Search The Tattler

Monday, May 10, 2010

Budget Hocus Pocus Revealed

Police Overtime Pay Drastically Cut? Oops, Not.

It seems the pencil pushers at City Hall are wanting to show some progress in the fight to reduce the budget deficit, or perhaps at least give the apearence of a reduction. An Emeryville resident has uncovered what appears to be a fiscal shell game conducted by City Hall meant to highlight a new regime of fiduciary prudence in the city's budget.

Emeryville resident and UC Professor Brian Carver revealed the budgetary legerdemain in a strongly worded May 7th letter to the council. The letter showed the police overtime pay went from $444,274 in 2007-08 to $579,675 in 2008-09. In 2009-10 the 'Estimate to Complete' is $600,000 and a 2010-11 budget (as well as a 2011-12 budget) of $174,000. He pointed out, "Instead of spending the $600,000 we spent over the last year on police overtime, we are budgeting just $174,000, a more than 70% reduction".

"At first glance, this appears to be excellent news" he extolled but added, "The truth is something else entirely". In an entry eerily similar to George Bush's war budgeting tactics, Mr Carver reveals the same budget line shows that in 2009-10, we also budgeted just $174,000 for police overtime and nonetheless ended up over-spending that budgeted amount by more than 244%.

This problem was discussed at the April 16th Finance Committee meeting and the recommendation was made that the Chief of Police be required to return to council and request authorization for additional overtime if the budgeted amount is exceeded in the coming year. Mr Carver points out how this idea is flawed in its implementation, "In October or November when the Police Chief comes to the council and says they have exceeded the budgeted amount for overtime and requests an additional budget allocation, what will the council say? At that point it will be too late and the council will have little choice but to approve the additional overtime".

Police Department personnel have indicated much of the overtime pay can be attributed to just two sources; the Bay Street Mall and Kitty's, a cabaret on Hollis Street near the Berkeley border.

Brian Carver, a professor at the School of Information at UC, lives with his wife and two children in the Triangle neighborhood. He and his wife have long been advocates for the Child Development Center and their children attend the Center.


  1. Why is the Bay St Mall a resident problem? This elephant was sold to us as the East Bay retail gem which would solve all of Emeryville's problems. (Many of us were not fooled for a moment.) Why are we paying for the police to watch over a shopping mall? The cost of this and Kitty's should be part of both of their business expenses and not residents' expenses.
    So we pay the police overtime for covering a shopping mall and a drinking den, and then the piggy-bank is empty and we have no money for families and children. Let's hear it for the business community of Emeryville--profit, profit, profit on the backs of the residents, and not one of them stepping forward to help the children's center become solvent.
    But what can we expect: we have a city manager recommending that we let the center go. He is responsible for recommending building this little empire of business hogs at the trough. He was after all the redevelopment agency overlord. And on that matter, how much money comes from the general fund to pay for the interest on bonds for the redevelopment agency debt?

  2. The Tattler keeps posting stories that tell the tale of corporate welfare in Emeryville. Stories about how the residents end up paying for the businesses and about how they practically have to hold bake sales for anything for resident livability. I've noticed some residents comment supporting the status quo. They don't question the Tattler's findings, they just support the council in the face of the mountain of anti-resident status quo.

    Who are these residents? What is the phycology of someone who has no sense of self worth like this? There seems like there's some deep seated phycological problems here.

  3. And you have some deep seated spelling problems.

  4. It may be a city problem to enforce the law at these two commercial sites, however, hiring a few new officers dedicated to these particular tasks would be far less expensive than paying time-and-a-half overtime. More bang for the buck, or fewer bucks to make the same bang.