Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Truth About Mayor Whaley's Salary Freeze

The City of Dayton has a compensation board made up of five people who meet once a year between August and November to discuss the compensation of the mayor and commissioners. The members of this board serve four year terms. One member must be from organized labor, one from business, two from a citizen participation organization and one from the community at large. The compensation board was voted into the city charter in 1982. Early in 2010 I proposed that the commissioners and myself take a pay cut since things were looking bad for the City at that time. Joey Williams had no problem with the idea but felt that Commissioner Whaley and Commissioner Lovelace might since their salary was their only source of income. So nothing happened and the subject died until later that year when the compensation board met and I was asked to meet with them.

So I was asked by the compensation board if I agreed with their recommendation of "no increase" for the salaries of the city commission. I told them that they should require us to take a pay cut since the rest of city staff were being asked to take a 3% cut in order to keep their jobs. The look on some of their faces was priceless. I think I actually earned respect from one of them. All were appointed by the former mayor of course and none demonstrated any loyalty to me. They decided that they would recommend there would be no increase to the city commission regardless of my opinion. However, the word got out that I proposed a decrease and the four commissioners realized that if the recommendation of the compensation board was brought up at a public commission meeting then my recommendation would also come up and I would look like a hero in the eyes of the public. Since their mission was to get Commissioner Whaley elected as mayor in 2013, they had to prevent me from becoming popular. So it was agreed that we should voluntarily reduce our salaries in line with the rest of the staff. This made us all look good in the local news and the compensation board never presented their recommendation in 2010. So the whole pay reduction would never have happened if I had not forced the issue with the compensation board recommendation.We voluntarily reduced our salaries again for 2012 so the compensation board recommendation was never public. In 2013 we passed a budget granting staff pay increases. So in 2013 we did not reduce our salaries a third time. They went back to  2010 levels.

I got to appoint three members of the compensation board during my lame duck administration in August 2013. Having worked with the commissioners for almost four years I got to see first hand how little they actually do with regards to initiating policy. None of them did the very basic job of reading the agenda material every week. I know this because I appeared to be the only member of the commission that found the mistakes. Most were typo errors but some of them were big money mistakes or piss poor math calculations. I always got them fixed before the Wednesday meeting so no one would be embarrassed publicly. There were a few meetings where the commissioners asked questions that indicated they had never read the material. If they had, they would not have asked the questions they did.

I specifically told my appointed board members not to recommend an increase in salary because this commission did nothing outstanding to deserve it. They did it anyway because they felt we had
handled the recession very well. I would not benefit from any increase since the voters had elected Commissioner Whaley to be the next mayor when the recommendation of the compensation board came before the commission at a public meeting in November 2013. In a 4 - 1 vote the commissioners voted to increase their salaries. I was the NO vote. Nan Whaley had campaigned on the fact that she had taken a pay cut during her term. (You now know why she took the pay cut and that it was for only two years.) When I challenged her on this at that public meeting she agreed that since she had campaigned about this issue that she would not take the pay increase. So, in 2014 her salary increased by some $7,000 as a result of becoming mayor and while she has frozen her  mayor salary at the 2013 level and not taken any of the  subsequent pay increases she has cost the tax payer much more money by attending many charity dinners and benefits that the commission office has to pay for. Those tickets are not free. She has also taken trips to several sister cities and attends several meetings around the country associated with the US Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities. Those trips are paid for with income tax dollars. If she is re-elected in 2017 she will release her salary freeze and be compensated at the 2018 level for the mayor's compensation. She will continue to spend tax dollars on travel and events so that she can be seen in public and give people the impression that she is actually working when in fact she is socializing and scheming.

So I noticed that this year the mayor appointed three new members to the compensation board. My three appointees have been replaced in the third year of their four year term. Interesting. These new board members recommended a pay increase the same year that the administration got an income tax levy increase passed. I was pleased to see that Joey Williams voted "NO" on the pay increase. This is the first time I have ever seen him vote NO on a city commission item and the first time I have seen Ms. Whaley vote in disagreement. Maybe there is hope yet but in all of his 15 years on the commission he has only really done two things that stand out. He initiated monthly financial briefs and he initiated the community police council in July 2011. (Only after Kylen English leaped off the Third Street bridge while escaping from a police cruiser.)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Do You Want to be Mayor or Commissioner?

Let's look at some facts right now. If Nan Whaley wants to hold a job she has to run for mayor again. Why? Well Hillary lost the presidential race and Ohio is controlled by Republicans so her her opportunities to weasel her way into the Clinton administration dried up and her Ohio opportunities went away with Ted Strickland. She already has people collecting signatures for her. They were chasing people down after they voted at the polling stations on the west side of Dayton. I saw it first hand. I hope she wasn't using GOTV funds to pay the signature collectors. That would be deplorable.
In four years she will be easily defeated. People will be tired of her just as they were with Rhine McLin. Right now, well she has screwed up several times but the vast majority of Daytonians will be willing to grant her a second strike. Trust me when I say she will achieve very little. Look at her last three years and realize nothing new has really happened. Everything currently is carry over from the 2010 - 2014 administration. If you want her gone, along with two commissioners there is only one course of action. Get 5 to 8 people on the ballot to oppose each candidate. This is not about winning or holding the title. This is about creating an elimination process. The Dayton Commission and Mayor race is non partisan. Party affiliation should not come into play. Each candidate is required to live in Dayton and get 500 valid signatures from registered voters from Dayton in order to get on the primary ballot. This means that you need 750 to 800 signatures from Dayton voters in order to secure a ballot seat. Signatures must match those that there placed on the voter registration cards. They can not be printed. The primary is a run off election. The two highest vote getters go on to the general election. If the primary has many contestants the votes get diluted such that the incumbent could lose. This is what happened to me because people did not understand how the election works. So imagine what would happen if Scott Sliver, Daryl Fairchild, David Greer, David Esrati and I were to run in the primary against Nan Whaley. None of us wish to do this of course but look at how the votes would go across the board. Nan may not be one of the two highest vote getters and would become a lame duck mayor. In order to get 800 signatures you need to recruit ten people to get you 80 each or you get them yourself before February when it is cold outside. This will require knocking on 8000 doors over 80 hours in order to get 10 signatures per hour. The voter walking lists can be downloaded at Trust me when I say that I have done this enough times that this is the only way to ensure valid signatures and effective and efficient campaign strategy. If you have some money to invest, buy some door hangers to leave with those voters that were not at home stating who you are, what you are running for and that you will want their vote in the primary. This saves you having to come back to campaign the neighborhood that you sought signatures from. So, to make a difference because there are three seats up for grabs in 2017, 15 people or more have to step up and throw their hat in the ring. The worst case scenario is that you lose but have name recognition for future political campaigns. Again the goal is to overturn the current administration, not necessarily to win. I have proven three times that money does not gain votes. Do not focus on money. Focus on issues, publicity and grass roots campaigning. The incumbents will spend ridiculous amounts of money so they don't have to do this. That is why you should do it. If anyone is interested in this opportunity, message me back. I will be happy to get you petition forms and walk you through the process. I am not willing to do this at this time because I have personal things to take care of over the next two years but will be happy to educate anyone on the process in the hope that they can have a positive impact on Dayton.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Vote NO on Issue 9. Here is Why.

The City of Dayton wants to increase the local income tax from 2.25% to 2.5% so that it can raise an additional $11 million to spend on services that 60 to 70% of the people paying the tax will not benefit from because they live in suburbs outside the city limits. I wouldn't want the citizens to be hoodwinked. Let's study this more closely. Here is what the ordinance states regarding the use of the funds.

The City is paying the general fund the first $6.7 million. To be vaguely used for services that they already provide. To the extent of available funds they are giving $4.3 to a private non profit to fund one year of affordable pre-school to what amounts to 750 children. That is $5,700 per child. If there is surplus after that, well, it goes into the general fund as well. There is no guarantee they will use the money for what they are telling us it will be used for. Here is what the local paper stated in June.

"The tax increase will help close a $5 million funding gap. It also will pay to maintain fire services, add about 20 police officers, roughly triple the amount spent to pave and resurface residential roads, improve parks and better maintain vacant lots, said Shelley Dickstein, Dayton’s city manager." ....."The city is earning the same amount of money as it did in 1998, which is insufficient to sustain current service levels and pay for strategic investments, Dickstein said."

You can see by this ordinance passed on September 21, 2016 that things have already changed. There are no dollar amounts assigned to policing, road repairs or park improvements. Here are reasons to vote NO on Issue 9.

1) First and foremost you would like to trust your government, right?  Actually they are misleading you. We need to  realize that the city general fund budget for 2016 is $160 million. In 2009 it was $160.7 million. So we are operating at pre recession levels not 1998 levels when the population in the City was considerably higher.

2) We also need to ask if the 20 police officers are in addition to the current force or if they replace 20 officers that have retired. Oh wait. The ordinance doesn't state they will be adding 20 officers. That is all hot air.

3) There is no funding gap. This is a proposed budget on paper. They can balance the budget with no tax increase. They just can't do extra things they want to do.

4) The City just approved a bond issue on 9/21/2016 for road repairs totaling $5.4 million and $4.4 million for new vehicles. If the tax increase is approved they will spend the bond money now and use the extra tax funds to pay the interest on the bonds.

5) The police department budget has only increased 3.26% since 2013 while the City manager office and commission office budgets have grown over 19% in the same time frame. If fire department budgets are to remain constant at $38.5 million a year, why do we need more money to fund something that isn't planned to change?
You need to ask Mayor Whaley who paid for her trips to Germany and Bosnia in the last year. Staff could visit sister cities. The mayor needs to focus on Dayton. The Commission office budget in 2013 was $960,973. In 2016 it is $1,144,900. A $183,927 increase. Why? The City Manager budget has grown by $221,283 since 2013. We lost Tim Riordan. We lost Warren Price. We lost Stanley Early, an assistant City Manager. Since March 2013 the law, director, fire chief, economic development director and the public relations director have all left. Between 2010 and 2013 no department heads left on their own accord. A building services director was fired for wrongdoing.

6) The pre-school promise, which is a noble idea, will get a fixed amount of $4.3 million (if the funds are available). It will not solve the problems in Dayton Public Schools. A year of pre-school for children who's parents can't afford to drive them to school and for which there is no legal requirement for the public school to provide transportation will not work as long as these same children suffer from food insecurity AKA hunger. If the difference between school lunch and school breakfast the next morning is 20 hours and there is no food at home, these children will never learn because they are trying to stay alive and learning has little or no value when you are in survival mode. This portion of the tax increase does not address one of the main reasons children in Dayton fail to graduate. It would be more effective to provide every one of the 6700 babies born in the county a copy of Dr. Tizer's "Your Baby Can Learn" DVDs at $50 each if bought in bulk and award the parents a $200 income tax credit if their child is reading by age 3. This would cost $350,000 the first two years and less than $2 million a year after the third year and impact the entire county, not just the City of Dayton residents. By age 3 most of the county children would be kindergarten ready if they watched those DVDs starting at 3 months old.

7) The purpose of city government is to provide safety services to citizens. Not education and not economic development. Education is the responsibility of the school district and the state. Economic development should be handled by the Chamber of Commerce. Right now your tax money is being squandered on real estate speculation around the central business district and development is being steered and controlled by government.

Vote NO on Issue 9 and force this administration to go back to the drawing board to find ways to use your money more effectively and efficiently to solve real problems.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Election Year Facts - From 1936

Eighty years ago there were no TV sets in peoples houses and no internet to feed you lies in an instant. Instead, people read things and listened to the radio. In today's political climate it seems that the mission of a political party is to stop the other side from doing anything that benefits the public. They use scare tactics and offensive negative advertising to sway your opinion. Facts and truth have little meaning any more. It used to be that the Democrats were challenged with helping the average working man achieve the American dream and the Republicans helped the average businessman to do the same. I found this old brochure from 1936. It is interesting because it lists issues and it appears that both parties are focused on solving those same issues. They just have slightly different ways to go about it. This was pretty much the way it was until the late 1960s and early 1970s when politics was no longer for business minded people who wanted to help the people. Instead it was about big money, a life long career at the tax payers expense and helping friends and family get what they want and not what the people need. Think about this as we vote in two weeks for who we would like to make decisions for us, and again in November when it REALLY will affect your future.

The last page explains the Electoral College in simple terms and tells you why we have an ass and an elephant as symbols. Enjoy!