PTC vote to cut 23 jobs unanimous

Fri, 02/20/2009 - 3:00pm
By: John Munford

Landscaping, mowing to be handled by contractor

Thursday night the Peachtree City Council voted unanimously to terminate 23 employees, eliminating their landscaping and mowing positions to save an estimated $840,000 next year.

The savings will come from having that work done by a private contractor, but those crews handle other tasks such as interior painting that will have to go undone or be handled some other way, City Manager Bernie McMullen has said previously.

After the unanimous vote was recorded, a large number of the 23 employees filed out of council chambers quietly and respectfully. Though the move has been expected for some time, that understanding did little to lighten the mood for the crowd.

The employees will receive a six-week severance package and will remain on city insurance for that time period. After that they will have an option to pay for COBRA insurance.

One of the employees has already been hired on by the city’s fire department, McMullen said.

Before the vote during the public comment portion of the meeting, resident Darlene Gulli said she was “ashamed” that the city was requiring the 23 employees to sign a separation agreement to qualify for their severance package.

“This is wrong,” Gulli said, adding that there are some big problems in the city “and you need to figure out how to fix them.”

The move was made to cut costs in light of a pending $3.5 million shortfall in the city’s 2009-2010 budget, officials have said.

The city has submitted bid documents to multiple companies to handle the landscaping and right of way mowing duties. One of those vendors has indicated it would look at the possibility of hiring at least some of the laid off employees, McMullen said.

The city put language in the bid documents that would require such hirings to be considered by whichever company wins the contract, McMullen said.

The vote from council came with very little discussion. After McMullen’s short presentation, Mayor Harold Logsdon noted the issue has been debated for several weeks and said he would entertain a motion.

The motion was made by Doug Sturbaum and seconded by Cyndi Plunkett. The vote was unanimous.

The terminations will go into effect March 6, McMullen said.

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Steve Brown's picture
Submitted by Steve Brown on Mon, 02/23/2009 - 11:38pm.

Very nice guys. One, as I remember, was the city's "employee of the year" a while back.

Most agree, it could have been a lot different if there had been some financial discipline.

Councilmen Haddix and Sturbaum are playing a bad hand they where dealt. The others on the council were given the best fund balances the city ever had on their first day.

Submitted by Ellie Mae on Wed, 02/25/2009 - 1:17pm.

I know at least one was employee of the year and has several years of perfect attendance. That means, hundreds of hours of unpaid sick leave that can not be cashed in, used, or transferred to other current employees that need it. What a waste of people, to just fire people that have years of hard working service. Would using a seniority list have helped? Maybe, I don’t know. Keep the hard workers and let go of the slackers. That could have been a more efficient way to do it. I know, I am forgetting about the lawsuits that would be filed. It is just too hard to do the "right thing" anymore.

Submitted by Nitpickers on Wed, 02/25/2009 - 3:56pm.

Unfortunately such workers, in an office, or mowing grass, aren't judged by the amount of hard work they accomplish, but only on embarrasing screw-ups!

If individual supervisors do not have the ability to sort good from bad workers, and they don't, then no sorting is done.

Also the definition of just what "hard working" means is different for everyone making the jidgement---for some just showing up regularily means "hard working!" Also, some are cut slack for being overweight, etc.
They must be sorted continually to be successful.

The 5-0's picture
Submitted by The 5-0 on Mon, 02/23/2009 - 4:46pm.

It's sad how these hard-working men and women have lost their jobs and will now be replaced with cheap Mexican labor.

I bet that's 23 families who will never say that illegal aliens have a right to work in our country!

Submitted by Nitpickers on Mon, 02/23/2009 - 6:17pm.

You are correct, however if the businesses and corporations would simply quit hiring the illegals they would go home!!! Fences are a waste of time.

The 5-0's picture
Submitted by The 5-0 on Mon, 02/23/2009 - 7:39pm.

The recession has also caused a huge amount of illegals to leave the country, but many remain (just check the paper to see how many Spanish-named people are arrested for driving without a license every week).

Gene61's picture
Submitted by Gene61 on Mon, 02/23/2009 - 12:08pm.

Just wait till a little longer, more cuts will be revisted. This is not the last time we'll see jobs cut, given how in the past money has been wasted and shortfalls are something we'll deal with for a few years.

The state is running a debt of over 400 million or so, no way Fayette can avoid any more layoffs in the future.

Submitted by Bonkers on Mon, 02/23/2009 - 12:35pm.

Of course you are correct!
It is sad though that they started the cuts with the lowest paid people!
Office work can also be contracted!

Submitted by Michael P on Mon, 02/23/2009 - 11:41am.

I meant to give the 23 workers the contract at the price agreed by the contract company and they would run their own business. If they are saving that much money, I would think they would do real well for themselves and maybe better than they did as emploees of the city? I'm a fan of the workers!

Submitted by Bonkers on Mon, 02/23/2009 - 12:33pm.

I understand that you mean well for the laid off workers. I regret that they had to be the first to go also.

However you must not raise false hopes about them forming their own company and getting the job. They will not be able to do so.

It would take hundreds of thousands of dollars for equipment purchases, insurance, etc., to get started.
If out front capital weren't required for most any new company, then many of us would go into business!
Anyway, due to the bank problems, there is no money now available for such a start-up.

Submitted by Michael P on Mon, 02/23/2009 - 8:23am.

Why not offer them the money to work as independant contractors and save the money too! Another company willing to do it, is doing it for a profit. Just basic addition. One plus one is two.

Submitted by Bonkers on Mon, 02/23/2009 - 10:51am.

They would not get the fringe benefits that way--Town probably pays 10-12,000 a year for the insurance, also they pay unemployment tax and Social security. Independents pay twice as much social security

Also, They would have to carry their own accident and damage insurance and furnish all of the equipment and tools.
Town is not going to furnish independents tools, etc.

Then, they currently make maybe 14-15 dollars per hour
contractors pay about 9-10 dollars per hour.

There also would be no vacations and no suck leave and no nothing!

These kind of jobs were set up for Mexicans and people who can't get another job or want a temporary job.

Submitted by shafted2 on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 7:04pm.

Well, I haven't been on here in a while. I read, but have not commented in a while. I'm honestly just glad it is all over. I think that the city council members are ALL heartless people and they will get what's coming to them. What goes around comes around. If it weren't for their inability to manage husband would still have his job. Ya know, honestly, I don't want him working there any more anyway. Why would he want to work for such people? Of course all of this time I have been pissed off, we all have (those getting laid off and their families), but I am done with it all. I have total faith that my husband will find another job. He has always busted his a$$ to support our family and he will continue to do so no matter what it takes. All of you on here puttin' down DarkMadam, get a life. She is another one who busted her a$$ for all of these guys. She did A LOT of research and the stuff she has said and posted are FACTS, I have seen the documentation. Just because Haddix says its so, its not! He is just trying to cover his own butt and Haddix you know its true. I'm glad that all of them thought this was so hillarious, I hope they're still laughing because its not over....not all employees are giving up, they will continue to fight. I think the wonderful city of Peachtree City won't be "wonderful" for much longer. You have elected the wrong ones to run your city and YES, it is their fault. They are the ones spending the money, not the guys working there. Peachtree City is falling and it won't be long until its just another city and I couldn't care less. I hope it turns out to be the worst city in GA to live in, its got a good start! All of you posting your catty argumentative comments on here supporting PTC, you just wait - you will eat your words before too long, it has only just begun. Its gonna get ugly! I'm glad that my husband will be outta there soon....good luck to all of you guys. I know you have all done a great job and you will find something even better, don't give up because of this lame a$$ city. Its not the end of the world. Think positive and keep your heads up. Two more things... Whoever is asking Darkmadam why she is so involved, what does it matter to you? Why are YOU so involved and why do you care? In future council meetings, let's just see how much money they actually do save by cutting these jobs. I have to agree with most of you...I don't see the savings when they are paying someone else to do the job. Haddix, let's see if you can do the math for us the savings, I want it completely written out so that I know you are saving money...sorry, but I call BS!!! Prove it!!!

Submitted by AggieMom on Mon, 02/23/2009 - 9:24am.

Dear Shafted: While I read with heart-felt sadness that your husband was released from his job through no fault of his own, your words were filled with bitterness, anger, and were ugly and condemming, wishing bad tidings on our beautiful PTC and to all the wonderful, good people that live here and call it home. That is not a nice thing to do, shame on you. I know no words will make y'all feel better right now, but now that you've gotten this negativity off your chest, I pray your husband will find another job, even better, soon. I also pray that the hatred in your heart will soften with time. A.M.

Submitted by shafted2 on Mon, 02/23/2009 - 10:29pm.

You can read my feelings, good for you! You guessed them exactly right! Sorry, but this "hatred in my heart" is here to stay. The people on the council are all horrible people and are not capable of doing their job accurately. If they had done their job acurately, we wouldn't been in this situation. That's just a fact...the truth hurts, sorry that it hurt you if you live in are right, I do wish bad things on them because they brought bad things upon my family. Put yourself in our shoes. I sense your sarcasim and don't need YOUR prayers. Thanks anyway!

Submitted by skyspy on Mon, 02/23/2009 - 11:10pm.

You are right they are horrible. Vote themselves a raise and KEEP IT, while laying off others.

They are deaf to what the citizens want here. It doesn't seem to matter if we e-mail them personally or address them in the paper. They don't care what the residents want for our city.

I'm sorry for what has happened to your family. I can't even imagine what you are going through right now. I don't have any empty little sayings or trite cliches to write.....they wouldn't help anyway if I did know what to say.

You have every right to be mad, and you don't have to wish for bad things to happen here, they already are happening. This isn't the same city that people were willing to pay top dollar for to live here.

Submitted by shafted2 on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 10:07pm.

I do appreciate your comment. I do not wish bad things on the people of the city, but honestly, I do wish bad things on the council. That sounds so mean, but they deserve whatever they get. It is their fault that PTC is in the mess that it is in.
As each day passes, I feel a little better about everything (as far as my husband finding a job), he actually has an interview this Friday!
Have you noticed that Haddix will not respond to me? That is because he does not have an accurate answer. I just wanted to see the math to know that they were saving money by letting these guys go. I just don't think that they are. I am still very shocked that they are still going to keep their raises, they wouldn't dare take that away! Oh! And the whole "cobra" option is BS. Does anyone know how much it would cost?! How about over $1400.00 per month for our family! Kinda hard for folks to pay for that when they don't have a job! Bernie tried to make it sound like it was the greatest thing ever! You see that it is impossible for anyone to have it!
Really sky, I appreciate everything that you have said throughout this whole have really been supportive. I wish you and your family all the best!

Submitted by baroombrawl on Wed, 02/25/2009 - 5:22am.

That same 1400.00 dollars per month that COBRA costs is about what is paid for all County employees insurance, I think.
That is $16,800.00 per year.
I'm not sure how much the employees pays of that but I think about $100 per month or 1200.00 dollars per year, or about 7%.

The teachers claim to have a special deal for much, much less. but I think it is just spread out over 3-4 entities and hidden.

When teachers poor mouth their fate (or Police) they never mention their benefits in dollars! What was that pension again---recessdion proof.

Submitted by Nitpickers on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 5:24am.

Well you get a better class of people when you pay them to work at town hall (whenever they want to)!

They will tell you it is because higher pay allows more people to want to run who need the money. Notice however it is not enough to live on but added to a town pension can accumulate a nice third dip bundle.

Timing of such raises means nothing to them.

DarkMadam's picture
Submitted by DarkMadam on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 8:15pm.

I appreciate your comments. Ya try to do a good thing and your motives get called in to question. Just remember, I have never done anything quietly.... not even go away. I really hope that everything goes well with your husband's job hunt. Maybe one day I can help. Ya never know!

Submitted by jackyldo on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 11:32am.

such hirings to be considered by whichever company wins the contract, McMullen said.

Is there any language in the bid documents requiring that these jobs be filled with people who are legally in this country and authorized to work here?

Submitted by OneWhoKnows on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 11:55pm.

The Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act of 2006 requires that contractors who do business with the government participate in the electronic work authorization verification (E-verify) program operated by the Dept of Homeland Security. Last July 1, it applied to companies with 100 or more employees. As of this July 1, it will apply to companies with 1 or more employees.

So, yes, under state law, the contractors MUST fill jobs on government projects (State or local) with people legally authorized to work in the United States. But WAIT -- there's more. The Act is not limited to just the employees working on the government contract. Employers who are awarded a government contract must verify the work authorization status of ALL employees in the company through the Dept of Homeland Security, whether they work on the government contract or not.

By the way, that means that the government won't get the savings they think they'll get by outsourcing the work to a private, for-profit entity (that the government secretly expects will use unauthorized workers to save money). The truth is that they never do. But it sure makes good campaign donors out of the business community.

PinchedNerve's picture
Submitted by PinchedNerve on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 12:23pm.

Even if that language does exist it is almost guaranteed to be week and unenforceable. Just enough to keep people quite.

"I shacked up with a man before I was married. His name was Jesus." -Scrubs

Submitted by idk_revisited on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 12:29pm.

First of all, can you people PLEASE CHECK YOUR SPELLING BEFORE YOU POST! Man, I feel like I'm grading 8th grade papers here...

"McMullen Doesn't Look Out for Others"....well, I guess they don't have to have a severance package. I guess that they could've just come in and said, "Thanks for your service, you're fired" with no additional benefits or anything else.


The proletariat is being abused by the bourgeoisie again! Call Karl Marx!

PinchedNerve's picture
Submitted by PinchedNerve on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 3:08pm.

He got them six weeks. That doesn't make him a saint. He did just enough to minimize public outcry. However, you are correct. He does take a lot of abuse for things that the city council and mayor should be blamed for. That doesn't mean he is a good city manager or that the next council should allow him to keep his job.

I would also like to say that I agree it is unfair that the city staff (not including Bernie) gets blamed for so many of the city councils shortcomings. The accountants just add the numbers using the software given to them. The grass guys just cut the grass with the equipment provided.

In the end it does not matter of the guy’s id a good job or not. The decision was about efficiency. If you can get the job done for 5 why pay 8? This should have been done years ago to prevent our current budget problems. Mayor Logsdon campaigned on the idea of a more efficient government almost four years ago. What has he done since?

As for the spelling error, get over it.

Submitted by mthom5436 on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 2:12pm.

Reguardless of how you feel on the subject it is kind of refreshing to see a vote thats not 3-2. The Stooges to the Dondoug.

Submitted by Spyglass on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 10:05am.

I would have thought there would have been a better way.

Obviously, even our one know it all commissioner/blogger couldn't figure it out. No 3-2 vote on this one.

borntorun's picture
Submitted by borntorun on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 11:19am.

My thoughts exactly, Spyglass...guess if DonDoug voted for it it must be a good thing!

Seriously, I do feel bad for the employees. However, PTC is not the only govt entity looking at contracting out services. The fact is it is a more cost effective way of doing these types of services.

And as for the wailing and gnashing of teeth about the "quality" of work, I'm sure expectations will be detailed in the contract and failure to meet those expectations will result in no payment.

PinchedNerve's picture
Submitted by PinchedNerve on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 11:46am.

First let me say, I also feel bad for these men lossing their jobs. I did about two weeks of community service with them several years ago and I remember them being a great group of guys. Most of them were pretty goos workers but a few of them were real screw offs. Anyway, I don't see the quality of service getting any worse. Let face it, the guys pretty much just did a good enough job. I live in Kendron Village. The grass around Lake Shirewood never gets mowed. The big landscaped are on the south side of Kendron Drive next to Lake Shirewood has been overgrown for years and is always full of weeds. The entrance to my subdivisin is also overgrown. During the summer I can barley see to get out.

The point is being a good group of men is not enough. People are getting laid off all over why should these men be spared. If we can save money by letting them go then I think its the right choice. and if this is going to save us as much money as we are being told then the real questin should be; Why wasn't this done years ago? That was a major part of Logsdon's campaign. Wasn't it? A more efficient city government.

"I shacked up with a man before I was married. His name was Jesus." -Scrubs

DarkMadam's picture
Submitted by DarkMadam on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 3:54pm.

The city can not afford to pay these people (a good deal of which have been with the city 10+years) because of poor management of funds. They are only firing them in a very sad attempt to save their butts. There are documents in public records showing that their accounting practices are substandard. If just saving money is all that you are concerned with, then there are MANY places in the budget where it can be saved. Not by cutting services and personnel. The very people that do still have their jobs are the ones that make the decisions that kept your green areas from being cut. Not the guys that are being fired! Bless their souls, they are low men on the totem pole. The Indians, not the Chiefs. Their only job is to do what they are instructed to do. If there are issues in your area that are not being handled properly take it up with the people that make the decisions, not the fellows that are just trying to make a living, keep a roof over their families heads, and food on the table. They show up every day for work, many of them have several hundred unused sick hours. Loyal, dependable, hardworking, honest people just doing the best that they can. They did not deserve this. I am ashamed of what happened at the meeting last night. The one time that they all agree on something and it is the wrong thing.

Submitted by idk_revisited on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 10:44pm.

I've sat on the sidelines long enough on this one.

To say "accounting practices are substandard" without proper substantiation belittles a group of people (City Staff, Finance Directors, City Managers, etc.) who ALSO work hard every day to feed their families and keep a roof over their head in their CHOSEN PROFESSIONS. If you wish to place blame on the Council, do so, but STOP trying to blame the staff (and that includes the City Manager) that has consistently provided information to the Council detailing the inevitable consequences of not addressing the costs to cover services provided.

Council made their direction clear - do not raise taxes, even when more personnel were hired and a new multi-million dollar expansion to the library was passed by the voters. The City's professional management staff (that is, NOT THE ELECTED OFFICIALS) have presented cuts, and will continue to present cuts, to address the simple facts:

- Revenue is stagnant to declining, with no indications of positive change forthcoming.
- Expenses are increasing.
- The budget must be balanced.

If you cannot increase revenues, you must decrease expenses. The largest portion of any service-oriented business is personnel costs. If you believe there is a privileged list of protected employees or services (other than Public Safety, which has been identified by the City Manager as the level of service he is not willing to reduce) who will not be affected by the cuts proposed, I would suggest you are mistaken. Unfortunately, there is a myriad of services and LABOR that can be performed at or lower than the current expenses.

Will the quality of services be affected? ABSOLUTELY - some for the good and some possibly for the bad. But I don't see anyone pulling out checkbooks at City Hall to give donations to keep things at the level they are now. I hear a lot of people saying don't cut, don't cut, but I don't see them saying "Here, I won't go out to Starbucks this week, have a little extra money" to the government. You give lip service, but no action. You feed the political beast but don't actually produce anything fruitful. And yes, that can be said for Council too - past and present.

Yes, decisions are being made and some don't like them. I might recommend that most of the citizens, if polled, just don't care and want to live their lives.

No job is permanent, regardless of how long you've been it or how good you are at it. If you believe that you are entitled to employment regardless of financial situations or circumstances,'re not. Let's have a virtual show of many out there have been laid off before? Hmmm...I see TDK employees, NCR employees, Eastern Airlines, BellSouth....hey, there's a lot of you out there...

To blame this on the City Manager or to now claim malfeasance is what I see as reprehensible. Place the blame firmly on the shoulders of those you decided (or if you didn't vote, let others decide for you) to put into office, for that is where the blame shall always fall. They ignored the advice of staff, and now we all get to experience the consequences.

And one other thing, specifically, DarkMadam - your amount of postings on this topic over the weeks give me you have a specific vested interest in seeing these people's jobs saved? Are you the spouse, loved one or significant other of one of those affected? Your passion on this particular topic at this particular time makes me think that there is an ulterior motive to your postings...

I'm just so tired of all this uninformed, ignorant drivel, especially when so many of the answers are out there for those who take the time to actually read them.

Submitted by Ellie Mae on Wed, 02/25/2009 - 5:02pm.

But, maybe the side lines is a good place for you to be. You don't play well with others.

Submitted by intheknow on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 8:23pm.

Thanks for explaining the "dark" realities to DarkMadam, I was going to go there myself, but find you did an outstanding job summarizing it. Personally knowing several of the effected employees, I’m very sorry for them and don’t know what to say. The harsh reality is that without a dramatic tax increase in the millage rate, there will be even more city employee layoffs, probably in the not too distant future! And knowing of statements made by Council, I don’t see any millage increase coming. Many seem to throw blame at the City Manager (Mr. McMullin), but having attended many council meetings, and many more budget and Annual Council Retreats over the years, in his defense he’s told both the currant and past councils, millage increases were needed EVERY year since he’s been there. This having been presented by both him and Mr. Salvatore (City Finance Director) annually, that to maintain the level of services next budget year, the millage rate will have to increase by XX mills, or the following year they’ll have to increase significantly more (same statement / every year). Now six or seven years of NOT raising the millage, a reduction in sales taxes / downturn in economy, has only moved the inevitable budget shortfall up. It didn’t help things either that the previous council opted not to raise the "voter approved" bonds for the Library expansion, instead pulling that also out of the city’s general fund, further eroding what income the city had.
To all the other uninformed posters here, why not do some research before spouting off, as you can use your computers to look up the city’s budget document from last August, to see that these positions were already set-up for the chopping block. At that time it was worded that they would be ultimately eliminated through attrition, opting instead for contracting these services out, as contractors where already handling a third of this anyway. The economy only speed this up - yes, the City Manager was already looking for ways to improve efficiency of your tax dollars, but just didn’t want to eliminate (lay off) these dedicated individuals - only doing so when no other options existed. When there is no more money, assets will have to be cut, and the cities largest asset is their employees.
And I beleive the reason for the sudden blog posts of "DarkMadam" is her relationship with one of those affected employee's, her boyfriend.

Submitted by idk_revisited on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 8:40pm.

what department would you cut first in the next round? What department do you not touch?

Submitted by intheknow on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 9:31pm.

I would hope the council would do what's needed, and has been for several years - raise the millage, in order to maintain what is left. Any further cuts, from what I consider (and has been stated many times before) from one of the smallest staffed cities in Georgia (of similar sized populations) will only result in degrading what the city has been know for.
Any cuts to Recreation and all our amenities, Public Safety, Code Enforcement / Building Department will have an effect, just as I believe the loss of these 23 dedicated individuals will ultimately have a negative effect. It’s all up to our Council to make the decisions, and hopefully enough of our citizen’s voices will be heard, that they won’t stand for more reductions.
Than again, I remember the council meeting not long ago where user fees were discussed for city facilities. It was amazing how many people got up to speak objecting to any fee increases at city facilities, but then again these same people didn't want to increase taxes to cover – you can’t have your cake, and eat it too!
If you want everything the city has to offer, and want to maintain all the facilities, amenities and public safety, you’ll have to pay for it.

DarkMadam's picture
Submitted by DarkMadam on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 8:03pm.

But one day I "woke-up" saw what was happening in this world with the job losses, and decided that I could make a difference. I decided to start close to home. Call me naive but I honestly thought that PTC had the potential to be better, to do better. To find a way out of this mess without taking the same rutted road as all the others. I truly wanted to see these people keep their jobs. Other than living here I have no dog in this fight. Just tax dollars and pride for my city. It really is too bad it worked out this way. By the way, if you want to e-mail me, just sign into the paper, click on my screen name and DARN if it doesn’t just take you to a page where by clicking on "contact" my email address is listed publicly. Is yours.... no it sure isn't. I have never tried to hide from anyone. My opinions and concerns are just as valid as yours or anyone else’s. Go to the PTC web site look for the 2007 budget and on the last few pages there are strong concerns with areas (that are clearly spelled out) about the accounting practices. Have you ever printed out the budgets for this city for the last 3 years? Just to have this years printed at Staples was $17.00 and yes I paid for all 3 just to read them. I wanted to know. You can call me out when you have done as much research as I have. I’m a big girl and I can take it.

Submitted by idk_revisited on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 8:06pm., you aren't dating one of those who is being laid off?


DarkMadam's picture
Submitted by DarkMadam on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 8:08pm.

Again... sorry. Didn't work out. Still a nice guy though. They all are nice guys. I know several women that are dating these guys. Would it really matter?

Submitted by idk_revisited on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 8:22pm.

OK, well there ya go.

And so I went on the City's website, as you suggested, and I'm looking through the 2007 budget...and I'm missing the pages you are referring to...are you referring to the investment policies? Or maybe you're referring to the "qualified opinion" (I think that's what it's called) that the City got when the DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY was found to be lacking in good accounting standards (which I don't believe is in this document).

I think a history lesson is in order - the reason the City was harmed on this was because another government agency (NOT THE CITY PROPER) wasn't doing its job. That's been fixed, as soon as it was discovered. I guess that is one good thing Steve Brown did (caused enough headaches to cause the Development Authority to implode and have to be reconstituted with all new membership and better oversight).

And would your personal relationships with an employee matter? Well, it can certainly explain a motive. Other than you and about five other people NOT related to the affected employees (co-workers, friends, significant others), how many average citizens have said this is a bad thing? Not too many, unfortunately for those affected.

Yes, it's a shame that times are bad, but this outsourcing was PLANNED, and the only shame is the timetable was accelerated.

I have no reason to put my email address out there for whackos (yes, there are a few out there) to spam me or otherwise make contact with me outside of this forum. I like my privacy.

Submitted by Ellie Mae on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 8:55pm.

I read this everyday but never felt the need to chime in until now. I also followed the directions to the site and I get the same this from what is said. They screwed up! An accounting error is an accounting error. Either way it is taxpayer $'s that are being accounted for. Why the big issue with Dark's motives? What are yours? Why does this bother you so? You sound like you are an employee with the city to me. But that is just my humble opinion. Please don't shoot me for it. And to InTheKnow - well you seem the same to me, an employee. Didn't I just see that your were on the bad end of a feeding frenzy over racism on another story. Everyone is acting badly here. This is a BLOG. Opinions and such. If you don't like someone’s opinions and statements, well then, isn't this a great country we live in where EVERYONE is entitled to voice them and if you don't like them you can voice yours or choose to ignore theirs. Just try to be a little nice about it. KEEP YOUR WORDS SWEET... YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU WILL HAVE TO EAT THEM!

DarkMadam's picture
Submitted by DarkMadam on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 8:02pm.

But it has to be done

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 9:55am.

Concerning DarkMadam's claims and statements.

Our finance department has received rewards of excellence for many years in a row, including the last cycle.

The firm that was hired to do our audit reported to Council in an open meeting. They also commended our finance staff.

The long list of challenges of budget issues made at the Council Meeting were answered in an email to the questioner.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by nepotism on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 1:45pm.

The Finance Department has 10 or so people which is potentially the largest payroll per square foot in the city! I'm so proud that they won awards for keeping accurate books on a $3.5 million deficit!!! My hat is off to them, I wonder if the auditors will catch any of the China per diem expenses, it will probably raise a red flag when the receipts look like this (汉语/漢語

Awards don't = revenue. A handful of those that you voted to cut have received Employee of the Month and even Employee of the Year awards. So much for merit. Awards must mean something to you though? But you probably didn't know that any of those grass cutters actually did some good in the City and were honorable employees. You had the choice to cut based on Merit (Awards and Seniority Included) but you decided to just leave everything the way it was presented as if it was the only way it could be done. You aren't the only one to blame because 4 others also approved the measure, but since you are one to respond on here, I figured that you would answer some of these questions.

Lets see if any of City Hall staff actually work the 4th of July Parade instead of taking a long weekend with their families, now that all of the "4th of July hired help" that assist with the 4th of July has been laid off.

I've heard that if it were up to you Mr. Haddix we would only have a City Hall and not Library, Recreation, Fire etc, but I hope that's not true, maybe you can clearly explain what you would do if you are elected Mayor, will some city departments be a thing of the past on your watch?

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 3:44pm.

You are misunderstand my comments on the Finance Dept. It was in reference to Dark Madam's accusations of bad budgeting and the audit team noting significant issues. That simply is false.

As noted, our AAA+ rating, look long and hard to find others with it, didn't come through bad handling by finance.

The China trip expenses, unless something is hidden, are legal. As to should have been done, personal judgment by all.

Well, you know the reality of rumor to truth. All the departments are needed, in my view. Some things can be streamlined and made more cost effective, though. Never said otherwise to anyone at any time.

Some outsourcing isn't wise, such as code enforcement. We have deteriorating areas of PTC that need redevelopment, be it thorough upgrading and remodeling or replacement. I want someone dedicated to PTC out there looking into such matters.

Rec is good for PTC, but it sure needs to be efficient. Kedron Complex, in example, is funded 75% by taxpayer dollars, to the tune of $701,000 for 2009. That is about .4 mils of taxes if we just funded it via tax increases.

Never have you heard me say one word about the Library closing or such. When I said, at a Council Meeting, the money for the Kedron Complex was at an unacceptable level, which Logsdon and Sturbaum agreed with, Cyndi Plunkett said that by that thinking we need to close the Library, which I objected to as being a totally unrelated issue.

So, talk the Council Member Plunkett about the Library comment, not me. Also her comment was she would oppose changing Rec in any way.

Yes, I voted to cut the jobs, which should have been outsourced a few years ago, when there were other openings the workers could have moved over to. Too late now, but keeping those jobs would have been about a .47 mil tax increase.

Fact is the highway and some other areas have been being mowed by contract companies since last year. We have had no complaints.

Combine those and your looking at about .9 mil increase. Add in others under the pay for it by tax increase thinking and your looking at a 1.5 mil tax increase followed by a serious that will put us over 8 mil by 2013.

I ran for office because things needing to be done were not being done. Arguments were made during the 2009 budget process, in the first 5 months I was on Council, about numbers and actions I disagreed with.

But it takes 3 to win the issue. The 3 believed the economy was going to turn around in 2008. Did't happen. Then pushed it to early 2009. Didn't happen and the economic slide is increasing.

Adjustments have been made, but not as aggressively or as early as they should have begun, before I was even on Council.

So, when this vote came up I had to deal with the here and now reality. That was outsource the jobs or hit everyone with a 1.5 mil increase.

And no, those job cuts nor a .47 mil tax increase would covered it all. Even with the cuts we have done, plus some others being looked into, we are still going to have to do a .5 mil increase unless we find more places elsewhere, which I am doubting will happen.

Never was an issue of those jobs or a tax increase. Has been an issue, all along, of how much of a tax increase, not only now, but in the years to come.

Those job cuts are long term fixes, not short term plugs.

These issues didn't just develop since I was elected. Their beginnings go back a few years.

We need to get off the annexation and building more houses and retail bandwagon and onto the aggressively seeking good paying employers to locate here. Tough job but the reason I took on DAPC the first month on Council.

They are working hard on it and have some good potential irons in the fire. Not bad for still getting their whole operation up and running.

A lot to do and it won't happen overnight. You don't stop a train on a dime.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by nepotism on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 4:47pm.

Kedron's Budget: I believe (but correct me if I'm wrong) that we are paying $300,000 to a pool company to manage the pools? Have you done a cost analysis to compare having City part time seasonal lifeguards as opposed to paying a pool company to manage the pools? Because they are only paying the lifeguards $8 or so an hour, so where is all this money going? Probably into the pockets of the pool company owners. If it wasn't profitable for them then why would they do it? They have been scamming the city for a long time now, so that is part of the gaping hole at Kedron that the Mayor mentions every time he talks about it.

Outsourcing Complaints:
There were taxpaying residents complaining about the current outsourcing projects at the Council meeting in January. I think it was Baseball and a few other citizens complaining about the bad job that the outsourced companies have been doing.

Thanks again for participating! It's good to hear from a Council members point of view.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 7:40pm.

Thank you. I believe the more citizens know the less confusion and misunderstandings there are. Plus good ideas can come from the diverse PTC pool of knowledge and experience.

To appropriately answer your questions you are pretty much asking for a spreadsheet breakdown. Email and make your request. A lot of details being gotten into with that question.

Alternatives are being dug into on costs, management and the rest. But I can tell you a large issue is also the fee structure is too low to take a signficant chunk out of the overhead.

When there were meetings about raising fees, last year, we had a room full demanding no increases occur at all.

As far as the complaints from the Rec groups goes, Doug Sturbaum and I had meetings with them last summer, regarding some other issues. There were mentions of them having to do some field and other work then due to damage done by other ball groups.

This was the first mention of any mowing issues by them.

Also a lot of the issues has to do with the condition of the grass due to lack of sprinkling due to the water restrictions. That was something we heard about as well.

Others complained about decline in such as sub division entrances. Those areas have not been contracted out yet.

Add to all of this the times between cutting by PTC workers, in all areas, had been extended to reduce costs.

A lot of places in PTC have been contracting out mowing, etc, for decades, with little to no problems. My HOA, in example, has been doing that, plus trimming and other lawncare services, for 22 years and will keep doing it.

So, to blanket state problems began, anywhere, upon the contractors taking over work, can be inaccurate, since some areas stated are still under the City, in example. It is more complex than just saying outsourcing did it.

To be honest, there were complaints before any of it was contracted out as well.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

DarkMadam's picture
Submitted by DarkMadam on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 8:47am.

Send me an email address and I will send you either the link to the accounting firms web site or I will send you their file. The city hired an outside acconting firm and this was their words not mine.

Submitted by idk_revisited on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 12:23pm.

Post it online - I think that would be something for everyone to see.

How does a city get a AAA bond rating by having "substandard accounting practices", anyway? Oh yeah, THEY DON'T. And yet Peachtree City has the best bond rating they can do you explain that?

So please post what you've got...put it all out there...and answer the question about your motives, too.

yardman5508's picture
Submitted by yardman5508 on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 7:49am.

is how this is going to save PTC any money if the council is going to turn around and outsource the services. To me, that sounds a whole lot like taking the money from actual working people and giving it to businesses. In today's business climate that means that there will be plenty of companies lining up to get their "feet in the trough". Recent history shows that this is an invitation for corruption, fraud, and taking advantage of government for personal gain. I hope that I am wrong, but the citizens should keep track of how much money is being saved by cutting these positions as opposed to how much money is being expended to make sure the work gets done. How many hundreds(thousands, maybe) of dollars are actually being saved and at what price? Keep the faith.

Democracy is NOT a spectator sport.

Submitted by windowpane on Thu, 02/19/2009 - 10:05pm.

Has anyone noticed Fairburn isn't announcing any cuts? When will Bernie and staff take pay cuts? When will the mayor and council announce they won't take the pay raise? It seems backwards to cut from the bottom up. Gee, thanks for that COBRA coverage, it'll run more than the unemployment benefit. I wonder what a small increase in property tax would net?

DarkMadam's picture
Submitted by DarkMadam on Thu, 02/19/2009 - 10:00pm.

That to get the severance package, all 22 people will be required to sign a termination agreement that takes away any right that they may have to fight to keep employment with the city. It turns out that if they do not sign the "agreement" they have the right to sue the city, the Mayor, and all 4 council members. If this is not BLACKMAIL in the slimiest form I don't know what is. If there are any Lawyers out there reading this who would like to do something meaningful, and take a look at this propaganda the council wants signed, your help is badly needed. As a citizen I am ashamed of what the council did tonight. TELL THEM! Tell them how inappropriate it is to hang a No Whining Sign on the podium that the citizens stand at to speak. This is no way to run a city and the council’s behavior tonight is nothing short of reprehensible.

Submitted by reader71 on Thu, 02/19/2009 - 10:57pm.

is that all companies do this. It is standard practice to ask employees to sign an agreement when they are receiving a serverance package. No lawyer worth his salt would take a case like this. Sorry.

DarkMadam's picture
Submitted by DarkMadam on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 3:56pm.

That doesn’t make it right. If money had been handled efficiently, we would not be discussing this now.

Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Thu, 02/19/2009 - 9:33pm.

How in the heck do they save $840,000 when they have to pay somebody to do the job?

Sorry to poor guys who lost out.

Vote Republican

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 12:35pm.

being done more and more in government and large corporations to reduce the overhead by simply not having to pay for employee benefits(insurance, social security, etc). Whether it's the right thing or not , well that's another story. Something simply had to be done and our Council was in a corner, so to speak.

If you remenber the campaign rhetoric of 2007 for two council seats included budgetary constraints and what needed to be done immediately, but two years hence we had elected a mayor who ran in part as a financial planner who said he would manage the problem. We all know and can rate that performance three plus years later. I am deeply saddened by the loss of the city employees being terminated because their loss could have been avoided. The examples are our bridge to nowhere, the ongoing Tennis Center fiasco, and police station defect expenditures to name three.

Granted, it is far too easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize, and I like many others are guilty of just that. This town belongs to its citizens and not to those we elect or hire to maintain a status quo-We elect or hire them to make improvements, make sound decisions that will make a difference twenty years or more into the future, and above all, to conserve our resources of which the most prized is its people.

Our current and previous mayors have been taken to task for their shortcomings, and have or may be held accountable come the next election. I ask that my fellow citizens stop and think before rewarding failure come November for we can not afford this slide toward mediocrity we are on.

Submitted by Bonkers on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 8:39am.

It is easier to supervise one contractor company than 23 individual people. Makes the job easier. That is the reason.

I also can not get $840,000 worth of savings by the action.
23 people times $22,000 per year, plus 30% fringe benefits = $657,800 saved in people pay.

I have to assume that the bidders (contractors) have bid something to mow the grass! I know they won't be doing the miscellaneous stuff ordered by the management of the 23. Maybe the staff will do those things now?

So, it appears that something less than $657.000 (subtracting the low bid) plus the other work the employees did) might be somewhere less than one-half the savings claimed. If that?

Still $400,000 is a significant savings providing the contractor and the other work gets done for a lot less than the $657,000! For it to be worthwhile, it would have to be done for about half that, or $325,000, including other work contracted out that the 23 did.

I find it alluring that no one explains this thing like I just did!
Are we all math dumb?

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 10:02am.

You forgot to add in benefits, equipment purchasing, maintenance, fuel and the rest.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by Bonkers on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 4:10pm.

I added 30% for benefits--do they get more than that? What does their health plan cost? I know about SS.

I included no equipment or maintenance or fuel--"and the rest."
However I assumed that to be "change" in the grand scheme! Maybe they should ride golf cart trucks to work from McIntosh trail?

If those items cost the rest of the savings above what I verified, then they certainly are very high.

The real question all of this begs is why can't we see such detailed calculations ourselves? Have you seen them?

Getting rid of whole departments isn't all a bad idea, but why start at the bottom of the pay roll? Maybe accounting and office management? Everything but Mayor and council? No pay for Mayor and Council?
Still want to be on Council? Or Mayor?

Prisons are even being run now by contract---building and all!
The USA Army runs on contractors when at war!

yardman5508's picture
Submitted by yardman5508 on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 7:59am.

ultimately it is up to the voters to insure that these sorts of things are avoided if at all possible. And let me be VERY CLEAR here, this is not a Democrat or Republican question. This is a question of competent leadership, and it extends from PTC, to Fayette County, to Georgia, to the national government. Our (the voter's) complacency and failure to actively get involved in the process of governing has led us, as a nation, to the brink of extinction.

Oh, prophet of gloom and doom! If you feel that is an exaggeration, think about this...What makes a dollar bill worth a dollar? Maybe you know the answer to that one...our faith in the government. What happens to our money if we no longer have that faith in the government? What is the result of THAT? Keep the faith.

Democracy is NOT a spectator sport

Submitted by Aus815 on Thu, 02/19/2009 - 8:34pm.

maybe i just sound naiive, but why would you take someone's job, and then offer them to be hired as private contractors? I know that it saves on benefits and everything, but you get what you pay for...I feel bad for these employees and their families, because jobs are so hard to come by. dont mean to upset anyone, i just hope these employees find success in finding another job....

Submitted by FayetteFlyer on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 4:55pm.

Organize themselves and place a bid in as a private contractor. Just a thought. Still, when my company decided to hightail it to another state, all a bunch of us got was unemployment! At least they got something from the City. Good Luck folks, in this job market, you'll need more than that.

Submitted by MrBeef on Thu, 02/19/2009 - 9:37pm.

it's not like the job doesn't need to be done. You are letting guys go to hire someone else to do the job.

Could they have accomplished the same savings just cutting the employees benefits? I would think the guys who lost their jobs would rather have a job with no benefits then to have no job with no benefits.

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