(DISCUSSION/ACTION) Consideration and possible action to approve the revision to the mid year ‘03-’04 budget balance plan of Dec. 19, 2003, to meet new directives from City Hall.
The Chief referred to the 3-page document passed out at the meeting. Since the Dec. 19, 2003 meeting, the Dept ran up further deficits of $250K, which has to be accounted for. So this new plan includes new reductions to meet that. (specific line items can be seen in the document).
The Chief mentioned that the Controller would not allow them to carry over accounts payable to the new year. STC training funds are gone. And the State is taking back $225K, because we have been taking more than our eligible portion of TANF Ranch funds (based on an inflated population served). There is about $900K of previous years TANF Ranch funds being taken back also, but with some credits, the net deficit is about $160K.
She further reported that at the completion of a "joint project" with the City, the department has just been given a manual on how to deal with workers comp, (best practices in the state), and now the Dept will be trying to use that manual to do the work. She said that 8% of the leave from the Dept is due to workers comp. She said that other depts. like fire or police have a dedicated personnel person to deal with workers comp. This dept didn’t. but now they will hire a 1244, Sr. Personnel Analyst “that will work exclusively on processing and implement the recommendation for the Controller’s city project division, to reduce the number of workers comp cases by 4 cases. We see that that would be at least $130K.
Comm Bonilla asked for the list of the positions being cut. M. Lui said it was 6. 2 are Sr. Clerk typists, (1) 1840, (1) 1844, (1) asst. store keeper, (1) utility worker
Comm Bonilla said that the Finance Committee is not opposed to this plan.
Comm. Richard asked for a clarification of the TANF Ranch funds. The Chief said that TANF Ranch funds were allocated based on the number of youth served there. The past allocations had been $358K, based on higher numbers (approx. 40+). But in the past 3 yrs, LCRS has had a decreased population, but the Dept has been receiving the same $358K amount. Now, the State is asking for refunds of the overage given to the Dept.
Comm Ricci recollected that during the budget discussions around May, in regards to LCRS, the initial budget for the Ranch did not include the TANF Ranch funds because we did not know if it would be at the same level as before, but then when the plan “c” was submitted, it included the total TANF Ranch amount ($358K), giving us $1.7 mil.
She proposed to Comm Richard, to have a meeting with the judges to see what could be done to increase the number of referrals to the Ranch so that TANF fund would not be reduced. She commented that it almost looks like there’s a plan underfoot to keep the Ranch underutilized so that it can be closed. She stated her opposition to any thought of closing the Ranch.
The Chief said that there were two different issues. The Dept decided because of budget problems to cap the expenditures at Log Cabin Ranch. They decided to lay-off 4 counselors, to reduce the budget to $2.2 mil She said that the Commission did not approve this part of the reduction plan (during the last budget process), and in the end the City and unions kept the positions in, but did not give money to the Dept for them.
The Chief said that the Commission put a cap on the population at 30. Comm Ricci commented that the Commission approved it based on the recommendation from the Dept.
Chief: “…the recommendation, the original recommendation was a threefold recommendation about Log Cabin Ranch, which was to close it, privatize it,. there was one other, I don’t remember which, ..oh, it was the Ad Hoc committee. The Ad Hoc committee came up with the alternative plan. That was the recommendation to the Commission, the reason why we’re only serving 30. It came from the Ad Hoc committee under the leadership of Comm. Harry Chuck. So that was not the recommendation of the Dept. It was the recommendation of the Commission. And I wanted to clarify that. And I agree with you about the importance of Log Cabin Ranch. It’s absolutely critical.”
Comm. Ricci said the Ad Hoc committee recommended it because it was the only option given by the Dept at the time. She repeated that she would do all she could to keep Log Cabin from closing.
Comm Bonilla said that he would be happy to work with the Program Comm. Chair to look at the Dept’s operations. He said that there are two things necessary tonight. First to put this year into line, and then to prepare for the next FY year. He believes the commission has been doing it’s job in line with what the City wants, but now it needs to assert its role as overseer of the Dept and hold the line on reasonable levels of operation. The call for $2-8 million cuts cannot be done without serious impact to the clients and community and the Commission needs to stand united on maintaining a workable budget.
Comm Chuck raised the idea of doing a retreat to address many of the issues, informally. He also recommended taking the action needed tonight.
Comm Dupre asked the Chief if there is a move to close down Log Cabin? The Chief said it has not been proposed. She referred to the document that gives the Commission a preview of the severity of it, and the total reductions for FY 04-05 are potentially $9.6 mil. That would cut the budget in half. She mentioned the 3rd page of the document, which showed where they were going.
There were none.
Comm Bonilla moved to approve the budget-balancing plan that was presented by the Dept. Comm Ricci noted for the record that this document is dated Feb. 2, 2004. There was no discussion. Upon roll call vote, the motion carried, 5-0. Comms. Hale and Connolly were absent.