Monday, August 19, 2013

Will Dept. Merger's Save the City Money? Real Numbers & Real Facts

At the August 8th* Common Council meeting the first vote for merger of the Parks Department into the Public Works Department and the merger of the Recreation Department and Senior Services into one department took place.  NO estimated savings were discussed or presented at the Council meeting.

This is the second round of mergers that are a result of the Mayor's Task Force; the first being the merger of the Legal Department and the Personnel Department.  At the time of that merger, it was put forth the combining of those two departments would produce significant savings to the taxpayer. 

The following is  a table we created of the amounts budgeted for the two departments for the past 5 fiscal years for their full-time salary lines.  The planned merger called for hiring of two Deputy Counsels however, during the budget process for this year (year ending 6/30/2014) only one was funded.  This table does not include any of the funds spent for the golden handshakes and payouts given to employees to achieve / facilitate the merger; but only what was budgeted for salaries.

The vote last week came down 9 to 1- with Councilwoman Linda Salafia (R) the only person o vote against the merging of Park & Rec, Senior Services, and Public Works. Councilwomen Hope Kasper (D) and Deborah Kleckowski (R) were absent. 

For the previous merging of Legal and Personnel the vote in May was 10-2 with Kleckowski (R) and Salafia (R) in opposition of the consolidation, which according to the end of the year fiscal analysis,  in fact, proved more costly to tax payers.

*Editor's note: The chart below is an example of expenses for the last three fiscal years for the separate Legal  and Personnel Department. Since the merger, the last last column under Total shows that for the 2013 fiscal year, the combined legal/personnel department with additional attorneys and staff has had an increase in spending despite the claims of the merger saving money. Outside counsel from other attorneys has cost the city even more money, despite new personnel hired in the Legal Office. So far, the merging of the Personnel and Legal departments has not saved money, but in fact been more costly to tax payers. 

Chart showing budgeted amounts for the legal and personnel departments for the last five years.

Year ending 6/30        Personnel department             Legal department        Total

2010                            $253,164                                 $363,867                     $617,031

2011                            $262,491                                 $340,841                     $603,332

2012                            $211,582                                 $391,606                     $663,188

2013                            $225,346                                 $420,279
additional appropriations  12/2012                                   70,000                     $715,625

2014                            $146,477                                 $487,769                     $634,246

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