(DISCUSSION/ACTION) Possible review of, and action on recommendations from Finance Committee on proposed Dept’s FY 2003-04 mid-year budget balance plan.
Comm Hale wanted to offer his suggestion about this, based on conversations he had after the Finance Committee meeting. Comm Bonilla commented that the Commission Rules did not allow them to take action on this item since it would be in violation of section 9.03, given all commissioners were not given written documents regarding this item, 7 days in advance of the meeting.
Comm Dupre asked the Chief to present the Dept’s plan, as it was discussed in the Finance Comm.
M. Baumgartner, after having reviewed the Commission Rules referred to, stated that if the Commission declared an emergency situation, it could then vote on the item.
Comm. Bonilla reiterated that he felt in the interest of the best decision, this item should be taken back to committee for review and recommendation, which did not get done yesterday.
Comm Ricci commented that she agreed with Comm. Hale’s recommendation yesterday to revisit the proposal, as she had serious questions regarding the some of the contracts and amounts, and also recommended going back to committee to fully look into what contracts are proper and doing needed work and what others may in fact be eliminated. She didn’t want the sole source contracts to come back and “haunt” the commission later. She said they needed to take their commission responsibility seriously and felt that it would be a farce if commissioners rubber-stamped something they hadn’t had the chance to really see and understand. Comm. Dupre reviewed that a couple of wks ago he and Comm Ricci met with the Chief regarding the financial situation where CBOs were not getting paid on their contracted services. And that no monies would be released until the Dept submitted a balanced budget to the Mayor’s office. He asked what the recommendations are from the Finance Committee. Comm. Bonilla said that the Finance Comm. had not had enough time to look at the proposal, and wanted assurances that after tonight’s discussion, it would be allowed to go back and take a much closer look, to come back with recommendations.
Comm Richard said it was his understanding that CBO contract payments were already being held up, and that that didn’t have anything to do with this recent demand for a balanced budget; that even with a balanced budget proposal, there will be payments withheld. One more week will not have an affect on that.
The Chief gave a brief explanation of the situation faced by the Dept with regards to the City’s demand for a budget reduction (see report given in the Finance Comm. mtg).
In answer to Comm Richard’s comment, the Chief said that she understood that when the balanced budget plan is approved, the Controller will release monies to pay contractors, and all those critical positions (all the “acting” roles that people were playing but not receiving the higher pay for).
The Chief further said that if they did not have a report prepared for the BOC in January, they would be in danger of having their funds cut 50% from BOC.
Comm Hale commented that he had spoken to the Mayor’s Budget Office designated staff to the Dept (Dawn Kamalanathan), and she indicated that if the Commission approved the bottom line amount of cuts required by the City, that this might be sufficient to allow them to release funds, and give the Commission enough time to come back with specific cuts to reach that bottom line, before January 2004.
That would be his recommendation, to just approve the bottom line of $237K (without approving the items proposed by the Dept) and go back to Finance Committee for a closer look, and a fuller discussion with the community partners, at what items can be cut. The Chief mentioned that about 25% of the POST positions in the Dept are out on WC, and those positions are filled with OT.
M. Lui stated that the Dept is budgeted with the WC division for $1 mil in WC costs, which covers medical and indemnity cost. The projected costs (looking at what has happened to date) are $1.3 mil if the trend is not reduced (thus, a deficit). The Chief said that with the present situation, the deficit facing the Dept is not $237K but $754K. She said that the workers comp program should have people back at work by March, and they are aggressively monitoring OT, so there’s no OT issue, and the Mayor’s office was comfortable with that.
M. Lui listed some of the items and what their deficit amounts (referring to the chart given the Finance Comm). total worst case situation; $754K. He mentioned that in the past, the Dept has produced its cuts through the reduction of one time cost items, but the Mayor’s office believes the Dept needs to look at ongoing costs items if it is to be able to reduce its future budgets as anticipated it will have to.
Comm Hale asked what was the suggested amount of CBO cuts that would help achieve that. Lui said $330K.
Comm Chuck wanted to take action on the Dept’s proposal.
Comm Bonilla was asked to give a report from the Finance Comm. mtg, and he stated that basically the Chief gave the same report today as she did yesterday, and the Finance Comm. was not ready to make any recommendations on the plan.
A representative from Instituto Familiar de La Raza, commented that for their 2002-03 contract, they are still waiting for the last quarter of the year’s payment (Apr, May, Jun). For this year’s contract, they have not received payment yet. This is going to lead to staff lay-offs and service cuts. Additionally, they called the Controller’s office and were told that there was no hold being placed on contracts, which contradicts the story being told by the Dept. She said that the buck is being passed among the Dept, the Controller, and the Mayor, and she suspects a “political agenda” being played at the expense of the youth and workers.
Another speaker from the group, who spoke with Frances Lee in the Controller’s office, said that the Controller never ordered contracts to be held up. When told that they were owed over $90K from the last fiscal year, Lee replied that they had been too patient already. And if they had concerns, they should address them to Mark Lui.
Rev Toni Dunbar stated that she had to mortgage her home in order to feed herself and family while waiting for the Dept to pay its contracts.
Bruce Fisher, Huckleberry Youth Programs, said that while they are still trying to see how to ameliorate the impact of the cut on their contract, he was concerned about smaller orgs and what impact cuts will have on them. He assumed that given the claims of the Dept, there was an emergency situation and hoped the Commission would approve the plan as submitted by the Dept with the proviso of revisiting the specific cuts at a later time.
A Case Mgr from Instituto spoke regarding some of the activities that will be affected by the cuts.
NTanya Lee, supported Comm Hale’s proposal to just approve a bottom line budget, and re convene to spell out the particulars at a later time. She expressed outrage that 25% of the personnel in POST jobs were out on WC, costing the Dept millions, while the Dept proposed cutting CBOs. She said this was a serious management issue, and that more detailed reports should be demanded from the Dept, the Controller’s, about how this waste was going to be curtailed. She could not imagine how one could support the call for other staff cuts while this was allowed to go on.
Jasmine Alvarez from Bernal Heights Neighborhood Ctr/Greater Mission Consortium asked the Commission to reconsider the CBO cuts. There were a number of youth from the organization who spoke against the CBO cuts.
Julienna Montez, Case Mgr at the GMC spoke against the cuts.
Alfredo Bojorquez, Instituto, spoke against the cuts, emphasizing the cost effectiveness of CBOs and the amount of extra work they do without compensation.
Comm Hale commented that with respect to JDAI, we would be looking at what programs are consistent with reducing unnecessary detention; there will be some CBOs that are not going to be happy with the outcome. He referred to the juvenile justice plan 2003 update where types of services needed were identified, and commented that we need to figure out who should pay for what, and what should be paid for and what not. Additionally, there needs to be restructuring so that the services are paid with hard dollars and not soft dollars.
Comm Hale moved, with respect to the mid year budget plan, to declare that this is an emergency and to waive section 9.03 of the Commission’s rules so that action can be taken. Comm. Connolly 2nd. Upon roll call vote, the motion passed unanimously, 7-0.
Comm Hale “moved to adopt the recommendations from the Dept with respect to fiscal year 2003-04 mid year budget plan with the direction that no cuts to community based organizations be implemented. In addition, that no action with respect to the recommendations from the Dept as relates to index code 12509 Class 1544, FAMIS index code, class 1840, be taken. With respect to the 5 contracts as the proviso, that we approve that amount but that it is subject to increase should we decide that….”
Comm Hale repeated that he, “move that we adopt the recommendations from the dept for fiscal 2003-04 mid year budget balance plan as presented, with directions that no reductions in community based organizations as provided in the recommendations be implemented until further directions from this commission. Further, that there be no action on the recommendations as relates to index code class 12509, class 1544, FAMIS index code, class 1840. In the total amount of $755K.” Comm. Connolly 2nd Upon voice vote, the motion passed unanimously, 7-0.
M. Baumgartner asked for clarification of the statement of no action on the two positions mentioned. Was this to direct the Dept to take no action on those two positions until further direction, or that the commission takes no action on those items. Comm Hale said that the Dept was to take no action until the Commission gives further direction.
The Chief said that the object she is looking for is to go back to the Mayor’s office and the Controller, and say that the Commission approved the budget balance plan and that we are simply waiting for further directions on exactly some of the items within that plan. She asked to have that information and further instructions by Jan. 1, because this whole budget-balancing plan is predicated on the principles of that there will be a certain amount of reductions effective Jan 1 and another set of reductions effective Mar 1. I’d also like to add the caveat that we as a Dept are going to be working very diligently to do as we did last time to make any kind of lay-offs and cuts unnecessary by doing whatever is possible to find alternative funding or cut any area we possibly can, like we did last spring fiscal year.
A Finance Committee meeting was set for Dec. 17 and a full Commission meeting for Dec. 19. Details to follow.
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