Saturday, October 15, 2011

Non-Uniformed Employees Win Arbitration Against City of Deerfield Beach

Well, it looks like the crap crack team that Deerfield Beach City Manager, Burgess Hanson, has compiled at City Hall has done it again.

Last year, Burgess and staff laid-off about 106 of the non-uniformed employees citing the City was broke.  During this same time, Burgess and crew were recruiting and hiring some highly educated individuals to run this City.  Peggy Noland and Bill Ganz were elated, as they kept pronouncing that what we had before was ruining this City and now we have the people with the education to get this City on track.

Well unfortunately for Burgess, Peggy, and Bill at least one of those highly educated individuals that was hired last year Mike Milawnowski, the Director of In-Humane resources, has done a big boo-boo and now Burgess has a pile of, well I won't say it, on his face.

Apparently, according to recently released arbitration documents between the City's Contract Negotiation team and the Non-Uniformed Union regarding those lay-offs.  It was found that the City, well Burgess Hanson, Keven Klopp and Mike Milanowski:

"did not properly prepare a list of regular full time employees in accordance with their rank on the four equally weighed factors of classification seniority, department seniority, City seniority and performance evaluations."
and therefore:

"The City is ordered to prepare a list of all employees which ranks them on the four equally weighted factors of classification seniority, department seniority, City seniority, and performance evaluations for all classifications in which they have held permanent classification.  If an employee has held permanent classification in more than one classification he/she shall have their classification seniority determined for every classification held in accordance with Article 13(2)(f) or Article 13(2)(h) as appropriate depending on whether their classifications were in the same classification division."
Now this means that:

Layoffs by job classification are to be made in accordance with the ranking of employees on that list.  Employees who were laid off on July 30, 2010 and are shown to be properly laid off on the ranking list to be prepared under this order shall remain on layoff status.  Employees who are shown on the ranking list to have been improperly laid off shall be returned to work with unbroken seniority and back pay from the effective date of the layoff less any unemployment compensation they received and are not obligated to repay, and less any income from wages they received from work undertaken to replace the income lost when they were laid off.  Interest on net back pay is awarded at an annually compounded interest rate of 3.00 percent per year
So anyone who was laid-off last year according to, what amounts to being a list compiled by monkey's, may be returned to work if they were not laid off in accordance with the Union Contract and City Ordinances.  They will be returned to work with no loss of seniority and the City will have to "PAY" them back pay from the termination date, plus 3% per year.

Now, the kicker here is, according to the arbitration documents, they found that when the City laid these poor individuals off, without notice by the way and without discussing it with the Union, they did so and must have been in such a hurry to do so because:

The layoff notices that were issued on July 30, 2010 to the employees involved stated that the notice was being issued under the authority of “the City’s Personnel Rules and Regulations as contained in City Ordinance No. 617, …”.  That notification is wrong on several points.  First of all, Ordinance No. 617 applies to Firefighters and sworn Police Officers who are not involved in this layoff.  The correct Ordinance is Number 651.  Additionally, and importantly, the City’s Personnel Rules and Regulations are not “contained” in Ordinance Number 651, as will be more fully explained belowIt is reasonable to conclude that this badly worded reference to authority has caused confusion that has contributed to the events surrounding this grievance.  While the notice is deficient, it does not, in and by itself, create a basis for either denying or sustaining the grievance.  Denying or sustaining the grievance must be based on the facts and the controlling language in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.   
How could these highly educated and highly paid individuals make a mistake like this that will cost the City thousands upon thousands of dollars to repair???

So they did the lay-offs to save the City money, but because they did it wrong it will end up cost the City more than it would have had we not done the lay-offs.  

Wow!  What geniuses we employ...

Anyway, the City did these lay-offs and then claimed that they were done because 

During the years immediately preceding this grievance the City had experienced a reduction in its ad valorem tax revenue due to the lower assessed value of the real estate property within its taxing jurisdiction.   As it prepared its FY 2011 budget it was facing approximately a 17 million dollar shortfall in its general fund.  A major source of funding for the City’s general fund is ad valorem property taxes.  In 2007 the property tax revenue received by the City from ad valorem property taxes was $39,668,749.  By 2010 that revenue had decreased to $33,595,627.  As the 2011 budget was being prepared the ad valorem property tax revenue received by the City was expected to continue to decrease slightly.  The parties stipulated at the hearing that the City was in a difficult financial situation headed into FY 2011In response to these financial pressures the City undertook several revenue enhancement and cost reduction initiatives in an attempt to reduce the budgetary shortfall for FY 2011.  It increased the millage rate from 5.79 to 6.788, it increased fire assessment and inspection fees, it increased building inspection and permit fees, and raised parking fees and fines for violations.  These actions reduced the projected budget shortfall to approximately $6,000,000.  Cost reduction initiatives included approximately $1,000,000 saved by renegotiating the law enforcement services contract the City had with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, $1,800,000 was saved in the City’s Fire Department by freezing merit and longevity pay, not funding vacant positions and reductions in clothing allowances.  Additional savings were obtained by eliminating merit and cost of living adjustments for bargaining unit and non-bargaining unit employees.  Additionally, the Parks and Recreation Department, Public Works Department, the Office of the City Manager, and the Office of Management and Budget were reorganized for greater efficiency and a lower employee count.  These efforts, however, did not result in a balanced budget.  Prior to the time the 2011 budget was prepared, the reserve fund of the City had been reduced to approximately $9,000,000 by substantial withdrawals in 2009 and 2010.  The City determined that further withdrawal from its reserve fund would not be prudent, and that in order to balance the budget it would be necessary to lay off employees.
So, the City claimed that it was broke and the layoffs were a necessity.  So one would imagine that  since the City itself was crying broke, how could it afford to hand out raises and why would it do so, considering the fact that it was broke and needed to save money. 

Well, we have learned from public records request that Fire Chief Chad Broccato, among others, requested and received raises in January 2011, some six months following these layoffs.  I guess Burgess had fixed our Budget problem.  The first thing he did was spend the money he saved by the layoffs in capital projects...unfortunately for the residents and taxpayers of Deerfield Beach those capital projects were and are finding money to give upper management pay raises.  To which I have been informed that at a recent meeting with several members of the IUPAT union and staff, Burgess Hanson was quoted as saying "it's my money and i'll give raises to whoever I want".  Now this has not been confirmed as of yet, but a prr is in the works to see if there is a transcript.  We know he feels this is true as it is evident because in July 2011 Burgess handed out another set of raises or re-classifications, of which, Mike Milawnowski was one who requested and received a $20,000.00 raise after only one year of service to the City.  I wonder if that was a reward for doing such a "bang-up" job with those lay-offs.  If so, Mike can we get a refund.

Hell, at the arbitration hearing the City, under Mike "I just got a $20,000.00 raise, so what do I care" Milawnowski, claimed 
that it could not figure out how to use city seniority, departmental seniority and performance evaluations in equal weighting as provided for in Article 13 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement to determine which employee to layoff without being arbitrary and capricious.
Damn, this is what we get for $125,000.00 plus, someone who can't even make a list.  

"How many highly educated and over-paid City of Deerfield Beach Management Staff does it take to screw up a "list".  I don't know, but we know it only took two to screw up the City and those two are Burgess Hanson and Keven Klopp, whose mis-management of this City is worse than anything Deetjen and Mahaney could have done.  Ok, I know that is a little much, but you get the point.  

When will our poor City get the leadership of management and commission that it needs to make a real change for the betterment of all of its citizens.  Because right now only a select few, like always, are benefiting and reaping the rewards of government, an inept government, but  government none the less.

Well so far, Burgess Hanson's legacy has been and will be 

  • -a lay-off that saved costed the City money
  • -a balanced budget that has cost the taxpayers an additional 10% on their utilities
  • -a workforce of non-uniformed employees that are overworked, underpaid, and highly taxed
  • -a City Commission that is HATED by it's people
  • -a plethora of residents in an uprising. 
    •  One even resulting to the circulation of petitions just to ask the City Commission to correct a mistake they allowed Burgess Hanson and his staff to make...
  • -closing of the "Teen Center" and putting the teens back out on the streets
    • Did anyone read of that 2 teens broke into and vandalized about thirty cars in Deerfield in one night?
  • -Sold our Home town Fire Department off to BSO, instead of the City looking at ways for additional cost savings by making cuts in that department.
    • We all know that that is where most of the City's money is funneled too, thanks Peggy Noland for your support of the Firemen's Defined Pension Plan.  I am sure that when you voted on that back in 1994, you and your husband celebrated big time.  Should that have been considered a "Conflict of Interest"...we know Howard Noland definately got a "SPECIAL GAIN" from that vote.
  • -Help facilitate at least 4 major audits (that we know of so far) have been initiated and completed under his watch.  
    • One (HUD OIG Audit of the Community Development Dept) resulting in a few hundred thousand dollars that the City had to pay back to the government and one (FEMA OIG Audit of the City of Deerfield Beach) which may result in a few million dollar payback.

Oh, I forgot the main thing that he has accomplished is a more highly educated, highly trained, highly paid, highly audited, and some highly incompetent management staff who he seems to "make it rain" on at his discretion all while telling the residents that the City is broke, but he always finds funds to throw at management, like dollars bills on a stripper at the King of Diamonds. 

That's our tax dollars at work, people.

The above is just the short list of the positive things that the regime of Burgess Hanson and Keven Klopp, under the tutelage of Peggy Noland and Bill Ganz,  have accomplished here in Deerfield Beach in one and half short years.

Most, if not all, of the residents, businesses, and non-uniformed employees are more miserable than ever.  Their moral is down and the public trust has never been more bankrupt than it is now.  

The only ones that have anything to be happy about are the Firemen, BSO, Peggy/Bill/Marty, and the host of management that have received the lucrative raises and re-classifications from Burgess Hanson, who seems to be handing them out like he is spending his own money.

 It's time for a change Deerfield Beach, before that is all that is left in outreasury...pennies, nickels and dimes...some change!

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