Imker: Never have I supported raises for PTC Council members

Tue, 01/26/2010 - 4:01pm
By: Letters to the ...

I do not and have never supported a pay raise for myself as a city council member. So don’t bunch me in with those that do.

The previous council (2007) authorized the pay raise from $6,000 to $12,000 per year for council members. By choice, I and others have decided to keep the job pay budgeted at $6,000.

I understand the implications of budgeting for all city paid positions. When the economics turn around, then and only then will I consider pay increases.

Businesses understand the economics of either going bankrupt or saving their companies by cost-cutting moves, which includes foregoing pay increases. I will do my best to see that government will not, under my tenure, be an exception.

Last week I said I’m holding a budget meeting at City Hall on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. I welcome those with an interest in our future city budget to come out and share ideas on cost-cutting and getting this budget mess we’ve been left with under control.

I step into the city council position and find out — holy cow! — we’re nearly $3 million in the hole already for next fiscal year (FY2011) and about another $3 million for FY2012. Do you folks realize what that means?

It’s worse than last spring when council had to fire 27 folks and buy a landscaping contract to do some of the work less expensively.

Some folks have asked if this is an “authorized” meeting. Do you really think I need approval to ask the citizens what they think about the budget? Of course not. No one muzzles me. If I want to say something, I’ll say it.

You just went through 10 months of me telling you I speak my mind. I sure hope this isn’t a surprise to anyone.

Each member of the “team” (city council) is their own person and will do things to prepare themselves for issues the way they see fit. This is my way on this issue — THE most important issue for the city.

Folks say, why don’t you do this at the city council retreat. My answer is, I’m trying to prepare for council retreat. Retreat is a two-day public meeting that includes the current year financial status of the city. Council provides overall direction for the next year’s budget process.

I want to have ideas for moving forward at this meeting and not wait to start developing them at this meeting. Ideas will include direction regarding millage rates, programs to be added or eliminated, capital expenditures to be budgeted and, most importantly of all, personnel costs.

Eric Imker

City Council, Post 1

Peachtree City, Ga.

login to post comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Submitted by Citizen_Steve on Wed, 01/27/2010 - 2:00pm.

Eric, keep up the good work and best of luck dealing with those budget issues. I hope you have ten times the patience that I expect I'd have in the city budget meetings.


Submitted by Spyglass on Wed, 01/27/2010 - 10:55am.

Imker doesn't want to consider the possibility that the shortfalls might actually have something to do with the economy?

Why not attend the Council Meetings...that would be a nice start on his part.

I'm still a bit perplexed at this person's attitude on these many have echoed, I'm not sure it's the proper place for our elected officials (I suppose it's really him) to be spouting off.

NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Wed, 01/27/2010 - 1:34am.

Eric Imker on the new council. I love the irony.

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Wed, 01/27/2010 - 12:37am.

Bonkers goes I the only one to notice this? Shocked

Submitted by MYTMITE on Wed, 01/27/2010 - 11:53am.

But, alas, I really do not think Imker is Bonkie. For one thing, Imker is too young. After all, Bonkie was with Washington at Valley Forge. Imker is just ego driven. Much like a balloon, full of hot air but take a pin to it and watch it deflate. And deflate is exactly what will happen to Imker if he doesn't get off his high horse. I, and I suspect, many others voted for Imker, not because we thought he was a wonderful candidate but because he seemed the lesser of two evils. He needs to stop acting as if he has received a mandate from God (or even the citizens of Peachtree City) and work WITH the other members of council instead of having his own budget meetings, etc. We were all tired and disgusted with the eternal split on voting, that is why incumbents were voted out. We need a council that works together for the good of the whole community. HOLY COW, caped crusader, get off your high horse and come down to earth and do what we voted you in office to do--be part of a cohesive council--not a loose cannon.

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Wed, 01/27/2010 - 12:42pm.

got out. Who's turn was it to make sure the gate was closed? Smiling I do hope he's OK.
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Submitted by MYTMITE on Wed, 01/27/2010 - 2:39pm.

he is okay. Last time we didn't hear from him he said he had a minor medical procedure I believe. Hope everything is okay--he's like the tooth you have that aches when you touch it but can't keep your tongue out of it---guess we are all brutes for punishment where he is concerned--and the thing is occasionally he does make good sense. And where else can you get such entertainment free? Maybe he wants us to miss him and that is why he is staying away. If something bad was wrong I doubt if we would have any way of knowing----hope he appears soon--I miss the old goat and there have been way too many serious posts lately from too many people

hutch866's picture
Submitted by hutch866 on Wed, 01/27/2010 - 3:14pm.

I think you and Cy do a disservice to goats everywhere with your comparison. I bet he went in the hospital for a personalityectomy, and they're still looking for it. Maybe he was doing the self colonoscopy again and his head got stuck. He'll be back, one way or another, or person or another.

I yam what I yam....Popeye

Submitted by MYTMITE on Wed, 01/27/2010 - 9:39pm.

had to get away for a minute--thanks for giving me a chuckle. I really think he is posting as Imker. That way he gets to be a council member on this site without anyone ever having to see him.

meanoldconservatives's picture
Submitted by meanoldconservatives on Wed, 01/27/2010 - 9:48pm.

After seeing Nancy Pelosi for several minutes on my 60" HD screen, there is no chance of sleeping without NIGHTMARES tonight. Guess I'll be surfing the web all night tonight.

Also, I am able to count Biden's hair plugs if anyone is interested in the total number. Hint: the over/under is in the thousands....

Submitted by lexveritas on Tue, 01/26/2010 - 9:11pm.

Perhaps - just maybe - the vested interests at City Hall, those protecting territories and cementing their holds on power, have engaged in deception far beyond what was thought. Withholding the facts from even Council members is not something new. Perhaps there are even more "surprises" in store from the budget experts and numbers crunchers. Deception seems to have become a way of life in the bureaucracy at City Hall.
Did you really think that anyone running in the last election was given the truth about the City's financial positon?

Submitted by tgarlock on Tue, 01/26/2010 - 8:43pm.

But please reflect on your own words, "I step into the city council position and find out — holy cow! — we’re nearly $3 million in the hole already for next fiscal year (FY2011) and about another $3 million for FY2012. Do you folks realize what that means?" The real question should be, "Why didn't you know about the depth of the problem when you were campaigning for City Council?" Your campaign messages implied the City Council must have been budgetary lamebrains and that your review and re-prioritizing of the budget would solve the problem, as if they had not already combed the budget for cost-cutting opportunities. Don Haddix made no secret long before he was elected mayor that he saw either deep cuts in city services or a property tax increase ahead, especially when SPLOST was voted down, and that he would gather feedback from voters to find out their preference between nasty choices. Beth Pullias, your opponent, had reviewed the budgets and attended city council and planning commission meetings for years and knew the issues well enough, and was honest enough, to tell the voters that a property tax increase was inevitable while you were saying you could solve the problem with without tax increases using budget reviews and common sense cuts. Maybe you didn't know the fat had already been cut, and that further cuts deep enough to solve the problem will take out muscle and bone. Maybe if you had attended those meetings Beth attended, the inevitability of property tax increases might have been evident to you, too. I really do want you to be successful, and I wish I could stay out of conflict with the City Council, and I don't want to join the rock-throwing crowd. But your telling the public now - holy cow, there really is a serious budget shortfall - well, I can't in good conscience let you get away with that after you campaigned on your budget common sense as the solution. Don Haddix knew, Beth Pullias knew, others knew, why didn't you know when that was the very issue you used to get elected?

Terry Garlock

Submitted by Imker on Tue, 01/26/2010 - 9:35pm.

Dear Mr. Garlock,

I will take you to the mat right now. Of course I knew the budget problem existed. But many folks are going to read about the true extent of this problem in this letter. I'm making a point and a bold one at that. Also, you make assumptions about me attending meetings. Well, we all know how one really spells assumptions don't we?

Never, NEVER will I use city reserves to balance the budget because of mismanagement. Nor will or should we have to. I clearly pointed out the proper uses of city reserves during the campaign. Previous councils did not have the guts to cut or find more efficient ways. Instead they used insane amounts of city reserves to "balance the budget." They are responsible for what's to come. You used the term “budgetary lamebrains“ to describe previous councils. I wouldn’t go that far, but rest assured, they did know what they were doing was setting us up for financial failure. I'm here to make sure the mess gets cleaned up without cleaning out our citizens with tax increases.

The choice between tax increases and cutting services is absolutely a wrong misleading choice. If I don't stand up and point out the obvious, every 1/4% of a tax increase is going to go into a 5% pay raise for city employees. I will not put up with that in this economy. The survey going out right now is asking leading questions on the budget. It talks about the choice of tax increases or service cuts. What a fallacy. What it's really asking is, "Do you want to be taxed so that city employees can get a pay raise?"

BTW - We just had a survey a couple months ago. It was called the election. Over 3 out of 4 folks did not want to be taxed anymore. But I guess if you don't like the answer, you get out another 'survey' and ask a different way until you get the answer you want and then wave it in front of the cameras and say, "See, look here, the public wants to be taxed." You and the rest of our citizens aren't really going to fall for that are you?

You haven't even seen or heard from me or anyone yet about other options. Yet you have succumbed to a tax increase. Come to the January 30th meeting I’m holding at city hall at 2PM and listen firsthand about ideas on how to start putting a rationale budget together without tax increases and without using city reserves. Don’t be a defeatist.

Submitted by Spyglass on Wed, 01/27/2010 - 10:50am.

Veiled threats on the Citizen that's professional. How hilarious is this going to be....watching the next 4 years...

Submitted by tgarlock on Wed, 01/27/2010 - 10:59am.

I think it's just semantics. He deserves the benefit of any doubt, and deserves a chance whether I or anyone else agrees with his methodology or not. I do hope he succeeds.

Terry Garlock

Submitted by Spyglass on Wed, 01/27/2010 - 11:01am.

And unbecoming of a Peachtree City Councilman.

Submitted by jevank on Wed, 01/27/2010 - 11:23am.

I agree with Spyglass (I hate when that happens.) This is so unprofessional arguing with the bloggers. Honestly, you might as well debate this with Elmer Fudd and Foghorn Leghorn.

Some of us just like to throw out some unformed ideas so we can chat about it.

Submitted by Spyglass on Wed, 01/27/2010 - 11:46am.

was one of my favorites.


That said, I too expect just a little more our of our Councilmen.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Wed, 01/27/2010 - 8:57am.

Mr Imker, taking the citizens to the mat, come now. Perhaps you knew the budgetary woes of Peachtree City during the fall, but the tone of your letter lends me to believe that you knew it in very general terms. Hopefully, on Saturday you will be able to quash that perception.

Now that you’ve thrown the gauntlet, so to speak, solicitation of citizen input is a rarity among elected officials, but so are fresh new ideas/approaches. For me, that’s what I’m looking to see from you this weekend. Thus far, you have made no such proposals, and based your campaign upon your experience as a federal manager. In that capacity funding was handled by a resource manager that reported either directly or indirectly to you. We both know that budgeting was not your focus.

I’m looking to see what you bring to the table. Until now, you simply show yourself as a loose cannon firing indiscriminately. Please prove me wrong.

Submitted by GAltant on Wed, 01/27/2010 - 7:18am.

Mr. Imker...I'm sorry to have to say this but you are starting to appear a little silly. You are blogging and not really receiving a postive response which means people are telling you to focus on what's important. Why are you citicizing Mr. Garlock here...You don't like his message?
Instead of having your Saturday budget meeting, how about attending the regularly scheduled city council meetings. It was reported that you missed the second one.
The city recently sent out a survey and budget questions were asked. You are wasting time and your process is backwards. We need less "HOLY COWS" and more teamwork.
Why not go in and meet with Mr. Haddix (instead of running around holding your own meetings). Speak with the mayor about his thoughts on balancing the budget. Then attend the upcoming retreat, where you will hear feedback on the budget from staff and you can gather input from your fellow council members....identify and draw some concensus among your peers...see if you develop a clear strategy and vision. Then, if you feel the need to go out and conduct a town hall meeting on the budget, do it or suggest that council or members of council hold public discussions on the budget and solutions council and staff has developed.
I thought engineers were taught the importance of "process".

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Wed, 01/27/2010 - 12:30am.

Scott Brown.

Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Wed, 01/27/2010 - 8:16am.

It is not your budget Mr. Imker, it is the city's budget, funded by taxpayers and created by City Council. You are 1 of 5.

If Scott Brown didn't actually say that, he said something like it. And it is true. New councilpeople usually have more than one meeting under their belt before they get all preachy and arrogant. I hope this isn't another Brown/Rapson/Weed person emerging.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.