Budget Crisis Looks Even Bleaker

San Jose City Manager Debra Figone unveiled her proposed budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year on Monday, and the forecast is grim.

With a projected shortfall of $115.2 million, Figone’s budget says 588 city positions will likely need to be eliminated when compared to a year ago, which comes out to roughly 10 percent less workers (This is somewhat misleading though, Figone notes, because an agreement was reached to employ 62 police officers for one year after last year’s budget was adopted.)

Of the 588 jobs to be eliminated, 370 workers would be subject to layoffs. These numbers come under the assumption that the city will get all 11 labor unions to agree to an ongoing 10 percent cut in total compensation for city workers.

The elimination of positions includes: 195 positions in the police department; 64 positions in the fire department; 72 positions in the library department as well as limiting libraries to being open three days per week; and 182 in the parks and rec department. An additional 446 workers will be moved to different positions through the seniority/bumping process, including a number of who will move into lower-paying positions. Part-time workers will also be eliminated.

A doomsday scenario would be if the city cannot come to agreement with the six remaining unions on ongoing compensation cuts. If no agreement is reached, 156 more police officers could be laid off as well as 290 non-public safety employees.

Figone’s budget attributes the shortfall to a number of factors, but since 2000-2001, she writes, “the average cost per employee has risen 101%, while revenues increased by only 29%.”

Click Here for a Quick Rundown of City Manager Debra Figone’s Proposed Budget for the 2011-12 Fiscal Year.

Mayor Chuck Reed’s office put out a statement following the release of the budget: “San Jose is facing its most difficult fiscal situation ever. Closing this gap will have a drastic impact on the services that residents depend on every day from police and fire, to libraries and community services – and the situation could get worse.

“The City Manager’s budget proposal is built on the idea of shared sacrifice: 10 percent cuts in total compensation from all employees (based on 2009-2010 salary levels) to avoid cuts in services and some layoffs. However, many of our largest unions have not yet come forward to share the pain. If they don’t, San Jose faces even greater cuts that will decimate services to our residents. San Jose employees work hard and are committed to serving the residents of this great city. In times like these, we must pull together to save services and jobs.

“We cannot continue to cut services and layoff employees year after year. We must attack the root causes of our structural budget deficit so we can restore police and fire services, libraries and community centers. As bad as it is, San Jose’s situation could get worse if retirement costs aren’t brought under control. Retirement costs are the largest single driving factor of our structural budget deficit. By 2015, San Jose is projected to be paying $400 million a year to cover the cost for commitments made to our employees and retirees – and that’s the optimistic scenario. It’s bad, and it could be worse. It’s time for Fiscal Reform.”

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.


  1. Shortly, or before the end of the year I am sure that San Pedro Square will be open and the massive tax generation from that job creating engine will save the city.

    Remember it was not long ago that the City made the wise financial decision to hand out 7 plus million dollars to former Mayor Mcenry to open this farmers market, similar to Pike’s Market or the Grove in LA.  It was shovel ready, remember and it was going to create jobs and be open in less than a year.  Hardy har har…if the city would stop giving away our tax money to our local Donald Trump impersonator and stop wasting money on other nonsense this deficit would not be what it is.

    Mcenery and his puppet Liccardo fooled us again, maybe they can talk it over at a Sharks game, remember Sam…buy your own ticket this time, no freebies!!!

    • We already have a privately-owned, family-operated, fresh produce market that rents small spaces to local farmers—it’s called the San Jose Flea Market!!  The San Jose Flea Market has been in business for over 50 years – and pay attention to this…without public subsidies! 
      So yes, despite the cries from those being weaned off of RDA funds, it can be done.

      • >>We already have a privately-owned, family-operated, fresh produce market that rents small spaces to local farmers—it’s called the San Jose Flea Market!! 

        It’s kind of funny you mention that.

        About a year ago a prominent Metro writer posted on his facebook how awesome McEnerys new farmers market was going to be.  I commented something to the effect of “We already have one at the flea market” and Gary read gave me a ration of crap saying something like “I hate it when people don’t want to bring anything new or cool to SJ”

        Cool does not come with a price tag. You cannot buy your way into being “cool” no matter how hard you try.  Fonzie never had to spend a dime (remember how he’d just give the jukebox a magic kick to get free plays?)

        The Flea Market is a hot piece of property, there are so many housing developers that want it.  I heard the the Bumbs (owners) want to sell it, and move the flea market somewhere south, like Coyote valley.  My suggestion is to move it to the Fairgrounds.

    • The other thing is, why is the San Jose Arena where it is?  People have very short memories.

      All the businesses that where in that area were put out of business by the RDA/City.  The Arena is down street from the McEnery owned San Pedro Square holdings.

      The old FMC plant on Coleman Ave. next to the airport was a proposed site for the arena.  There was a third proposed site for the arena, and even I cannot remember where it was.  Funny how the Arena ended up being built where it is.  Down the street from the former Mayor’s property holdings.

      • …and how the former Mayor ended up owning part of the Arena’s major tenant and building management team, The Sharks.  Hmm…how do you spell, Conflict of Interest?
        BTW – the alternative proposed site was in N. San Jose, off 237 and 880, where the available land could support both an Arena and Stadium with ample parking—but apparently was not suitable to support the former Mayor’s “best” interests.

    • “… massive tax generation from that job creating engine…”—- I know you say this with tongue in cheek.  Most folks with an IQ higher than an eggplant know that this is just another $7,000,000 dumped down the rathole known as downtown.  Sorry, but you can’t make downtown something it will never be.  But look at the positive side:  that dough now lines the pockets of politicians, developers and lobbyists, the unholy triune of pimps.

  2. I ask the city to post the proposal they sent to the San Jose Police Officers.  The city does not give a damn about public safety.  Pete Consant is the true poster child of double dipping and running amouck,  Reed needs to go too.

    Check out the letter the city sent to the officers, 10%  pay reduction is not good enough, what else do they want, they want to lay off 150 officers. Citizens of SJ I wish you well.  I am sure the Megans Law Team is soon to go, so who is going to watch all the 1200+ sex offenders, I wish you well!

    Thank God I retired, since I could not afford to live in San Jose.

    • Couln’t agree with you more.  Pete Constant is a JOKE! Can’t believe he receives to paychecks from the City especially durign this budget crisis … Doesn’t he receieve disability?  If so, why is he moving heavy tables around and setting up for meetings…Wow! Why doesn’t the City Manager look at that?  By the way, how many people receiving a pink slip over where they all work… Seems like they are just going after the services that improve the community.

    • Scam, I’m not sure if you secured the release of any proposals, but the City Clerk has a form and information on a city web site explaining the Public Records Act.

      The Act does not provide for facts to be provided in answers to questions, but if you can figure out what papers hold the facts, you can ask to see the papers or get copies for yourself.

      Here is the link with information and a form to use:


      Dale Warner

  3. WHEN will the city commission a special team of accountants to examine the spending decisions that contributed to this budget demise? Hmmmmm, NEVER,…it would hold these politicians, INCLUDING REED THE TERRIBLE, for their contribution this situation. Listening to Reed, et al it would appear that public pension and benefits caused this WORLDWIDE RECESSION. WOW,…did not realize we had so much influence.

    • Reed began ascent to office as the head of the Planning Commission in the late 1980’s, when many downtown disasters were just taking root.  The razing of historic landmarks, systematic banishment of mom-and-pop shops, eminent domaining of minority neighborhoods – replaced by expensive granite pavers, palm trees, near-vacant storefronts, and empty promises.

      This economy is just shining the light upon what has long been a political shell game:  Guess what kids, The Emperor is wearing no clothes!

  4. That’s way too many layoff’s, sounds like Reed has finally done it.  He killed Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Barney the Big Purple Dinosaur, Bozo the Clown wait I’m sorry he’s still on staff on Council, Curly from the Three Stooges Oops… He’s on Council too.  Anyway Reed has also killed the City of San Jose along the way.  He finally killed all of the jobs once held by so many excellent employees.  Those fine people will be out of work now because of Reed.  The good thing is his term is up in a couple of years, but he has already done “MAJOR” damage.  Figone, that’s a different story, way different………

  5. The City is NOT negotiating in good faith. Unions are making proposals and City declares impasse, without making any good faith effort to negotiate. They want you to believe that it is the unions, but it isn’t. It is the City. They need to sit down and make fair negotiations. We all know that it is necessary to do our part. We are willing to do that, but if they cannot do what is right, then we will do what is necessary to do what is best for our own. With MEF and CEO unions, they want 12% reduction in salary, when they have only requested 10% from ALL other unions. MEF and CEO have offered 10%, JUST LIKE THE OTHER UNIONS, so they declared impasse. We will do what is necessary to ensure that we are treated fairly.

    • MEF and CEO have not offered what other unions agreed to, that is not true.  The other unions agreed to a 10% total compensation cut that is permanent and on-going, MEF/CEO offered to restore the 10% cut when the contract expired, not permanent or on-going but rather temporary.  MEF/CEO offered no retirement reform, not even for new hires.  MEF/CEO took a 2% RAISE last year and the council has asked for that raise back.

      MEF/CEO leadership is taking their membership off a cliff and they appear to be living in fantasyland.  Take a look at the proposals for yourself, they are all posted on the city website and check out the letters that have been exchanged, MEF/CEO look like clowns.

      • Let me clarify. What you are stating is not what I am talking about. Please reread what I wrote. What I am talking about is the 12% versus the 10%. They want 12% from us and we offered the 10%, just as the other unions. 10%, not 12%. I’m not referring to anything else. The City is trying to take back our last year’s 2% raise. We had a contract for that 2%. We had given up our raise the year before and also gave up even another raise a couple years before that. Last year, we weren’t going to do it, yet again. We had a contract and if they take/impose on that 2%, then they have breached the contract and we will see them in court. They have not negotiated in good faith. They submitted their proposal for what they wanted and we submitted a counter proposal. They came back with their same proposal, with no changes and when we submitted our proposal, they declared impasse. What kind of negotiation is that? We need to take them to court for unfair negotiations. If they impose, I hope that is what we do. They don’t want the public to see how they treat their employees, so they do not want the negotiations opened to the public, but the employees want them opened so the public can see the truth. If MEF/CEO look like clowns, the City look like slime. If they would fairly negotiate, the clown aspect would go away. We are tired of their antics. To the City, it appears that contracts are made to be broken.

        • Why aren’t you talking about what previous poster listed?  Could it be that it doesn’t fit your narrow view of a cooperative union negotiating group?

          Most residents aren’t union haters or anti-city worker but it makes it very hard to continually support unions that don’t seem to deal above board with the city’s limited funds.

          Frankly, I’m tired of all of your antics.  You say that to the city it appears contracts are made to be broken.  Apparently to the unions only our bank is made to be broken.  Tax payers are tapped out.  Reduce, cut, restructure, furlough, tighten the belt, accept concessions, there is no more money!

        • 10% total compensation is not the same as a 10% pay cut.  MEF did not match what ALL other unions would pay for health care premiums and medical co-pays, MEF did not match the on-going wage cut of those bargaining units that have settled, they offered nothing in terms of ANY retirement reform, disability reform, SRBR reform, sick leave payout reform.  It is not accurate to say that MEF has offered the same as other unions that have settled because it is not true.  To say here is a temporary pay reduction that is restored when the term of the contract is expired is not what the other unions agreed to…check your facts.  Good luck with your lawsuit, you will lose and with it you will lose a whole lot more, like the last glimmer of respect from the public.

        • Just like “Something They Aren’t Telling You” said, we gave up a raise a couple years ago and also gave up another raise year before last, when others didn’t. We did our part. So why should we have to give that raise back, as well? We contracted for it. The contract was not reopened. If they take it, it is illegal.

        • Simply because his/her post was not what I was addressing. I couldnL give a rat’s a$$ about what you are tired about. I need to be able to feed my family and put a roof over their heads.

        • “Good luck with your lawsuit, you will lose and with it you will lose a whole lot more, like the last glimmer of respect from the public.”


    • The unions have declared an “us” and “them” situation time and again.  “The City” is the people.  Its OUR money and even though the council and mayor are the caretakers of it we residents are the “them” you refer to with utter disdain. 

      You claim “they” say its the unions unwilling to negotiate fairly.  You claim it is them and we can believe what we want.  So I ask you, what proof do YOU have that it is “them”?  Or should we simply take you at your word?

      All the union negotiators seem so eager to blame Mayor Reed but don’t seem to even want to look back at Mayor Gonzalez, Council members Chavez and Campos who were for years union darlings who approved contact after contract.  The contracts that got “us” in trouble are the ones they championed. 

      If you have sour grapes maybe you should look no further than your House of Labor and mirrors.  “WE” are out of money.

      • Nobody is forgeting anything… Infact I remember that “Mayor Reed” served 8 years as a councilman before his first 4-year mayoral term. I also remember how snidely he quips when challenged that in his first 12 years on teh council he NEVER voted against ANY employee barganing unit contract brought before the council! And how he was elected and re-elected with the endorsments of all those bargaining units partly because of his votes in support of wage and benefit increases he promised and delivered on – he got 3 of mine.

        I also know that as an 8 year councilman he became vested (in PERS after 5 years) and earned 4 more years of credit ( now has 12+) and will have earn a total of 16 years credit at the end of his current mayoral term.  HE got/gets 2% a year and will get a minimum retirement of 32% of his salary – unless he runs for another public office. If elected he will continuw to earn service credits until he retires or is retired with will probably occur when he maxes out at 50% of his years or average of his last 3 years of works salary. 

        So ya, we remember. Now I hope you do too…. because he has no problem ( nor does Pierluigi) taking a taxpayer funded pension while trying to take away mine.

  6. If the city manager is worth the $350,000 a year she get paid (total compensation over $400,000) and she cannot balance our budget it’s time for her to leave. The entire budget is over $3.5 billion dollars. That includes 500,000 in subsidies n loans. If the city only needs $38 million to keep essential services how can the loan out$1/2 billion dollars or divert $900,000,000+ into the airport that has not turned a profit in 11 years? Obviously the city council has said it’s priorities are not our safety but taking care of political allies and subsidizing an airport nobody uses. Stop the madness

    • Your wild assumptions are not correct.  The City Manager had $276K in total comensation last year, it is in the salary lists. And while we would all like to take from one fund such as capital and move it to the General Fund, you can’t.  The three funds that make up the $3 billion plus budget have restrictions.  Changing the overall finaiancial strucutre is a good idea, but it will not happen just because people say it will. It will take discipline and courage by the City Council to get things back in order, starting with fixing the retirement system.  Good luck with your coalition and I hope you will be part of the overall needed change.

      • The only thing I am seeing the Council do is spend, spend, spend money on “IF” baseball stadiums, over budget Airports(they cant afford to Police) and over the top city halls.I dont see any City Officials and all of their assistants taking 10% off their over 100K a year jobs. We need to start a new ballot measure that says “only NATIVE San Joseans can be on the city council”because “Dorothy,were not in Kansas anymore” San Jose is with the big cities and it needs to step up and start acting like a responsible one!

        • The City Managers staff, Council and the City Senior Staff all took 10% total comp ongoing pay reductions last year.

          As they deal with this structural budget deficit you are seeing changes in the way they are spending and they are taking on the difficult issues.  The airport building funds and the staffing are two diffferent funds.

      • Bullshit!  Aside from committed bond funding and perhaps a few other items, capital and special funding set-asides in the future can easily be permanently and more appropriate diverted into the general fund.  The politicians, developers and lobbyists (the pimp triune) would all have you believe we’re all locked into the budget from hell until the end of time. 

        The truth is, in making changes to the current funding mis-alignments, the pimp triune would lose the payoffs, grease, quid pro quo arrangements and graft that feeds the machine.  I challenge our council members or our crack city attorney to prove these continued and pervasive statements are any more than lies!

        • Moving money from the other funds to the GF has been suggested to PLO Reed and Deb so many times that no one keeps count any more.

          THEY say that it is illegal to move the money from the Cap Fund or Special Fund to the GF and they will not consider changing the laws they have purview over to make it a possibility.

          So while you, me and many other think this is legal, possible and reasonable during times of great need THEY say NO WAY!

      • Please don’t forget the $61k the city contributed to her pension….retirement reform IS needed indeed. 

        All I have heard about is how the unions need to make concessions, not about how our “leaders” are also tightening their belts and leading by example. How can they talk about cutting core services when they keep spending?

        • The elected’s in power in San Jose and Sacramento don’t have the courage to do real pension reform.  And the professional staff are just killing time until they max their own pensions and don’t have a personal interest in being honest about the systemic problem with pensions.

          State wide reform will probably have to come either piece meal via localities doing it (as Campbell and Palo Alto did with council votes)or with some statewide initiative. 

          But sadly all reform measures to date have basically “kicked the can down the road” and tinker with reform via second tier pensions.  The looting of the public sector by the baby boomers is something we’ll be paying for for 50 years. 

          I’m actually hopeful that we can get to bankruptcy to re-open all the ridiculous agreements and promises made that folks act like they can’t touch while we’re closing libraries, laying off police and all the rest.  Retiring health and pensions for current and past employees can be revisited in bankruptcy court.

      • In your message you state the 3 funds make up $3 billions dollars and moving that money you can’t? All it takes is 6 out 10 Council members voting “YES” and it is moved. Get the facts and move toward replacing our Mayor and Council NOW! Wake up before it is too late and lets “RECALL”!

        • Many of the funds are retricited based on bond votes, state laws, the collection process etc.  It is not just a simple vote of the Council.  You also have the general fund made up of revenue from sales taxes, property taxes, contrcution and conveyence tax and more, all of which has taken a severe downturn and will not bounce back like the stock markets.  It would be no different than saying the 20% of Redevelopment monies that is set asisde by law for low moderate income housing should be used for public safety, something I am all in favor for and would need to changed at the State legilative level.  I do not believe that San Jose elected officials have the power you percieve them to have.  There are rules that they must follow, they can not just pull facts,figures and make votes out of a hat like the spin doctors say.  This budget crisis is real and I hope will lead to some of the type of change to the budget process you reference but it is no where as simple as just a yes vote.  There should also be pension reform as well as a strong focus on the core servcies a City should provide.

    • I’d bet that Ms Figone could balance the budget very easily.  We just wouldn’t like the cuts to employees or services.  The unions tie her hands no matter what she’s paid.

      I have an idea, why doesn’t new distric 5 councilmember Xavier Campos go back and find the money that was “lost” while he was C.O.O. at MACSA and redeposit that in the city coffers?  You know, the money that has vanished, was embezzeled or at the very least misappropriated by the incompetent team at Macsa that Mr Campos headed up.  Money that was given to MACSA in grants from city, county and state services. 

      How stupid are the eastside voters that put him in charge of our city funds when he couldn’t manage the much smaller but still in disarray budget of that agency?

      The city as a whole will pay for that disaster twice now.  Thanks a lot eastside.

  7. Why must employee costs becovered solely by revenue? The airport is not or it would have been sold to the county 9 years ago.
    This is a example of discretionarynspending. Council beware…you may get away with this today but next years reelections will have the final word

    • Maybe the last years elections gave them their mandate already. 

      Voters overwhelmingly supported measure V & W to reform and limit union tricks.

      Mayor Reed was handily re-elected.

      A good number of union city workers don’t even live in San Jose so the threat of we-will-vote-you-out rings hollow.  If they had that kind of juice things would have looked different last Nov.

      Atta boy Chuck!

      • V and W passed but Mayor Reed’s hand-picked council candidates lost, why is that?  Voters want politicians to leave their ideology at the door and problem solve and that is what you are getting with the Rocha and Campos.  The mandate would have been true for what Reed wanted if Carrasco (is she still living in the district) and Pegram (Pellman) would have won but one lost in a close election and the other got stomped.  Chuck works every week to cobble together 6-votes and that has been good for the city, it makes both sides work together to problem solve and we are in dire need of that.

      • “A good number of union city workers don’t even live in San Jose so the threat of we-will-vote-you-out rings hollow.  If they had that kind of juice things would have looked different last Nov.”

        They have families, who have families, who have friends, who have friends, in San Jose.

        The juice wasn’t being squeezed in November. It is just getting to that point where the fruit is over ripened and needs a squishing. Give it time. If everybody pulls together…. Things are being worked out—out of radar sight.

  8. Who will update the City’s General Plan? Are these positions going to be eliminated? I was reading in the Budget that the 5 positions dedicated to Envision 2040 are funded only through Oct 2011. Will there be no one updating/maintaining the General Plan after this? or will these positions be preserved?

  9. “However, many of our largest unions have not yet come forward to share the pain. If they don’t, San Jose faces even greater cuts that will decimate services to our residents.”

    This is a scare tactic to rally the citizens, yet once again. The City is not telling the citizens that if the unions do not make concessions, the City just steps in and imposes on them and takes the reduction from their salaries, anyway. That is exactly what they are trying to get to by declaring impasse, when they haven’t even negotiated. Why are they leading the public to believe that if the unions do not give concessions, there will be more layoffs, when they know good and well they are going to take the salaries, no matter what? They make me sick! Stinkin’ liars.

  10. Quote from City’s letter to POA:

    “The latest proposal from the POA includes a temporary one-time base pay reduction of 10% beginning July 1, 2011. The means that on June 30, 2010, all employees represented by the POA would receive a 10% wage increase.”

    Any discussion of an increase or decrease in wages and benefits requires a starting point and, as is the case in all labor negotiations, that starting point must be the current level of compensation. Likewise, negotiations require an agreed upon term—in this case, one year. Thus, the POA’s offer of a 10% cut in wages is a decrease, pure and simple. It is an offer that would have our police officers making less yet doing, at the minimum, the same work, for the entirety of the contract period. Yet in the above quote we have Alex Gurza, the City’s Director of Employee Relations, employing the Orwellian logic typical of his species, framing a very real decrease as an increase.

    Mr. Gurza must be studying the collected works of Chuck Reed, whose turned his disrespect for contract law into a substitute for the personal appeal he’s never had. People of this lowly ilk were once confined to running shell games or hustling elixirs. What a curse it is to the employees of this city to have to do business with so despicable a bunch. A mayor who blames employees for budget decisions not theirs to make, and would sell our safety in service to his billionaire baseball impresario; a city councilman who steals campaign signs and uses his position to dodge accountability; another who, thinking himself a talented businessman, works the system into a retirement, only to make a political run back to the City’s teat—chased by his own entrepreneurial incompetence; and now a negotiating team that plays word games with people’s livelihoods.

    • The problem with the POA proposal is that it is not ongoing.  The Mayor and City Council have been very clear that the 10% reductions must be ongoing, not one time to just kick the can down the road.  The other five or so bargaining groups that have already settled understood this.  Again, as I see on this site, if you can’t defend your position with facts, result to personal attacks.

      • Ongoing????  Well is it possible that the POA does not trust the City do be honest in the negotiation process?  Fire gave up 10% “ongoing” with the understanding that they would have no lay-offs.  Did I read something wrong (if I did please correct me) does not the proposed budget now call for 60 fire fighters to be laid off?  The POA will kick the can down the road for 1 year and then if needed they can give another 10% (it is called a one year contract).  The City is going to lay off over 100 this year even with the 10%, that is not enough for you?  Is it possible that the POA wants to see how many they lose next year before they give up 10% forever?  It is a negotiation process not an ultimatum process, or it used to be…..  The POA has offered other items up to save the City the money they claim to need, the City seems to only want one thing, that is not a good faith negotiation, in my humble opinion.

      • Standing firm on particular point (10%) is not negotiating.  No more so than having to pay exactly the sticker price on a car is haggling with the dealer.  What would you say if the Union’s position was, “We’ll give you nothing” and refused to budge?

        • > Standing firm on particular point (10%) is not negotiating.

          Oh, really!!

          I guess in your dictionary “negotiating” means that you have to give in and agree to lose.

          OK.  I’ll take Poland, Czechoslovakia, France, and Italy.

          But, nice person that I am, I will negotiate in good faith and agree to give back Sicily and Monaco.

  11. I read through Ash Kalra’s May newsletter.  Not a single mention of San Jose’s budget crisis.  Mr. Kalra’s “Don’t worry Be Happy” approach to leading is one of the reasons why San Jose is in such trouble. When is Mr. Kalra going to talk about real solutions to our crisis?  What happens next year?  Do we outsource police and fire services to Wackenhut?

    • Ash Kalra expected to exert leadership?  Thats pretty comical.  Now that Nora Campos is gone and her flunky brother Xavier (you know the one who just sits there like a deer in headlights at the council meetings) Mr Kalra is the defacto union owned council member. 

      I thought you knew????

    • The negotiation process has rules outlined in the various Memorandum of Agreements which outlines the fromal negotiators and the news media is not one of them.  If the ground rules state take your proposals to the press first, then it would be OK to do that, I don’t think they do.  So the City negotiator is correct to point that out in his letter.  Just like the old Fire Union President who held several press conferences last year with sensational propganda that was all disputed and shown to be inaccurate with the real facts makes for a few days of news coverage but does not get anywhere.  They can continue to send proposals directly to the council and media before submitting them to the Office of employe Relations, but it is clear violations of the their MOA’s. 

      I believe negotiaions open to the public would be the best direction much like Council Member Oliverio has asked for.  The City has done a good job of posting al the corespondence for all bargaining groups on the City web site.

      • Neither are there any rules in “Council Policy O-39”  or in the City Managers Memo “Council’s Guiding Principles for Negotiation.” other than those stated as “binding on the City.”

        So who is being transparent and open? The City talks a good game about openness but hides behind policies and memos that they generate?

        The Mayor and City Manager have stated over and over again that employee salary and pension costs are the cause of the City’s financial problems. The City demanded a 10% salary reduction and pension reform. They got EXACTLY THAT AND MORE in the last two offers from the POA! Yet the City rejected both?

        Not only did the City reject both offers but they countered with what? A 10% salary reduction reinstitution of the uniform allowance, elimination of SJPD at the Airport, Elimination of all Exempt Officer Positions (at a time when they claim all disability pensions except a sitting councilman’s are suspect)  and a bunch of Letters agreeing to ongoing negotiations for pension reform, sick-leave buyout reform….. which amounts to savings that will still result in more than 120 layoffs???

        The Public has an absolute right to know this.Who better than the Media to inform you?  After all it was the public who listened to the Mayor, City Manager and Council via that same “media”  and Voted overwhelmingly for Measures V and W believing Reed, Figone, Constant and Oliverio when they told you that your vote was going to save police and firefighter’s jobs!

        The “City” lied to you then and they are lying to you now. They are doing it while feigning a desire for transparency and openness yet hiding behind the rules that they made and can change but will not.

        • @ Need to Follow the Rules:

          ***“They can continue to send proposals directly to the council and media before submitting them to the Office of employe Relations, but it is clear violations of the their MOA’s.” ***

          I don’t know about any other MOA but there is no language (none-zero-zip-nada!) in the SJPOA-City MOA that was even remotely violated IF it in-fact the POA proposal was sent to the media BEFORE it was sent to Gurza – NONE!

          …AND, there is certainly NO contractual or ethical violation if the proposal was provided to the media AFTER it was delevered to Gurza. N-O-N-E!

        • Not to mention that Gurza turned around and did the same thing on Monday when the city rejected the POA’s offer. I found out on the Mercury website before I was emailed by the POA. Way to go Alex, I see you subscribe to the theory of “Do as I say, not as I do.” Hypocrite!

        • To Mr. or Ms. Dumas,

          Possibly Article 29 of the MOA.

          For purposes of administering the terms and provisions of the various ordinances,
          resolutions, rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this Memorandum of Agreement:

          29.1 Management’s principal authorized agent shall be the Director of Employee
          Relations, or his/her duly authorized representative except where a particular
          Management representative is otherwise designated.

          29.2 The Employee Organization’s principal authorized agent shall be the President of
          the San Jose Police Officers’ Association, or his/her duly authorized

          That along with any established ground rules and common courtesy would keep the negotiations with the authorized representatives, not providing the offers to the press first then the negotiation table.  I am all for opening negotiations to the public so both sides can be heard but I think it is desperate actions if you think the POA should provide their proposals to the press first.  The devil is always in the detials, not sound bites.

        • Sorry, article 29 defines the agents for the two parties in the ratified contract. It has nothing to do with negotiating the terms and everything to do with enforcing the terms.

        • Com Prendo,

          Speaking of MOA terms, your MOA also references Employee Resolution #39367 and the Meyer-Milias-Brown Act and also states the dates for negotiations to be commenced.  You can cntinue to take your proposals to the press first, but I believe it is not an act of good faith and you are a losing the battle of public sentiment.  As I stated before, I am all for negotiations to be open to the public so the intricate details can be shared.  I hope that will happen.  Happy Cinco De Mayo.

  12. @ What Don’t You Understand About Ongoing

    Every word of my post is factually accurate, including the insults, all well deserved by the scoundrels referenced.

    What the City proposes is what the City proposes, just as it is with the POA. A salary decrease on the table from the POA is just that, and no amount of squirming or double-talk by Alex Gurza will turn it into a future raise. What you don’t understand is that what the Mayor and City Council “have been very clear about” is not to be confused with god’s word. They don’t get to dictate the content of the employee group’s offer, and they have no right to misrepresent it.

    The POA is certainly aware that to accept a permanent 10% reduction in salary this year is a guarantee to see an additional 10% cut put on the table next year, and believe me, no one from the City will be referencing any previous salary basis when promoting it. It will be identified as a reasonable 10% cut, a continuation of the cooperative effort, on every memo, in every news release, and in every lie coming out of Chuck Reed’s lipless mouth. More demotions and layoffs will be threatened, and dupes like you will cheer it all on.

    A deep hatred for city hall now exists at SJPD and it will take a heroic effort on the part of every police officer not to affect with that hatred the residents of this city who’ve overwhelmingly supported Chuck Reed’s reign of terror. The safety of this city has always depended on the willingness of the officers of its understaffed police department to take the extra risk—of personal injury, complaint, lawsuit, etc., to give the public the law enforcement it deserves. That will end, if it hasn’t already, and “the law enforcement the public deserves” will take on a whole new meaning.

    Enjoy. Personally, I’m armed to the teeth.

    • The POA offer has a sunset in 2012 on the wage reduction, while the mayor and Coucnil has asked for the 10% to be ongoing.  You are right, that is not God’s word, but in the end they are the ones who have the final say outside of aribitration. I don’t see it as them dictating, just facing the brutal reality they are faced with.  Fire did concede the 10% ongoing along with some significant staffing changes this year.  The irony is that last year Fire would not bend and POA conceded just enough to get through wtht no lay offs but did lose unfilled positions.  This year seems just the opposite.

      There was also a post above from “retired” that made the assumption that the Fire contract gaurenteed no lay offs which was not the case from what I read on the City site and the news outlets.  I also do not believe the name calling and insults get us anywhere.  I did attend the District 6 Community budget hearing and Councilemeber Oliverio was clear that he felt the 10% was significant and would not ask for more.  I’m sure this doesn’t calm your fear that the City will come back next year for another 10% but I take him at his word.  There are solutions out there but they are not easy.

  13. Reed went from Planning to General Plan Update then Council, VTA Board by lining up political support and contributions from developers, sports teams, corporations, community groups, Chamber, Downtown and Rotary then ran successfully for Mayor.

    Who is following Reed’s well travel successful political path to the Mayor office and who Reed will endorse?

    • Reed, Please “STOP” posting here.  You have not been successful, you have no clue of what your doing, it’s so obvious this old man can see the “CORRUPTION” connections.  No one cares who you endorse, The City of San Jose is going down like the Titanic with Reed at the helm steering straight at the iceberg and the entire Council are tossing women and children out of the life boats trying to save themselves……

      Reed = Loser
      Council = More Losers
      City Tax Payers = The Real Losers

      Old Frank

  14. Where is Dan Fenton when you need him?  The “Flim Flam Man” could fix all of this.  Hell he’s so smart he got fired from Team San Jose, BUT ended up working for the Company that is going to renovate the San Jose Convention Center and again have control of taxpayer money. 

    I want an explanation to how that happens?  This City is F’d UP! with CORRUPTION… And they are laying off Cops and Firefighters and employees and closing Libraries to save the Arts?  Pleeeeasse Give me a break, who needs the Arts during this dire economy. 

    We need to move quickly to unseat the CLOWNS at City Hall.  They are very dangerous, they are ALL self absorbed with how much they think they know about damn near everything. 

    Crooked Mayor, Scheming City Manager, Triple Dipping fraud committing ex—cop, Above the law councilman, A grandma that is way over her head, I could go on but I won’t.  Time for a major change in this city and it’s time to start a movement to boot these folks out of their positions.   

    Old Frank

  15. Another reason for the city’s dire fiscal condition—union work rules that send three men to do the job of one.

    Case in point: yesterday around 7:30 a.m. I was walking past The Fallon House when I observed two men with orange safety vests standing with their hands in their pockets looking down.  As I got closer, I could see that they were looking down at a lone man, who was on his hand and knees digging up something in the lawn of the Fallon House with a small trowel-like implement.

    I watched, bemused, for about five minutes while this lone man “worked”, while two folks “supervised” his work by staring blankly at him as he dug around in the lawn.

    After a few minutes, the smaller man started walking around the lawn area with his hands in his pockets, while the other guy with the HUGE beer belly just continued to stare at the lone man “working”.  It looked like he was digging up grass that had grown around sprinkler heads or drains.

    I left, shaking my head—one guy digging, two guys (presumably leads or managers, and thus more highly paid) just standing around. Kinda like a mini-CalTrans project.

    When I returned 20 minutes later, the same man was digging, but in a different area of the lawn, the fat guy was still standing above him “supervising” and the other guy was still strolling around the property with his hands in his pockets, doing absolutely nothing except drawing pay.  There were a few more areas with grass removed.

    I believe The Fallon House people, whoever they are, contract with City of San Jose to maintain the property.

    It is this kind of wastefullness, multiplied hundreds of times per day throughout San Jose, that causes our budget deficit.

    I took 3 photos with my phone, but can’t figure out how to download them to this blog.

      • I would, if I had an extra $500k.

        I went back today and discovered what had taken three guys half an hour to do.  They uncovered 3 small rectangular concrete “boxes” in the ground with covers on them.  They could be sprinkler controllers or even electrical items of some sort.

        I guess the one guy working was too exhausted to complete the job, so he just put an orange cone over the third hole.

    • Always amusing to read of your curbside personnel evaluations. Certainly there may be those who do not work to their full capacity but your drive-by observations really aren’t worth much.
      You have no idea what the actual project was or any other possible issues involved. Maybe, by chance, your description is accurate and these guys were just “standing around” but I doubt it.
      Since you like to constantly take swipes at City workers why not at least do a complete job yourself. Find out just what was going on—call the applicable department, etc.
      You probably won’t go to the effort to provide a complete story though and will probably just continue to take pot-shots at City workers.
      I am not a City worker nor retiree. I just think these incomplete observations don’t serve anyone well.

  16. So tell us JK how it is that the city can claim money ftomthe funds cannot be moved around yet, they do it often (read the city’s own webpage and you willsee Scott Johnsons notations n proposals to move monies between funds every year. Also then how does councilsay ‘can’t be done’but then immediately do things likegive away old city to settle a debt after years of claiming city hall couldn’t be touched for legal reasons. It’s the inconsistencies that give us the impression the council is full of crap

  17. So even with a correction to salaries that were allowed to inflate too high too fast, we’re still facing not only layoffs but major service cuts?

    It seems to me that incrementalism is going to sink this city.  Rather than cuts basic services like library hours and police patrols, we could consider completely eliminating some non-core services.  Dept of Housing, Office of Economic Development, Environmental Services, etc.  Find a way to preserve some of the functions via ordinance and contracting when needed, but otherwise shut the whole departments.

    Also, its time to put public works on the table.  Let’s propose merging our operation with the county and some neighboring cities to maximize benefit and reduce costs.  Capital equipment, engineering expertise can all be shared.

    Finally, its also time to look at guild like rules for staffing that promote a profession over public service.  You don’t actually need a full-time librarian to run a branch library, but you do need them for collection development and reference work.  The rest of the “Business” of a public library can be handled by para-professionals at much lower pay scales.

    You also don’t need a bunch of firefighters and firefighting equipment to answer a medical call.  Its silly, expensive and kinda stupid.  Building codes reduced the number of major fires over the years and so in the 70’s the profession expanded to include medical first responder so they looked busy and didn’t get cut.  Does it really make sense?  Well, if I was having a medical event, I’d certainly want a rapid response, so in a way, it does, but why don’t we just put ambulance or paremedic units at some fire stations and have some crews on rolling patrol for quick response.  Cheaper than rolling a ladder truck for a slip & fall.  And while we’re at it, San Jose cannot afford the coverage it desires with the current system.  To only way to maintain or even expand coverage is to think outside the box.

    One notion is adding contract services such as merger with county or state fire resources in certain locations, partnering for enhanced service and reduced cost.  It is about serving the residents with the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars, right?

    There’s more but excessive content encourages marginalization as people look for short zinger posts they can flame about.

    • Blair,

      It’s all about rice bowls.  Take away somebody’s rice bowl and the the whole machine stops.  Politicans, developers and lobbyists all suffer from less graft and, before you know it, they’ll be shopping with food stamps at WalMart… an unsufferable ending to a career steeped in lies, payoffs and sociopathic behavior.

    • Environmental Services?  So you do not consider water supply, the sewer systems, sewage treatment, and waste management (garbage collection and recycling) to be core services?  Seriously?  (Not to mention that all of these services are completely user fee supported, their enterprise funds are completely solvent, and they have zero impact on the General Fund)

      • Most of those services are provided by private contractors.  For example, Santa Clara Valley Water District is a public agency that serves as the water wholesaler for the county and the retail provider is San Jose Water Company, a publicly listed for-profit company.

        Same with curbside garbage/recycling, its a big ticket contract awarded to a private for profit company.  There’s usually a lot that goes into the contract (including campaign contributions to every council member, council candidate and perks for staff who might have influence with the above.)

        Sewers and waste water treatment – yes, it is nominally a city department, but since its off the books and self-supporting, why not spin it off as a separate agency (merge with the water district maybe?)

        Do we really need the staff and payroll for this whole department when most of the actual work is by contractors?  Sure you need some expertise in house to make sure the contractor isn’t cheating, but a competent city manager and staff can provide that without a 10, 20, 30 or more person department of highly paid environmental services staff all with nice pay checks and pensions.

        • Using contracts and spinning off are both ideas worth considering.  However, this previous post misses the point.  Nothing done with the Environmental Services utilities would have any impact on the General Fund, which is where the problem is.  The utilities are efficiently managed (based on benchmarking against other public and private operations), self-sufficient, and solvent.

    • “It is about serving the residents with the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars, right?”

      Government efficiency is an oxymoron.  There has never been a need for efficiency.  They just keep hiring

      • Not always…

        The City of San Jose’s Water Utility delivers exactly the same service as the San Jose Water Company, a private corporation.  And, are you ready for this, the water rates for the City’s utility are 30% lower than the private company.  For both, the water rates cover all costs.  This private company has a return on investment for its stockholders of about 10%.  So the majority of the difference is due to the remarkable efficiency of the City operation.  And the infrastructure of the City water utility is completely up to date – no deferred infrastructure at all.  And the City water utility has more responsible policies relative to water conservation, recycled water, and fluoridation, all of which add to costs.

        • I’m actually a fan of municipal utilities where they are run well.  Sounds like this is an example of one.  Other examples include Santa Clara and Palo Alto handling electricity and natural gas as a public utility and doing so at a lower price with better service than PG&E.

          San Jose, however, outside of the small water business they run, has a pretty bad record of running “business like” operations (Arena, convention center, museums and parks, etc.)  I’m afraid my trust level is low with the folks occupying offices on Santa Clara Street, so I’d be inclined to divest rather than invest with anything they come up with.  If you care about the long term health of our community, you have to find ways to work around the short-sighted politicians and administrators who have a looter mentality.

  18. Blair – all good cost reduction suggestions especially eliminating non essential departments and functions

    San Jose has too many high paid duplicate Assistant City Managers, Directors, Assistant Directors and Senior Manager not needed after city worker layoffs which could save many millions with no impact on services

    Council and City Manager who runs budget have listened but were unwilling to change city government to solve annual budget deficit and politically for last 9 years don’t take responsibility for the budget problems they have created or made worst

    City made small budget reductions hoping economy and tax revenues would improve while long term budget situation got worst forcing this years more drastic cuts and large layoffs later this year

    Politically connected groups and individuals that benefit from city’s non essential services, high costs and inefficient work methods continue to fight any changes

  19. So police and other public employees are now hating on the citizens of San Jose because the citizens, who had no part in the backroom negotiations between the unions and union owned city council years ago, don’t have the resources to continue funding the ponzi scheme known as public employee compensation.

    It’s a bitch when you have to give up your gold plated seat in first class and join the chattel citizenry in 401k coach. 

    The public employee union party is over.  And this isn’t in any way unique to San Jose or Mayor Reed.
    It’s happening all over the country.

  20. Novice,

    Since I didn’t say anything about the police “hating on the citizens” I don’t understand why you chose to misconstrue my words. The hatred aimed at city hall has nothing to do with economic realities, it is instead a natural reaction to being scapegoated, publicly insulted, and lied to by this city’s elected and appointed officials.

    Only a fool, someone say like Chuck Reed, would expect a group of employees—let alone the group that must deal with the worst elements of this city—to be unaffected by dirty politics and duplicitous bargaining and fail to recognize that it might “affect” how they do their jobs. As I stated in my post, the public has for decades been getting extraordinary service from its chronically understaffed police department by way of the everyday decisions of its officers to absorb risks above and beyond the call of duty. Should our street cops respond to the mayors ugly campaign by deciding to do their jobs as their police chief does his—by dodging controversy, using rules as refuge, and bending at every turn, our streets will become as unsafe to walk as they are uncomfortable to drive.

    The only thing worse would be if the cops did their jobs as the mayor and the council have done theirs.

  21. Word of mouth is powerful. If the City fails to deal with us fairly, get together all family members, who live in San Jose, and have them pass the word to their friends, extended families, coworkers and then to their friends friends and coworkers and have all of them to pass on the word, on down the line, to vote out the mayor and council members whether they are up for re-election or whether they are moving on to some other venue. Vote them out of any office they may choose to run for, now or in the future. Let’s wait to see how things turn out. If they do not deal fairly, which is all we are asking for, then start getting the word out. UNITE and put it in motion. We can do it. There are strength in numbers. YES WE CAN!!!!

    • So initiative, referendum and recall are all provided to us thanks to the progressive movement in California in the 1920’s.  California and about 20 other states embraced this movement to take back politics from the parties and politicians.

      The reforms included making local races into non-partisan ones where you don’t run as democrat or republican, just on your own name and credibility/experience.

      It also included allowing folks to write their own legislation via initiative, or approve legislation sent to the ballot by a grid-locked legislature (referendum).  And finally, they added a mechanism for removing folks by a recall election when we got buyers remorse.

      Some lament that these reforms have been subverted by special interests who use the initiative process for selfish and self-serving purposes and basically buy legislation through deceptively written ballot initiatives that they qualify with paid signature gatherers ($1-3 per signature is the going rate I think.)

      So long story short, I think we’re better off with these progressive tools that increase our power as citizens.  And despite the condescending talk of politicians and “experts”, we’ve actually shown remarkable restraint at the ballot box in terms of approving things with 2/3 initiatives usually voted down despite the money spent and deceptive advertising.

      In terms of holding politicians accountable, I would hope it would be a holistic view of “are they really serving our community” and not “did a get the $$ I wanted from that contract.”  Selfish service and rewarding the coalition are major traits of the local political establishment and if you aren’t important or can’t help them, they won’t help you. 

      I miss Don Edwards and some of the old school gentlemen politicians who believed in principles and not just power.  We get what we pay for, and if you aren’t used to paying for your politicians, you probably don’t have any working for your interests because that’s how California and the Bay Area operates these days.

  22. ” The City is NOT negotiating in good faith.”

    –  No surprise since Reed / Chamber controls City Hall and most of Council Need to get millions city tax money for San Pedro and Baseball Stadium now redevelopment is dead

    ” 10%  pay reduction is not good enough” 

    – Yes, city really wants 30-40% or more in total pay reductions ( 15-20% ) and increased employee pensions ( from 8% to 25-30 % ) and benefits deductions plus reducing 1500-2000 city employees so more layoffs for next 2-3 years

    ” “the average cost per employee has risen 101%, while revenues increased by only 29%.”

    – Yes cost per employee 101% – 40% employee total cost reduction = 61% employee cost increase City Hall target from 200 – 2013

    ” ..and how the former Mayor ended up owning part of the Arena’s major tenant and building management team, The Sharks.

    – political insiders use tax money and below market rents to enrich themselves and elect politicians that given them more tax money and insider deals

  23. Just remember leftists, you wanted to live in your own little utopia well now you reap what you sow so SUCK ON IT.

    So 115 million dollars in the hole and our leftist council found it in their heart to ban bags.  No wonder we’re financially bankrupt when we have retards like Sam Liccardo and the rest of these pinheads pissing through money on their little pet projects.

    You want to save costs?  Dump this idiotic recycling boondoggle that has cost us billions over the years and returned NOTHING.

    Don’t believe me?  Go check it out for yourself.  Recycling costs a TON of money. The fact is, instead of looking at the massive failure of this program, they’d rather blame it on plastic bags.

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