(DISCUSSION/ACTION) Consideration and possible action to approve Finance Committee's recommendations on the Dept’s proposed budget for FY ’04-’05
Comm Bonilla reported that at the Finance Comm. mtg of 2/17 there was one motion that came forth. After a discussion with Bruce Fisher, it was to reduce the Youth Advocates contract by 7%, and use the savings to eliminate one position lay-off of the 6 proposed.
The Chief referred to the document that was passed out at the meeting (dated 2/18), and stated that the Mayor’s office has come back and said the Dept needs to trim another $539K from its proposed budget.
She gave a little background to what the Dept has been doing. She said, “ The Dept has been having Executive Board retreats. We’ve had 4 or 5, maybe 6 looking at every item that’s in the budget, trimming it like you trim your toenails. Trimming pagers, trimming telephones, looking at how we can cut back on training, looking at how we can cut back on fuel. Looking at how we can cut back on some of these cars, costs, we have to pay rental of $2000, per car, and the car isn’t functioning. Returning it. Looking at every possible item. Now, I think everybody knows what the budget instructions say. That we must cover the 5.5 increase that’s anticipated for this next budget year. As well as any deficits that we may have. One of the deficits that we always have because of the overtime, is usually, especially now in the fall, a million dollar short, as due to overtime. And that’s because population rises, that’s usually in the fall. In this fiscal year, due to the budget difficulties, we are mandated to cut any projected shortages in this first budget submission. We have met with the Mayor’s Office of Finance and have been instructed that’s what we must do. We have tried diligently to do that. We have laid off and put up for lay off as many people as we possibly could that would allow us to continue to function as a dept. Looking at job descriptions, examining every area, looking at how we can re structure our operations. All those that we have been examining and putting them into the document that was submitted, that the Finance Comm has been looking at, and that you have, we have made a determination that we have cut everything that could possibly be cut, and some that cannot be, in order for the juvenile probation to function.”
“Let me give you a little background. Administratively, there are no assistant directors, at Log Cabin Ranch, juvenile hall, nor in probation services is there a director. So the assistant director works two jobs. In my office, there’s no one to handle the legislative affairs, or to respond to the requests of all commissions, the Bd of Supervisors, the media, as well as where I should be tomorrow, which is in Harrisburg, testifying about the CYA moratorium, and perhaps trying to get their money to come to this city by doing that. So, top heavy we are not. But there are also staff that need to be preserved that we don’t have. For instance, why are we late with this payment, information? We don’t have an accountant, a 1652, so there is one person who does that with the help of another person. That is the Director of Finance and Administration, as well as another senior management. This is far too much work for one person so we don’t meet the time frames necessary to give you the opportunity to read and absorb this before the last minute, and that’s the reason for my apology. Number two, there’s a point where cutting anything else in the dept, and mind you, we’ve been cutting for 3 fiscal years, which amounts to about a 30% cut to our budget. This makes it impossible for us to follow and fill our mandate. As time runs, we are talking about, we have Bd of Corrections mandates to meet, and if we don’t meet those we are not accredited. We have mandates to meet in terms of laws and regulations, leaves, ADA, FMLA, all those kinds of things and they have increased, the security coverage, …clearances, that anyone that is to be exposed to our children must clear. To say nothing about, the kinds of coverage, the kinds of clearance that must be done for peace officers. Now peace officers who are probation officers, and are counselors have their jobs defined. They are supposed to supervise and provide the care for the wards of the courts. We are being requested to cut a horrendous amount of money from our budget beyond what our professional (inaudible) this dept should continue to function under, to meet those requirements that is being placed upon us to be financially solvent for the year 2004-05. What was submitted was what we thought that we could cut and still function, and still ask for 3 key positions. And that we don’t have an accountant, which is critical to the running of a dept. We don’t have anyone that specializes in, and can work and monitor and track the workers comp which can save us up to $655K. which we are over our workers comp. budget. One dedicated person for that would save us an amount of money which would more than cover the salary that person would have. We also do not have a programmer. A programmer is at the heart of our IT technology….. if computers go down and we need a programmer, that has to stay down because we have no one that is capable of doing that. So when we start cutting back we need to make sure that we have the critical skills to run the dept. so I think we have done a job of cutting out any fat. Where we are right now is, we’re on bare bones, and if we cut into the bone, it will cripple this dept. and it will be unable to function. I say that’s where we are right now. The things that we talked about, the lay-offs we have proposed, I think we can function with those 3 additional 3 positions. If you’ll just look at this front sheet that we just got at 4:06 from the Controller, it clearly indicates at the bottom that everything that we’ve submitted into the system, that we still need to come up with more than a half a million dollars worth of cuts in order to be solvent. My proposal to the Mayor’s Office was that we would provide the sale or lease of portions of Log Cabin Ranch land that is unused to cover that amount of money. I’ve been advised that that is unacceptable, that we must have hard dollars. So all the conversation we had last night about somebody giving up what they perceived is helpful is a moot conversation because the lay-offs are hard dollars. They are saying to me, we must come up with $539,198 more dollars worth of cuts and I’m saying, what is left. Let me share with you what is left. Log Cabin Ranch is left. And let me ask you the question…..at a time when CYA moratoriums are being set in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara, and the one resource that we have here, in San Francisco that can in any way address the needs of those individuals that need to be rehabilitated is Log Cabin Ranch. And to put it up to be cut, I find it unconsciousable (sic). I don’t see any way that we can say to the public and the people that live in San Francisco, when they’re going to funerals of their young kids, that we’re going to cut Lob Cabin Ranch. And take away that resource, which is a last resort to rehabilitate our young folks.
Okay, let’s look at the next thing. That we can look at where there are dollars. There’s $700K of general funds, we’re talking about general funds support. In contracts, for general contracts, $700K. Alright, so what happens if I say to you, let’s take $539K out of the $700K of contracts, general contracts? Now, we all know that TANF may sunset in Oct.1 so if we take approx. $550K, that leaves us $155K of contracts. General fund contract. That would be all the money we would have to do contracts. There again, I pose the question. How do we then work with our community partners at a time when kids are dying in the streets. We need these community partners to be mobilized and doing even more than they’re doing now to support us. And address some of the violence in the street. So if we cut community funds, then we are disabling ourselves again, and I submit to you I find it unconsciousable (sic) to cut community based organizations because we have a mandate, we have a responsibility, the juvenile probation dept, to provide protection to the public. We have a mandate to provide rehabilitation and treatment to the young folks that need it. I say to you, we can’t afford to cut anymore. It is my professional judgment that we cannot cut another dollar, not another cent, from this budget. I think it is criminal to ask that we cut Log Cabin Ranch, or that we cut our community based organizations at a time that is so critical that we mobilize, not only, not cut juvenile probation dept but to be increasing the services that we provide to the community. So please bear with me in my passion and my concern, but I am extraordinary upset that we could be asked not to do, to provide hard cuts
When we are confronted with the situation we that have, which is, our mandate to public safety, to provide treatment, to provide the rehabilitation of our young offenders, I find it impossible to meet this mandate. Thank you.”
Comm Hale referred to a letter from Anna Villagran, which stated that various POs were willing to work straight hours in JH in order to cut OT. Hale asked the City Attorney to explore any legal implications from this offer.
He also mentioned his excitement about the possibility of maximizing Title IVe reimbursements by including more employees in their work. (eg. community outreach workers) The Chief said they had looked at that and decided that community caseworkers were not eligible. They will go back and look again, and ask the experts (Maximus). She said that labor laws require paying OT, so if POs work, then they would make even more than as needed counselors. She said she would be willing to cost this out, but she is almost certain that it would cost more.
It was asked if there was time to meet with all our partners before a decision is made. D. Kamalanathan said that a budget submission was due this Friday.
The $500K more mentioned earlier is in addition to what was done last night at the Finance Committee? Yes.
Comm Hale asked about an extension.
D. Kamalanathan said that the Controller and Budget Director would make that decision, but a submission is still due Friday.
Comm Hale asked the City Attorney to ask about tabling the matter until a future time and meeting again Friday morning to continue exploring the issue.
He said that in good conscience he could not agree with any more lay-offs, already having problems with the ones being proposed. He said that given the situation that even PrIDE is a candidate for cutting.
Rich Perino, Pres. DPOA, read 7 points to save money:
1. combine the adult/juvenile probation dept
2. share on call lists from surrounding counties
3. fill all 8320 with entry level employees
4. allow PO volunteers to work in JH, for comp time (they presented a list of POs who are willing to do this)
5. cancel Huckleberry House contract
6. close CARC
7. cancel PrIDE contract
8. hire CBO case managers directly
Alfredo Bojorquez, Instituto, stated that a collective of CBOs have made a statement opposed to any more cuts to CBO contracts. He gave an example of how CBOs are intensely involved in the issues of violence in the communities. These services go far beyond what they receive in contracts from the dept.
Lonnie Holmes, Local 21, agreed that CBO services are cheaper than incarceration. He also agreed that unions should be involved in the budget discussions. He said that reality of the situation is that the monies having to be refunded, and monies having to be absorbed, is the result of bad management. Nothing is to be lost by letting staff be a part of finding the solution. He asked the commission to come up with their own solutions to this.
Wendy Calomiris, SF Boys and Girls Home, recounted the successes they have had serving the children in SF, and opposed any further cuts to CBO contracts, because there comes a point after which CBOs cannot provide services, and may not be able to survive.
NTanya Lee, Coleman Advocates, said that the Dept’s commitment to community based services has decreased over the past several years, but despite this, CBOs have stepped up to take on more and more leadership in activities of the Dept, such as JDAI, and other parts of the system in order to make sure young people are getting the services they deserve. A large part of how the general fund support of CBOs has declined is that in order to fill the general fund deficit, as a stopgap measure, TANF was used significantly last year. Now, with the potential loss of TANF, the Dept has only about $700K of available support for CBOs. If this is it, then that would essentially end CBO involvement with the Dept. making it a hollow claim that the Dept is committed to community based interventions as a core part of its mission She also said that there is no clarity to what situation CBOs are facing actually until the State budget is passed, so even further cuts to CBO contracts makes no sense now. Finally, she said that the WC/OT problem is a $3.6 mil. problem for the Dept. this is one of the worst in the City, and is 6 times more money than is given to general fund support of the CBOs. This is a management crisis and the Commission should hold the management accountable for this and push for the most aggressive measures possible to bring this crisis under control. She proposed taking another $400K out of WC/OT. She said that even this wasn’t enough but that if the Commission wanted more money, they could demand it, by getting this crisis under control.
Bruce Fisher, Huckleberry Youth Services, pointed out that every study done in the past 25 yrs in SF, emphasized community based programming. The policy of any enlightened effort needs to have this. Support for CBOs cannot be cut. He said in the spirit of cooperation, he agreed to take a cut in his contract in order to save one job for the Dept. He further recounted some of the successes of the CARC and Huckleberry Youth Services (the latter being a model that New York uses). He is working with the Dept to reduce costs to the Dept in the running of CARC.
Kristen Atkinson, BHNC, opposed any further cuts to CBO contracts. She gave a summary of the activities they’ve been involved in to make sure that services are continued in case of disruption from the Dept’s contract. She also mentioned the anti gang activities they’ve become known for on a national basis.
Brenda Rollins, (1204) clarified what she does in the role that’s being proposed for reduction. She said that the description given to the Commission by the director of personnel did not fully show what her responsibilities are. She said that this cut does not produce a large savings. She said that the problem with hiring on calls is the hold up in releasing requisitions. She asked the Commission reconsider this lay-off.
James Bryant, local 790, asked the Commission to try and hold off on lay-offs until after the election, to see just what needs to be done in cutting. He also asked for some balance when considering which jobs to cut, so that not one group (from one union group) doesn’t take the brunt of the cuts, especially since they did not create the fiscal crises faced by the Dept.
Henrietta Lee, Sr. Clerk Typist, said that management does not know what the clerical staff does. She said that the cuts are being made in the lowest rungs, among people who really work at their jobs.
Heidi Isaac, PO, repeated what she said at the Finance Committee meeting Tuesday. She suggested cutting CBO contracts, cutting CARC, getting Youth Court back, opposing the proposed lay-offs, getting the Dept head to take the same 15% pay cut the Mayor is taking. Getting an audit of CBOs to make sure they are doing the work.
Barbara Gainer, PO, said that probation officers cannot afford to be cut, the number is already down. She also recommended adopting the suggestions presented by Rich Perino.
Juanita___, SF Youth Commissioner, spoke in favor of CBOs and against cuts to their contracts.
(name inaudible), Youth Commission, also spoke in support of CBOs.
Denise Coleman, Dir. CARC, spoke in support of CB, and reviewed some of the accomplishments of CARC.
Meredith Perino, repeated what she said at the Finance Committee meeting (see Feb 17 mins).
She said she was still waiting for an answer but hoped that the Commission would at least try to save the jobs of those who have not yet been cut.
There was a discussion regarding continuing the meeting, to requesting an extension.
Comm Dupre asked if there was any other resource that was stepping up to the plate.
The Chief said that the Dept is writing a request to DCYF to increase its Prop J grant to the Dept to equal half a million, but this is not yet hard money.
Comm Dupre asked that the Program Committee find out factually which CBOs are doing well and which aren’t, if any. He referred to comments made earlier by a speaker and did not want this to go unattended to.
Comm Hale took issue with speakers who asked CBOs be cut.
He asked if the deficit amount of $539K could be put into a restricted reserve. M Lui said that that is usually used for revenues not expenses.
Comm Hale recounted having told the Police Commission that it could get rid of bad cops if it wanted to, and similarly,he said of this Dept, that they could find the way to cut counselors or POs, whoever were exploiting the WC process.
He also asked if Title IVe reimbursement be re evaluated for maximizing.
If lay-offs have to be made, then they should come from the Sr. non case-carrying personnel.
M.Lui said that if more revenues were projected, then good justification would need to be given for it. He said that Title IVe is paying something for almost every PO in the Dept, interpreting the legislation pretty broadly, and he wasn’t sure how much more could be gotten from that pot.
Comm Richard encouraged all sides to adopt the right spirit to work together rather than against each other.
The Dep City Attorney read the appropriate section of the Sunshine/Brown Act, regarding continuing the meeting to another time. This is a possibility.
Comm Dupre said that he would write a letter requesting an extension of time for submitting the budget.
Comm Chuck asked for the justification for the extension. Is there some documentation, working paper for this.
The Chief said they had an aggressive plan to deal with OT and WC. Getting requisitions released, and asking DHR to transfer over immediately a 1244 who was a specialist in WC, they could get control of this matter.
Comm Chuck asked, with all that, would any jobs be saved.
The Chief said no. she said also that one big item they had no control over is WC medical indemnity.
Comm Bonilla recounted what his understanding was of missing the deadline. That was, there would be no financial penalty.
D. Kamalanathan said that while that was true, if Feb 20 is missed, the Dept’s budget is turned over to the Mayor’s Budget office to work out.
The Chief suggested submitting it as is, without the Commission’s approval, and letting the Mayor’s office know that we will be working on it to get it to the point where the Commission will approve it.
D. Kamalanathan would not comment on that idea beyond saying that after the Feb. 20 deadline there will be an ongoing discussion regarding the specifics of the budget.
Comm Hale asked if revisions came from the Commission/Dept after the Feb 20, would they be allowed. D. Kamalanathan said that these would be taken into consideration as much as could be during the discussions and budget planning.
It was decided that Comm Dupre would sign off on a letter to request an extension of 2 weeks, to be delivered to the Mayor’s officer on Thursday. The Commission would continue this meeting to Friday.
Comm Chuck asked who would chair the meeting (Comm Dupre would be absent). Comm Dupre designated Comm Bonilla as Chair.
Public Comment: NTanya Lee asked when the documents for Friday’s meeting would be available to the public. There were no new documents that were being planned for introduction on Friday.
The question was called and upon roll call vote, carried, 5-0.