PTC: Subtract 23, add 2

Tue, 03/03/2009 - 5:04pm
By: John Munford

PTC wants ‘manager’ to handle contractors; vote expected on change to take-home vehicle benefit

The Peachtree City Council is being asked to hire a full-time and a part-time employee for its public works department as part of the restructuring that resulted in 19 public works and four recreation landscaping and maintenance positions being eliminated two weeks ago.

The full-time position would be a manager to oversee the landscaping and right-of-way maintenance contracts with private companies, according to a staff memo to council. That staffer would “essentially make sure that the work previously done by 19 employees will in fact be accomplished by the contractors,” the staff memo said.

The goal is to insure contract compliance and quality control, the memo indicated.

The part-time position is for an attendant at the recycling center who would open, close and assist residents at the facility two days a week.

The vote is expected to take place at Thursday evening’s regular council meeting at City Hall, which starts at 7 p.m.

Both proposed employees would be part of the city’s public works department.

City officials previously have said they estimate saving $840,000 in next year’s budget by outsourcing the work. That estimate included the anticipated additional salary and benefits for the two suggested employees, staff said in the memo.

Council is also being asked to approve changes in the city’s take-home vehicle program for police and fire employees. The changes are estimated to offset vehicle expenses by $25,800 for the police department and $2,860 for the fire department, officials said.

The staff memo on the topic was not fully clear about how those savings were calculated, although officials have previously suggested charging officers for taking cars home. No such suggestion is listed in the pre-meeting memo, and the discrepancy could not be cleared up by press time Tuesday afternoon.

The fire department has seven vehicles issued to command staff. Before the police department moved back into its newly-renovated facility, all officers were allowed to take home cars if they lived within 30 miles of the city because of the lack of adequate or secure parking at the temporary police headquarters.

The current police take home vehicle program includes command staff, criminal investigations personnel and officers who live in the city, for a total of 26 take home vehicles, police said.

For the fire and police department, take-home vehicles are touted as improving vehicle maintenance since employees can be held accountable as the only vehicle driver, city staffers have said. Take-home vehicles also improve response times for emergency situations, particularly when personnel must be called in to work while off duty, officials said.

The memo cited several examples of off-duty police officers using their take-home vehicle to respond to calls while either just after ending their shift or while reporting for the beginning of their shift. Those calls included a fight in progress, a robbery in progress and a domestic dispute with a firearm involved. In all but one case, regular officers were tied up with other calls.

City officials said the fire department take-home vehicles are also used so staff can respond directly to emergency scenes. Such employees include the fire marshal and assistant fire marshal who investigate fire scenes, senior duty officers and the training captain. The take-home vehicles also allow for quicker staffing of the city’s emergency operations center when it is activated.

Both the police and fire department say their take-home vehicle program improves morale also.

Fire employees issued take-home vehicles include two employees living inside the city, four living between five and 10 miles away and one employee who lives 24 miles away, officials said.

When the full take-home vehicle program was in use, police employees issued take-home vehicles included 16 employees within the city, 24 employees between five and 10 miles away, 20 employees between 10 and 20 miles away and two employees more than 20 miles away (one living 20.1 miles away and the other being 25.9 miles away).

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Submitted by Dondol on Thu, 03/05/2009 - 11:07am.

I spent 15+ years in the business of supplying Contract Employees to the airline industry and I will tell you from experience that you will not get the same level of service that we all are accustom to. I know that we are talking about just cutting grass, but all you have to do is look at the local school campuses and you will see what I am talking about. FCBOE contracts the grass cutting out and the company that they have does a terrible job. The first home Football game for JC Booth was September 9th and the grass around the school had not been cut since school started. But, the grass on the city right of ways was cut and looked very nice. Just saying that a City employee has a since of pride that the $8.00 an hour contract worker doesn't. But, Hell Bernie doesn't care all he wants to do is make this summer till he's vested and then he'll laugh all the way to the BANK! We need to start a petition to get rid of this fool and his baggage before he cost us over $100, grand a year for the rest of his life.

Now just why in the Hell do I have to press 1 for English?

DarkMadam's picture
Submitted by DarkMadam on Thu, 03/05/2009 - 8:36am.

Is there any reason that the positions have not been posted so that any of the 23 that have been fired could have applied for the position? Seems to me that one of them would make a great candidate. They know the city and know what is expected to be done. Just a simple question.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Thu, 03/05/2009 - 9:40am.

The hope and plan all along was to fill it with one. Just as one has already taken a position with the fire dept.

But legalities, especially upon government entities, make nothing easy.

Moving them into other city positions would have been a lot easier if this had been done in prior years when there were other jobs to be moved to. Should have but didn't happen and I had no voice in it back then, please remember.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

DarkMadam's picture
Submitted by DarkMadam on Thu, 03/05/2009 - 12:59pm.

What legalities would prevent them from applying for the open positions? Can a list of qualifications for this position be obtained? Since this was budgeted in these should already exist.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Thu, 03/05/2009 - 1:28pm.

First, the jobs have to be created. They are just proposals at this time but will be created.

Second, I never said anything would prevent them from applying. Getting the job is what I was talking about.

Third, they must be posted according to PTC policies governing job transfers for employees and Federal and State Laws governing job openings.

So, what their employment status is, during the key applications times, matters, and job application law cannot be side stepped.

Fourth, being in the budget does not mean the final job description already exists. Two separate issues.

The full job qualifications will be generated and posted in the normal manner once that stage is reached. Right now the qualifications are in principle and probably will not change.

My point is I don't foresee an issue on one getting the job but I cannot guarantee an outcome.

This is a complex blend of issues. And, before you say it, I agree State and Federal regs and laws have made these kind of issues far more complex for us than any of us like. But we cannot and will not violate any laws.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

DarkMadam's picture
Submitted by DarkMadam on Thu, 03/05/2009 - 1:43pm.

"So, what their employment status is, during the key applications times, matters, and job application law cannot be side stepped." I read this to mean that if the positions had already been approved, and posted, that they may have been considered for them first. Hiring from within before going outside. Is there a reason that the timing of this is the way it is? The positions of 23 deleted on Friday 03/06/09 and THEN doing this. I am just asking.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Thu, 03/05/2009 - 2:56pm.

Yes, there are reasons.

Proposal to outsource is first, which, when passed, allows developing the outsourcing RFP and related job.

Simply cannot do one until the priors are completed. Any modifications, etc, would render prior work wasted and irrelevant.

A lot of discussion and planning goes on before some proposals are revealed. Many die never seen.

No value in stirring empty pots that get people stirred up for no real reason. Not to mention wasting time and money on dead ends.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by Ellie Mae on Thu, 03/05/2009 - 2:07pm.

As it turns out there is a job description for the position listed in the agenda packet that Mr. Haddix has not read (I guess since he didn't seem to know). I doubt that any of the 22 that have been fired would be a candidate. They want "High School diploma and seven to ten years directly related experience or Two years of college or Associate s Degree and two to less than five years directly related experience or A Bachelor s Degree and less than two years directly related experience". Who knows - but I am willing to place $$'s on it that one of the recently fired will not get the position. Even if they do -have the 7-10 years experience.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Thu, 03/05/2009 - 2:46pm.

Actually, as it turns out, you apparently do not understand that packets contain proposals, not done deals. Council has not approved the job yet.

If you had read the Council packet, for tonight, you would see the job is on the agenda for approval. The job description is yet to be voted on, so that description on the Retreat may, or may not, change.

That is why I said I could not promise who would get the job.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by Nitpickers on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 6:00pm.


Is he to be a second Assistant Town Manager? We only have one of those!

Isn't there SOMEONE in all of the current employees in admin who could handle all of those hundreds of contractors?

And by the way, has anyone ever calculated what the "commanders" only salaries average (about one in six employees) as compared to the others who are corporals and below?
Those are the only ones quoted when discussing their salaries!

Maybe all of the town employees should have a car furnished!

Submitted by Titum Gan Eiri Ort on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 10:40pm.

Looks to me with the City Manager's recommendation on this one, that he has another kid who needs a job in the city. Or maybe with the down turn in fixing up houses, the Mayor may need a job before his term ends with the next election. Or maybe just maybe, one of his buddies from Fulton County need a job. Well one thing he has done during his tenure is to make PTC just like Fulton County. Great Job !!!!!

Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Tue, 03/03/2009 - 7:58pm.

Didn't they say the city wanted to save money??? After they hire the crews from the outside and hire a couple of city employees at management pay, what in world are they saving?

It's so nice the police and fire people feel better when they take city vehicles home with them. Who cares if it costs a fortune???

No wonder the city is going down the drain!!!

Vote Republican

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Tue, 03/03/2009 - 9:52pm.

The outsourcing and two hires were calculated in the $840,000 savings. That is net, not gross, savings.

There will be zoned charges for taking vehicles home and the usage will be limited to duty and duty related uses. Gains are the visuals of seeing the police cars either on the road or parked and a decentralizing force, who are subject to call even when off duty with equipment already in hand to go straight to the emergency. Not to mention if something happened at the station that wipes the place out, more than on duty equipment is still operational.

This is a common practice across the nation.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by Titum Gan Eiri Ort on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 10:26pm.

Mr. Haddix stop running in circles about the City Manager not doing his job. He was not open with the public on this issue and he has never been open to either the public or you on other issues. He is a liar and no one in the city work force has one ounce of respect for him because they know he is in it for himself. If you can not see that you have no business being Mayor in the future. You people on council are looking at issues that will not solve your money problems. The real issue here is the City Manager not doing his job for many years and no one, and I mean no one, ever taking him to task over it. Show this BUM the door, hire a City Manager that knows what they are doing, and your problems will be solved. If you don't, you will have bigger problems on your hands that will make this problem look small.

Submitted by Spyglass on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 9:38pm.

You seem like a nice enough guy. Take it from me, you won't win debating EVERY (PTC related) point on these boards. Many here are just here to argue, period. You could give them a Ten Dollar Bill and they would complain that it wasn't a Twenty.

Just my two cents worth.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 10:07pm.

Thanks. I know and agree on the rest.

It is a bit frustrating I created a website for supplying information and answering serious questions and issues. Not used by many.

If on the next Council with a change of majority, one thing to expect to see is a forum on the City Site, obviously with strict rules of usage, where Staff and Council can put easily and clearly post findable information, answers to question and such for general consumption. Should also encourage citizen input for our consumption in return.

Then there will be no need to blog at all. No excuse for citizens to say City Hall is hiding or not explaining things.

In 2007 one issue I ran on was Sunshine. I firmly believe it that and believe the lack thereof is one of the greatest flaws in government.

Tried it last year, but another one of those 3-2 issues.

Times have changed and government style must change as well.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 6:10pm.

Why in the world do we have to pay a manager to oversee contracted companies??? Doesn't the company have managers? Are we that unsure about the performance of these companies?

This sounds like government bureaucracy at it's best!!!

What we really need is to hire someone to watch over Mayor Logsdon. Better yet, let's just lay him off - indefinitely!!!

Vote Republican

Submitted by Spyglass on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 9:32pm.

Or just play a dummy on the internet?

The Crime Dog's picture
Submitted by The Crime Dog on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 9:42pm.

... he DID stay at a Holiday Inn last night.


Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 7:16pm.

Common business practice to oversight contractors. Nothing unique here at all. I did it as a steel mill supervisor or in running my business. Did it as my HOA's Landscape Chairman and President.

And, who checks out complaints to see if they are valid or not? Or runs spot checks? And calls in the appropriate other city Dept. when issues are found?

Plus, the job description includes heavy lifting, etc. So hardly a desk jockey job. So,not going to be standing over a crew supervising them.

A lot of landscaping areas to keep up with. Someone has to keep up with it all.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by Nitpickers on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 7:36pm.

Just how many contractors are there to supervise? It sounds from your description that the new supervisor will be something of a "foreman" over the landscapers ONLY! Except they don't work for him!
Might these contractors be untrustworthy? Who did they work for before?

I still don't get it about the take cars home.
There are 24 hours in a day where police cars are needed available.
Assume we have 50 cops who drive cars. When half to two-thirds of these guys are off duty at home, with their city car, doesn't that require 2-3 times as many cars as when one vehicle is used for 24 hours except for maintenance? Isn't robbery, speeding and drunks more likely on night shift?

I realize that the vehicles would wear out in 2-3 years maybe, but that is about as long as they keep them anyway!

Some extra vehicles would be needed for maintenance of course.

It just doesn't make sense for that many cars to be sitting at a cops home when he is off or on vacation or sick, or whatever.

I also do hope that we don't have cops have their own cars fixed while they watch! Great waste of time.

Submitted by Nitpickers on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 5:55pm.

New York and LA must have 100,000 cops!

Am I to assume that they all have a car to take home with them and keep it until their next shift----which might be several days?

That is a lot of cars!

Why do cab companies run them around the clock with different drivers? Because it is cheaper!

Anything of this nature opens the door to many other problems and everyone knows it.

Send someone after an off duty cop if he is home. A staff member maybe! Some of that "other half" who are office personnel and commanders. Buy them a bike to ride home and back!

Anything except $25,000 vehicles.
Do you really have any idea just how many vehicles the county, and cities own?
It is astronomical. There are 30 pickups sitting in the office parking lot in Fayetteville most of the time.

We have a bad recession!

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 7:02pm.

Vehicle take homes.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by Spyglass on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 9:31pm.

certain posters who have about a half a dozen handles on this forum. This fellow is one of them. Your comments are wasted on him.

Submitted by MYTMITE on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 8:58am.

me as much as these individual using the vehicles for their own/family use. I have many times seen police/fire personnel doing their personal shopping and then getting into a city vehicle. I am sure sanitary products, baby items, make-up, cleaning items, etc., are not being purchased for the stations. Who pays for this gas when they do personal shopping? I admire anyone who serves as either a policeman/woman or fireman/woman and feel they should be compensated by salary for what they do, but I do not feel that I should subsidize their shopping trips with my tax dollars. Does the mayor, city manager or any other city official have a city car? Just wondering.

Submitted by Doug on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 11:24pm.

I witnessed an officer shopping at the CVS in Fairburn on his way home. The fee is fair.

Submitted by Spyglass on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 4:13pm.

exactly what does that hurt? Maybe, technically, they shouldn't do it, but c' could even be called a crime deterrent...a Cop car in the grocery store parking lot. I fail to see the big deal.

Now if you see someone driving to Piggie Park in Thomaston for a dog, that's another story.

Submitted by enotsm19 on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 4:03pm.

Is it the fire or police doing that large amount of personal shopping with their vehicles? I know the police force is allowed to make 1 stop when going or coming from work. Also, consider that some officers go into a grocery store to purchase breakfast, lunch or dinner. That is not considered shopping since they are allowed a 30 minute lunch break, which most don't get to take because they are busy responding to calls.

Are these officers in uniform? I have yet to see a police officer shopping while using their take home vehicles for personal use. Like i said, maybe they are on their "lunch" break and they went to purchase a meal and grab a few items they needed around the house. As for the compensated by salary, when have you ever heard of a police officer being compensated well for the job they do? Also, why is it right to charge an officer 15$ for living 10 miles from the police department, but somebody who 10.1 miles will be charged $30? When you factor in the cost of insurance increasing, that is anywhere from 70-100 dollars less a month these officers will be making. I'm saddened that the city mismanaged the budget so badly that it has come to this, not only for the fire/police but for the entire city as well.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 9:41am.

I added the appropriate documents here on the take home policy.

I believe they will address you concerns and show these vehicles are not to be used as family cars.

No one on Council has a City vehicle. The City Manager does, but only for City use business. There are other vehicles city employees use during work, but not as personal vehicles.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

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