All Articles Tagged "city budget"
(Chicago Tribune) — As Mayor Rahm Emanuel prepares to present his first budget next month, Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson is tossing out dozens of ways to raise more money and cut the size of city government. Many of them are politically poisonous: a city income tax, tolls on Lake Shore Drive, higher ambulance fees. Others could conceivably gain traction: making garbage pickup more efficient, cutting layers of management and making all city employees work 40 hours a week. Each of the 63 ideas, Ferguson says, is pointed toward highlighting the desperate plight of city finances in the coming years and the need for action to head off a financial meltdown.
(Washington Post) — A Senate committee cleared the bill containing federal funds for the District on Thursday without adding any controversial policy “riders,” setting up a clash later this year with the House over a possible ban on government-funded abortions in the city. The Senate appropriations measure, which also covers the Treasury Department and several other agencies, is silent on the abortion issue and — despite fears from some local activists — no Republicans attempted to add such language during panel consideration. It was unclear when the bill will reach the Senate floor.
(AJC) — Fulton County still faces a sizable 2012 budget shortfall, finance managers reported this week, but not nearly as much as first projected. Several county commissioners are questioning the latest math, however, and Finance Director Patrick O’Connor said the situation is still so critical that the commission should reconsider his recommendation for a countywide property tax rate hike, which it previously rejected. ”We’re still in a very fiscal-stressed position,” O’Connor said. Earlier this week Budget Manager Hakeem Oshikoya told the commission that with revenues coming in higher than anticipated and expenditures totaling less, the projected 2012 deficit is now $22.1 million. The first shortfall estimate in March was $107.3 million.
(Chicago Sun Times) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel could wring $300 million from the combined $1.8 billion budgets of Chicago’s Police and Fire Departments, in part by dramatically altering union contracts that expire June 30, an influential alderman said Thursday. “There’s no more sacred cows when the taxpayers are hurting like they are,” said Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), former chairman of the City Council’s Police and Fire Committee. Beale has already infuriated the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) by targeting the $1,800-a-year uniform allowance officers receive as well as duty-availability pay, a $2,800-a-year lump sum that essentially compensates officers for being on call at any time.
(Chicago News Cooperative) — More than six weeks after Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced he could dismiss as many as 625 city workers to balance this year’s budget, just a small fraction of that number have received layoff notices. Only 165 workers were let go so far, according to city documents obtained by the Chicago News Cooperative through the Freedom of Information Act. On July 15, the mayor held a news conference at City Hall to say he had no choice but to dismiss hundreds of workers after union leaders did not accept contract concessions that he requested. “This is a process, and these things take time,” Kathleen Strand, a spokeswoman for the city’s budget office, said last week when asked about the layoff list. Labor leaders representing potentially affected city workers said they have become frustrated by what they described as stonewalling by the mayor and his aides.
(Chicago Sun Times) — The head of Chicago’s police union on Wednesday blasted City Hall’s proposal to slash $190 million from the police department’s budget, saying it’s based on phony “Enron-style” accounting. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he would target “central office” positions to cut the police department’s $1.3 billion budget. He refused to say whether he would also eliminate about 1,400 police vacancies in the department’s budgeted strength of about 13,500 officers. Police Supt. Garry McCarthy has said that would achieve about $93 million in savings. Mike Shields, president of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police, questioned whether cutting vacancies would save any money. “How does ‘eliminating vacancies’ save $93 million when zero dollars were being spent on the vacant spots in the first place?” he asked. “That’s some real Enron-style accounting.”
(Wall Street Journal) — New York City’s mayor should be prohibited in the future from inserting multimillion dollar expenditures into the budget at the 11th hour without public scrutiny, as Michael Bloomberg did with his initiative to help minority youth, several City Council members said Thursday. Council Member Peter Vallone Jr., a Queens Democrat, said he is exploring the possibility of introducing legislation that would bar the mayor from earmarking taxpayer funds for yet-to-be announced policy initiatives after the time for public review has ended. In late June, unbeknown to many council members, the mayor quietly secured $22.5 million in public money for his new program to aid young black and Latino men. The funding was included in budget documents that council members received on the day they adopted the city’s $66 billion budget, but some city lawmakers said they were outraged that there was no public hearing or council briefing on the plan.
(Washington Post) — Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s administration is requiring dozens of staffers to sign nondisclosure agreements prohibiting them from revealing potential cost-saving and revenue-raising measures they discuss during a top-to-bottom performance review of city government this year. During the past two weeks, nearly 100 employees have been given the confidentiality agreements by Suzanne Peck, a former chief technology officer for the city and Metro, who is heading the One City Performance Review. Some employees, including agency directors, privately balked at signing the document, saying it contradicts Gray’s promise of a transparent government and infringes on whistleblower protections. The action by Peck, who is conducting the review pro bono, has generated tension in an administration that has tried to stay focused despite the distraction of current investigations into hiring decisions made earlier this year.
(New York Times) — In Brooklyn, a night in jail often lasts longer than one night. Sometimes it can drag out over two or even three nights. Last month, the city’s criminal courts reduced their weekend hours, shortening shifts in response to state budget cuts. Court officials promised to monitor the dockets “hour by hour and day by day” to ensure that prisoners were arraigned promptly. But the result has been what defense lawyers feared: People arrested may wait for days before appearing in front of a judge, particularly in Brooklyn Criminal Court, which handles the highest volume of arraignments. State law requires that the authorities bring defendants before a judge “without unnecessary delay,” which the state’s highest court has interpreted to mean 24 hours under normal conditions.
(New York Times) — There is perhaps no more fitting finale to a long legal career than a judgeship. Ascending the bench after years appearing before it can bring power, respect, personal satisfaction, reasonable hours and, often, free parking. There have traditionally been few steps beyond: Retirement. Or death. But across the country — and in New York, more than most places — being a judge has in recent years come with one big negative: the salary. New York judges have not had a raise in 12 years, making the state one of the more extreme examples of a growing pay gap nationally between judges and other professionals, including partners at top law firms, who can earn 10 times the salary of the judge before whom they are arguing a case. Now, for the first time in memory, judges are leaving the bench in relatively large numbers — not to retire, but to return to being practicing lawyers. Turnover in New York has increased rapidly in the last few years: nearly 1 in 10 judges are now leaving annually, a new study shows.