It’s Only (Our) Money

06Jun11

To the order of CBG Strategies

Job Posting: Chief, Stratford Fire Department

Yet again, Mayor Harkins is bypassing the Town’s Human Resources Department and hiring CBG Strategies to conduct a “search” for a new Fire Chief. How much will this one cost? $10,000? $20,000? We can see why Harkins asked for $100K+ in his proposed budget for “employee recruitment”. If only we had a Human Resource Director who knew how to find and hire qualified candidates.

What makes this unnecessary expenditure especially egregious is that within seconds anyone, really anyone, with any knowledge of the SFD could identify at least half a dozen candidates that would make an exemplary Fire Chief.

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29 Responses to “It’s Only (Our) Money”

  1. 1 mikereynolds

    As everyone knows I’m a Harkins supporter and friend.

    But I agree with Jezebel on this one. There is no need to hire CBG. Nothing improves morale more than hiring from within. Its not like we have a lack of candidates right here in Stratford.

  2. 2 jezebel282

    Mike,

    “But I agree with Jezebel on this one.”

    Thank you. As with most budget expenditures, my first reaction is what else could this money have been spent on? For example, in a Town with a large senior population it is amazing to learn that not a single patrol car has a portable automated electronic defibrillator (AED) in it. It would not surprise me if CPR and the use of an AED is not a PD requirement. Instead of spending $10,000 or more on a consultant to find candidates when you could walk across the street and find a bunch of them, you could spend less than that and equip patrol cars with AED’s.

    What the hell, you might even save a taxpayer’s life.

  3. 3 1george1

    We may have great candidates…. I do not disagree.

    I do not like wasting money either.

    There are processes and procedures normally followed.

    Regardless who gets picked, some people will claim politics.

    Many of the anti-Burturla people can be called hypocritical
    for using a similar patronage mentality.
    * John Burturla had a great resume.
    * Everything was part of the time table and plan, in my eyes.
    * I think he left about 2 years earlier than planned.

    Glad to see him gone.
    I prefer some people within the Dept.
    Nothing is certain.

    HEAT is on FIRE Dept.
    CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION into POLICE Dept. is long, long overdue.

    When “they” are ready, IF THEY CHOOSE,
    there are some, who have EVERYTHING to LOSE.

    It is not Euclidian to see the NUMBERS will NEVER WORK.
    Continuing along past paths would be FOOL and JERK.

  4. 4 jezebel282

    George,

    Umm…thanks for the input.

    “* John Burturla had a great resume.”
    The only part of his resume that counted was the “Buturla” part.

    After Miron’s Cybart, Cavanaugh, Maffet fiascoes it would just be a relief if for once the decision was made for our benefit instead of politics and someone having their hand out for our money.

    It would also be nice if department heads were able to do the jobs we paid them to do.

  5. 5 1george1

    “It would also be nice if department heads were able
    to do the jobs we paid them to do.”

    JEZE, It strikes me this request of yours is reasonable.

    Ergo, what do your think the chance is, that it will be done?

    JEZE a related question to your point:
    “it would just be a relief if for once the decision was made for our benefit
    instead of politics and someone having their hand out for our money.”

    Ready?

    If you or I were elected Mayor, is it likely”
    > decision would b made for public’s benefit?

    JEZE,
    Why not have a NOMINATING BLOG STRING?

    WHY NOT Let you and your readers POST their choice for MAYOR 2013?
    A) R epublican
    B) I ndependent
    C) D emocrat

    Who is BEST QUALIFIED?
    (Are there any qualified?)

    Who is MOST LOVEABLE?
    > Knocks me out

    Who is most ADMIRED?
    > (O’Connell can’t nominate himself.)

    Who knows the ISSUES best?
    > (Jimmy likely legitimately knows the issues best, since his allies
    helped create most of the problems.)

    Who likely has some realistic SOLUTIONS?
    > At least I have offered Solutions, for the Public Interest.

    My suggested (reasonable?) limitations
    > No anonymous nominees. Must have real name / Stratford address.
    Not important if they are interested or not.
    > No ficticious (DRAT – There goes my Alfred E. Newman)
    > No non human animals (Sorry sudds – I fear ROCKI)
    > Must be existing Stratford Resident

    What about it JEZE?

    – Think you can get those readers to TYPE.
    NOMINATORS can be ANONYMOUSe. 😉

  6. 6 jezebel282

    George,

    I would be happy if Harkins just called CBG and said, “You know what? Just cancel the order. I’ve got plenty across the street”. And then went out and bought 4 or 5 portable AED’s for the PD.

    To expect either the RTC or DTC to come up with a mayoral candidate that actually cares about citizens is beyond reasonable expectations.

  7. 7 1george1

    To expect either the RTC or DTC to come up with a mayoral candidate that actually cares about citizens is beyond reasonable expectations.

    Did I write for the RTC or DTC to come up with a mayoral candidate?
    That is no what I read?
    Please correct me, but this is what I sought:


    WHY NOT Let you and your readers POST their choice for MAYOR 2013?
    A) R epublican
    B) I ndependent
    C) D emocrat




    Who is BEST QUALIFIED?
    (Are there any qualified?)

    Who is MOST LOVEABLE?
    > Knocks me out

    Who is most ADMIRED?
    > (O’Connell can’t nominate himself.)

    Who knows the ISSUES best?
    > (Jimmy likely legitimately knows the issues best, since his allies
    helped create most of the problems.)

    Who likely has some realistic SOLUTIONS?
    > At least I have offered Solutions, for the Public Interest.


    My suggested (reasonable?) limitations
    > No anonymous nominees. Must have real name / Stratford address.
    (iT’S) Not important if the (NOMINATED) are interested or not.
    > No ficticious (DRAT – There goes my Alfred E. Newman)
    > No non human animals (Sorry sudds – I fear ROCKI)
    > Must be existing Stratford Resident


    JEZE IS IT Y O U R CONTENTION that there are NO CAPABLE & HONEST
    Republicans
    Independent
    Democrats

    in Stratford?

    Where did I write/type anything about PARTY NOMINATED?

    I wrote for your LEGIONS of READERS to do the NOMINATION?

  8. 8 jezebel282

    George,

    Sadly, most Stratford voters will always circle the bubble that has a “D” or “R” after the name. There is no evidence that they will ever do otherwise. It’s just depressing.

  9. 9 1george1

    There were ten in a bed and the little one said
    “Roll over, roll over”
    So they all rolled over and one fell out

    There were nine in a bed and the little one said
    “Roll over, roll over”
    So they all rolled over and one fell out

    There were eight in a bed and the little one said
    “Roll over, roll over”
    So they all rolled over and one fell out

    There were seven in a bed and the little one said
    “Roll over, roll over”
    So they all rolled over and one fell out

    There were six in a bed and the little one said
    “Roll over, roll over”
    So they all rolled over and one fell out

  10. 10 jezebel282

    George,

    “So they all rolled over and one fell out”

    The only problem with your allegory is that mayors and councils in Stratford keep making the bed bigger and keep sending us the bill. We always pay it without question.

    For example, if you look at the Harkins budget you will see that all employees of any department are simply lumped together and consolidated in a line called “Payroll-Regular”. It is impossible for any citizen to know who got that big raise and who makes chicken feed without tromping down to Town Hall (from 8 am – 4:30 PM, Mon-Fri) and filling out an FOI request. Nice. So much for open and honest, huh?

  11. 11 1george1

    Jeze,

    Please explain how to find the various ways each group gets straight
    pay and O. T.

    BoE:
    Base
    Step Increase
    Negotiated
    C. O. L. A.
    Special
    Paid Deductable
    Health % Paid by selves / % Paid by Taxpayer
    Health $ Paid by selves / $ Paid by Taxpayer
    Pension (by State)


    Police / Fire / PW / Other
    Base
    Step Increase
    Negotiated
    C. O. L. A.
    Special
    Health % Paid by selves / % Paid by Taxpayer
    Pension (Define Benefit)
    Pension (401 added)
    Annuity
    O. T.
    Call back
    Cash out
    Uniform Allowance > counted for Pension purposes 1/2008

  12. 12 jezebel282

    George,

    “Please explain how to find the various ways each group gets straight
    pay and O. T.”

    The easy way or the hard way?

    The easy way is to ask an employee. The hard way is to try to figure it out from the budget. The almost impossible way is to ask the HR Director or Finance Director.

    But there are a couple of things you have to remember about employment in this Town. There are no merit or proficiency increases. There is not even a standardized performance evaluation. There are also no civil service exams except those exams required by State law (Police, Fire, EMS). It would be unreasonable to expect talented, knowledgeable people to apply to positions that offer no chance of pay increases or promotions (unemployment has not always been 9.1%). So you have step increases. If they don’t get laid off first.

    Employees do not select their health plan. They have nothing at all to do with determining the types of plan. That is the sole decision of the Town or BOE administration.

    Note: BOE salaries are surprisingly straightforward:
    http://stratfordk12.org/images/customer-files/Personnel/2009-2010TeacherSalarySchedule.pdf
    http://stratfordk12.org/images/customer-files/Personnel/2010-2011AdministratorSalarySchedule.pdf

    To the best of my knowledge, the only department in Town that still offers a defined benefit pension is the Fire Department.

  13. 13 1george1

    Jeze,
    It takes intelligence to break down the complicated into simple terms.

    Conversely, my talents are reversed.

    Thank you for the explanation.

  14. 14 jezebel282

    Update:

    Stratford’s 2010-11 budget $2 million short
    Written by John Kovach
    Thursday, 09 June 2011 08:41

    Stratford faces a $2-million deficit in its fiscal 2010-11 budget, and has had its bond rating reduced by Moody’s.
    Chief of Staff Marc Dillon Tuesday confirmed that Moody’s “put us down a notch,” which he said “puts us in line with S&P.”
    More than half of the town’s deficit, Dillon said, can be attributed to reductions in state aid.
    http://stratfordstar.com/news/69376-stratfords-2010-11-budget-2-million-short.html

    OK, lemme make sure we have this straight: The taxpayers gave you 185+ MILLION DOLLARS with almost no questions asked and you OVERSPENT it? Even after laying off teachers and PW employees last year? You want even more this year (not including sewer use “fees”) and we are supposed to just trust you…again?

    Which begs the question: How stupid are we?

  15. 15 1george1

    Education >>>>>>>>>>> $ 92,402,182
    Municiplal >>>>>>>>>>> $ 61,882,060
    Pension >>>>>>>>>>>> $ 19,650,371
    Debt Service / Captial >> $ 11,344,289

    Town Employee Benefits
    Town Medical Insurance $ 12,251,928
    Social Security >>>>>>> > $ 1,750,000
    Annuity >>>>>>>>>>>>>> $ 1,100,000
    401 A >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> $ 658,000
    Medical Reserve >>>>>>>> $ 240,000
    Life >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> $ 100,000

    Board of Education >>>> FY – 2010 – 2011
    SALARIES >>>>>>>>>>>>>> $ 45,030659
    BENEFITS >>>>>>>>>>>>>> $ 16,539,558
    Special Ed >>>>>>>>>>>>>> $ 18,736,822

    Board of Education >>>> FY – 2011 – 2012
    SALARIES >>>>>>>>>>>>>> $ 44,676,230
    BENEFITS >>>>>>>>>>>>>> $ 17,478,857
    Special Ed >>>>>>>>>>>>>> $ 19,531,922

    > > > Federal LAW mandates the FEDS pay 40 %
    of SPECIAL ED – For over 1 decade they pay 14 %

    Add in the $ 87 million lost ECS up to 2009 election
    and more since then.

    Add in more BoE UNFUNDED MANDATED,
    unlisted & unbilled, annually

    Add in Minimum $ 5 million Town UNFUNDED MANDATED,
    unlisted & unbilled, annually

    Could AVCO TAXES have helped?
    Mobil + Dianon + Coke + Bargain News + whole list

    APRIL posted from March 3/4 of year

    TOTAL Board of Education 92,326,182
    67,390,994.68 YTD
    24,930,540.92 Avail

    From Town Council Chairman Malloy as BoE Chairman
    Estimated BoE HC PAID DEDUCTABLE 2009-2010 $ 2.9 Million
    Estimated BoE HC PAID DEDUCTABLE 2009-2010 $ 2.2 Million

    TOTAL Town Attorney 1,579,308
    1,579,308
    1,128,746.52 YTD
    (450,561.48) Avail

    FIRE
    Payroll – Regular 5,921,334 0
    5,921,334
    4,894,791.74 .YTD
    1,026,542.26 Avail

    FIRE
    Callback 1,280,560
    1,280,560
    1,764,684.16 YTD
    -484,124.16 Avail

    POLICE
    Payroll – Regular 4,057,631
    4,057,631
    3,387,186.61 . YTD
    670,444.39 Avail
    83.5%* Pct used

    POLICE Callback 350,000
    350,000
    296,866.60 YTD
    53,133.40 Avail
    84.8%* Pct used

    POLICE Special Officers/Events 100,000 0
    100,000
    230,904.77 YTD
    -130,904.77 Avail
    230.9%* Pct used

    POLICE Payroll – Supplementary 140,000
    140,000
    157,311.31 YTD
    -17,311.31 Avail
    112.4%* Pct used

    Shift Differential 124,460
    124,460
    105,418.70 YTD
    19,041.30 Avail
    84.7%* Pct used

    POLICE Payroll – Overtime 115,000 0
    115,000
    95,571.78 YTD
    19,428.22 Avail
    83.1% Pct used

    Police Private Duty 0 0 0
    811,611.70 .00
    -811,611.70
    100.0%* Pct used – This is 100 % reimbursed and NOT PENSIONABLE (so far)

    =====
    Unbilled & UNFUNDED MANDATES Annually estimated 3 Mils
    =====
    Estimated annual PENSION OBLIGATION $ 18.6 Million = 4.1 Mils

  16. 16 jezebel282

    George,

    Thank you. But you have yet to propose an actual solution to the pension obligation issue. I think you’ve pretty much identified it as a problem, now what?

    And by the way, you list the Town-side health insurance costs at $12,251,928 and the BOE healthcare insurance cost at $17,478,857 (You shouldn’t list the HSA as part of that and then list it separately again. It is not editorially responsible.) However you neglect to mention that the BOE employs far more personnel that the Town-side.

  17. 17 1george1

    SOLUTION is up to me?

    I copied facts.
    Only comments I made were related to certain police work/pay
    which are not PENSIONABLE.

    I also made comments on SPECIAL ED, UNFUNDED MANDATE

    OTHERWISE, I copied facts.
    There were NO explanation by Town, nor BoE.

    On BoE they do NOT break down Health Insurance, whereas the
    Town does break it down.
    What I posted was BoE Benefits.

    If you care to list the BoE Health Insurance, which I was going to
    email a request ….

    I do not know where the latest list of actual Town & BoE employees
    are, but I know that you and most people know there are about or
    more than 2 BoE employees for each Town employee.

    You gripe when I put in too much.
    You gripe when I have an oversight, which YOU consider relevant,
    and I took for granted.

    You gripe about spending our money.
    You wrote I was Journalistically irresponsible on HSA, yet I did NOT
    PLACE HSA in the post, since I can’t find it and they don’t answer
    phones at 11 pm at BoE….. 😉
    I am not a Journalist.
    However, I do more honest investigation and balanced presentation
    than anyone related to Stratford:

    More than and more balanced than:
    1 – You or any poster
    2 – Patch
    3 – Post
    4 – Star – who is the most balanced .

    Patch and Star get official press releases from government & business.
    so they cover more diverse than I do.

  18. 18 jezebel282

    George,

    “However, I do more honest investigation and balanced presentation
    than anyone related to Stratford:
    More than and more balanced than:”
    LOL! In your humble opinion.

    “SOLUTION is up to me?”
    Surely, after years of issuing warnings and condemnations of the Town Pension System, you must have formulated some solutions? I was simply asking you that as you share your concerns you might not also be willing to share your ideas for a solution.

    For example, I know that for the next couple of decades I must continue to make mortgage payments. Although I would like to simply stop doing that, it is my belief that my lender might not appreciate that and have a variety of negative (for me) remedies available.

  19. 19 1george1

    Jeze,
    Compare the line items in Harkins,’ Miron’s, Branyan’s,
    Feeney’s, and Barnharts’ Budgets like I have over the
    years and the conclusion isn’t BAD MANAGEMENT, it
    is intentional looting to decrease Stratford’s VALUE.

    My conclusions and suggestions would be mocked.

    They have been pro-offered continuously in your blog,
    in Letters to the Editor, at Public Forums, and in debates.

    I point out problems.
    I offer solutions.

    If people identify and agree with defined problems.
    They can see some obvious solutions, which include
    honest government, proper managment, and conduct.

    At least you no longer content only Mirons and Best are
    at fault and some you supported, did not deserve the
    trust you and other gave.

    Problems to Solutions?
    Defined benefit @ $ 18.4 m, with each mil $ 4.4 m = 4.25 mils

    See Health Care waste

    See Health care give aways

    Note UNFUNDED MANDATES

    Note Economic Exodus

    Note Attorney Abuse

    Note O. T. and extre pay / benefits abuse.

    The solutions are in front of you if you agree with what is a problem.

  20. 20 jezebel282

    George,

    “which include honest government, proper managment, and conduct.”

    Where can we get some of that?

  21. 21 1george1

    There are good and honest people in government and political parties.

    Until enough people choose to get involved and take over the political
    parties…….

    Not evey town is corrupt.

  22. 22 jezebel282

    George,

    “At least you no longer contend only Mirons and Best are
    at fault and some you supported, did not deserve the
    trust you and other gave.”

    Well, that’s not quite accurate. See: https://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/the-least-worst/.

    The primary reason Harkins is mayor is because he ran on a platform of “Anyone but Miron”. The same is true for Kevin Kelly. Apparently, the easiest way for anyone to be elected to anything is to have James R. Miron as your opponent. You don’t even need a position or a plan. It is obvious that Harkins doesn’t have one. I fear we will be subject to similar choices in the future. It is the nature of politics to use the taxpayer’s checkbook to reward friends and those who consistently reinforce anything that pops into your head.

    It is a constant refrain among poor managers that they tend to seek agreement and acclaim from those whom they hire. The rewards for that acquiescence can be substantial. You get silly ideas like “constituent liaisons” or perhaps conducting “economic development” in your spare time. You can almost hear it: “Great idea, John! Wow!”

    Truly excellent managers will surround themselves with people who will disagree with them often. It is the most efficient method of forging and effective plan.

  23. 23 1george1

    HAPPY FATHERS DAY to the gentlemen readers and their fathers
    and sons who are FATHERS, and to the LADIES, with their respective
    FATHERS (multi–generational)

    Jeze – you and I are prime examples of independent thinkers, noted above.
    We disagree more often than we agree.
    However we civilly argue political positions which we believe are RIGHT,
    FAIR, GOOD, and in PUBLIC INTEREST, including DEPARTMENTAL.

    To readers,
    I could NOT enter the BLOG to LOG back in.
    I contacted JEZE e-address.
    I was advised to go to the LOG IN at upper RIGHT corner.
    There I learned my BROWSER was outdated.
    JEZE (between the wisecracks) gave advice which indirectly
    allowed me to UPDATE my BROWSER. 😉
    -> Likely JEZE regretted same, as my BLOG POSTS were
    recently seen. 🙂
    -> I am still “E F F E C T U A L L Y” banned from the PATCH,
    for NOW. However, as the song lyrics go … “God is watching.”

    To Jeze points and my wisecracks:

    Jeze: The rewards for that acquiescence can be substantial.
    You get silly ideas like “constituent liaisons” or perhaps
    conducting “economic development” in your “spare time.”
    You can almost hear it: “Great idea, John! Wow!”

    George > Catholics are taught to genuflect.
    Due to past assistant, an new (and likely inappropriate) observation
    suggests reasons for dust on the knees.
    I am going to market a NEW… “EDIBLE BOOT n SHOE POLISH”
    for political sycophants. (or is it spelled psycho fans?)

    – – –

    JEZE: Truly excellent managers will surround themselves with people
    who will disagree with them often.
    It is the most efficient method of forging and effective plan.

    GEO: It looks like Jeze and I are disqualified based on Jeze’s definition.

    However, counter intuitive political, social, and financial implemented
    decisions work to the SHORT TERM ADVANTAGE of the class of the
    “political morlock complex.” Their motto: “I got mine.”

    Comment on Jim Miron’s political leadership and Lou Decilio’s political
    smoke and mirrors commentary in the Stratford STAR, letters to editor.

    My experience with Jim’s political rhettoric is that he can be correct about
    specific issues, while he is FRAMING those issues. However:
    > There are SINS of Commission and of Ommission
    > There are CRIMES of Commission and of Ommission
    > Debates unfettered with WHOLE TRUTHS can appear true, especially
    using variations of (bipartisan) “smoke and mirrors.”

    Lou DeCilio’s specific points about “smoke and mirrors” are prime examples
    of (bipartisan) usage of “smoke and mirrors.”
    As Republican Party Registrar, Mr. DeCilio is intimately involved in the direction
    of selection of Town Committee members and candidates for elected office.
    The Republicans have controlled most of the Town Councils, which CONTROL
    the PENSION BOARDS and RATIFY or REJECT Contracts, and also either
    DIRECTLY or INDIRECTLY selected Management, which controls ALL
    > Town Managers / supporting Mayoral elections
    > Town Department Managment appointees
    > Promotions and hiring within Town Departments

    The same is true of the Bored of EduKation. which hires Superintendents,
    who controls hiring and promotions.
    Further the Board of Education ratifies contracts, which are negotiated by
    their team of personnel.

    My opinion: is that the “problems of Stratford” are DIRECTLY related to Mr.
    DeCilio and his RTC, as well as certain DTC, like Mirons, Burturlas, and
    others: Locally + in the area + in CT. + in USA + WORLD WIDE, which come
    back to HAUNT Stratford, like artificially created ENERGY PRICING, DRUGS/
    CRIME, WAR+Profiteering, and political/business INSIDER TRADING

    Only due to Mr. DeCilio’s political activities, I have alluded to Lou as a DARTH
    VADER, who has chosen to SERVE the DARK SIDE of the FORCE.

    Moved to: https://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/the-dark-side-ii/#comment-16917

  24. 24 1george1

    Jezebel’s BLOG has been taken down from the PATCH?

    Jim Miron’s PATCH blogs stay up?

    Sorry JEZE, I suspect some people do NOT want what I post to be
    disseminated as I went back door on the PATCH, using your WEB
    SITE.

    Jeze has JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY.
    Jeze is not a PROFESSIONAL JOURNALIST.
    Hmmm. Draw your own conclusions related to ….

  25. 25 jezebel282

    George,

    “Jezebel’s BLOG has been taken down from the PATCH?”

    Whoa there, Buckaroo. I do not know that. I was invited by Chris Carroll to create a blog there, but I find I only have time for one free blog at a time.

    It is interesting that our old friend Fred Musante has taken to a media that he used to attack as “irresponsible”. I suppose if the Patch lets Miron post his drivel that Fred won’t be too far behind.

  26. 26 jezebel282

    Back to the topic:

    As we had mentioned previously, there are about half a dozen current and former members of the SFD that are qualified and more than capable of administrating the department. It would be interesting to note if CBG has contacted any of these individuals.

    My guess: probably not.

  27. 27 1george1

    1) It is my understanding Fred Musante freelances for articles.
    Examples:
    Interviewing with very brief profile of each LBW Commission Harkins
    appointees. 7 brief stories.
    Some of the booths at the replacement for Stratford Day.

    2) The blog that was on the PATCH is the same blog as this.
    So JEZE is NOT creating a NEW BLOG, just a DUPLICATE.
    It was on the Home Page which invites people to blog there,
    under the title MORE PATCH BLOGS.
    WANT TO BLOG ON THE PATCH?

    I looked for MORE. I found my ORIGINAL BLOG under CHRIS
    CARROLL, but NOT JEZE BLOG

  28. 28 jezebel282

    George,

    “I looked for MORE. I found my ORIGINAL BLOG under CHRIS CARROLL, but NOT JEZE BLOG”

    I suppose it is just something I’ll have to live with.

  29. 29 1george1

    Jeze,
    I am impressed.


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