Fish or Cut Bait
The culmination of months of work by the mayor and Board of Aldermen of The City of Frederick will come to fruition in the very near future with the adoption of a budget for Fiscal Year 2006, which begins on July 1.
Of course, in the course of normal events in Frederick’s City Hall, the only budget adopted may, in fact, be the one the mayor proposed in March – without a single change.
This could happen if the aldermen don’t agree among themselves to make some changes, and if the mayor doesn’t decide to veto whatever action is taken by the aldermen, thus allowing her budget to become law.
Three of the four aldermen have made suggestions for changes to the mayor’s proposal. There have been objections to every proposition made and – it seems – from each of the other aldermen.
Unfortunately, those objections have been made primarily based on who made the suggestions, and not on the merits of the recommendations. That is simply a reflection of the atmosphere which has settled over City Hall for most of the past three-plus years.
It is time to put aside petty differences. It is time to stop speculating on the reason an elected official made a suggestion or a remark. It is time to do the people’s business and to forget personal and personality differences.
Get the job done. We are tired of hearing the petty bickering from all of the aldermen, including one who simply sings the chorus to another’s song.
We at www.thetentacle.com have compiled a list of suggested additions and subtractions made by members of the Board of Aldermen. We have not labeled any as being made by any particular alderman. We have just listed them in alphabetical order.
We suggest that before the budget comes up for adoption, the Board of Aldermen conduct an open workshop – WITHOUT the mayor in charge – to hash out needed compromises and WITHOUT the senseless, and often nonsensical, backbiting and squabbling that has marked recent session of the mayor and board.
This session should be conducted in the presence of a police officer who is instructed to remove anyone who disrupts the meeting – other than an alderman himself or herself. And these elected officials should be mindful that there will be differences of opinion during the discussion and accept that without rancor.
It is our view that every proposed budget needs changes. And elected officials and/or bureaucrats who doesn’t bloat their prepared budget by at least 10 percent before it is presented just isn’t doing their job. So in the case of the proposal made by the mayor for next year, there should be nearly $5 million in fat.
It’s time for the aldermen to forget each other’s shortcomings and work together for the benefit of all the City of Frederick and not just their friends or favored employees.
So here is the list to be considered. It’s time to fish or cut bait.
Proposed changes to Mayor’s Budget
Delete JOBS (aldermen suggested restoration of positions)
Police Department Administrative Assistant
Assistant Engineer for Design Review
(Some objections but nothing in writing)
Benefits & Compensations Analyst
(Benefits & Compensation Analyst)
Director of Human Resources
(Director of Human Resources)
Director of Budget & Director of Purchasing
Director of Recreation (Director of Recreation)
Division Manager Water/Sewer
Police Department Fiscal Affairs Manager
(Police Department Fiscal Affairs Manager)
Police Department Facilities Maintenance Worker
Management Analysis & Comm. Outreach Specialist
Recreation Parks Enforcement Officer
(Recreation Parks Enforcement Officer)
Public Information Office
(Some objections but nothing in writing)
Purchasing Department Buyer
(Purchasing Department Buyer)
Parks Supervisor Grounds Maintenance
(Parks Supervisor Grounds Maintenance)
Superintendent Golf Course
SAVINGS SUGGESTED BY ALDERMEN
Add Unanticipated Police Dept. State Aid – Adds $82,438
Correct Clerical error In Police Dept. Budget – Add $43,997
Don’t Hire New Chief of Legal ‘til 4th Quarter – Saves $68,743
Eliminate Aldermanic Raises – Saves $32,420
Eliminate Mayor’s New Scheduling Assistant – Saves $45,028
Eliminate Open DPW Grade 2 Positions – Saves $32,820
Eliminate New Planning Technician – Saves $54,790
Eliminate Vacate PIO Officer at Police Dept. – Saves $32,819
Eliminate Senior Tax Relief Program – Saves $200,000
Eliminate Wellness Incentive Program – Saves $83,431
Eliminate New Executive Asst. for New Mayor – Saves $32,550
Savings from Health Ins. Costs as People Leave – Saves $17,000
Reduce Code Enforcement Blight Abatement by $100,000
Reduce Education Commission Funding by $12,500
Reduce Neighborhood Advisory Council Funding by $12,000
Reduce Professional Services for Legal Dept. by $70,000
Reduce Funding for Weinberg Center for Arts by $25,000
Unexpected Resignation Step 8 Police Dept. Officer – Saves $28,796
Unexpected Resignation of DPW Administrator – Saves $28,875
FUNDING INCREASES SUGGESTED
Big Brothers/Big Sisters – Add $20,000
Boys/Girls Club – Add $20,000