Beach, NY. The URL is http://www.facebook.com/citizensforlbny
    It appears that both Democrats and Republicans use the site to get out their POV’s. The candidates in October / November seemed to be pretty active on there during the election. The Dems were very active on it during the election and it seems the Republicans are communicating on it more now. If you would like to mobilize a non partisan group, perhaps starting there may help?

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