Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pension obligations/ Bl. Twp. and BH schools to "share" costs of a police officer

Hi All,
Today, Thursday, June 20, 2013  is a Bloomfield Hills SCHOOL board meeting at the Doyle Center on Wing Lake Road at 7 PM.

On their agenda is:
  • Rob Glass, Superintendent presenting ?  to the former Bloomfield Township Police Chief, Kirt Bowden who recently retired.
  • Introduction of School Security Officer
Here are the minutes from a previous May 16 school board meeting discussing the "sharing" of the costs for a Bloomfield Township police officer.    The TOWNSHIP has had NO public meeting on this issue to date.

If the SCHOOLS need a "SECURITY OFFICER"  they should HIRE their own from a PRIVATE company that specializes in security.

FYI:  The township has for years assigned officers in a school liaison position.  Currently that is Investigative Officer John Hoffman and Patrol Officer Andrew Racine.  The township commits their entire force to the protection of the children  and adults in this Bloomfield TOWNSHIP community every day.  In my opinion, the officers should not be "for hire" by others.

The Township and the BHSD met and talked ?  When?  Question: what legal firm(s) worked on the contract?
  • The Township has not brought this "contract" to a public agenda.
  • What does the "proposed contract" state?  
  • There was a "selection process"  to choose which of the township officers will be that "security officer"?  Don't you want a security expert with all the current knowledge of available equipment?
  • There is a concern over "rank" of the officer?  Is rank important..why?
  • The officer chosen may have a salary change? 
  • Don't worry if the school is not in the township, there is a  "jurisdictional relationship .... It will not be an issue."  Here we go.... our officers in other communities.

Here is another example of the Township government "seeking revenue".  For a small "fee" the township government does work for other taxing this case... the Bloomfield Hills School District (BHSD).

What most TOWNSHIP residents don't seem to understand is that our township leadership is continuing to create work for our employees OUTSIDE of our taxing jurisdiction.  The township employees are doing assessing in neighboring Sylvan Lake as well as building permits, etc.  The township employees went to Pontiac to do building inspections, etc. for Raleigh Michigan Studios.  The township is currently seeking to do dispatching for neighboring communities.  There were talks of combining police and fire with others.  There are many "interlocal" agreements among the various communities in Oakland County where our employees go elsewhere. 
I understand "sharing" in emergency situations and helping out that way. 
But are other communities relying on the "interlocal agreements" more and more while they eliminate personnel in their city? 

Are the neighboring communities SAVING money by eliminating personnel, or equipment, and thus depending on the "interlocal agreement"  to accomplish some jobs?   Those communities know that in order to SAVE money, one must look carefully at their budget and make changes.  Since so much money is earmarked for pensions and benefits for employees, that is where cuts are often made. 

A decision to "share" an employee(s).... when the taxing authority is different... puts the PENSION benefits and long term obligations to only one community.  In all cases mentioned above, those obligations for pensions, etc.  go to the TOWNSHIP taxpayer.  Right now, that pension fund is underfunded by 85 Million dollars.

This is how Treasurer, Dan Devine, described the proposed $85 million bond  to satisfy the ONE underfunded pension plan as quoted from an article:

Bloomfield Township
June 12, 2013
Bloomfield Township approves bond language to fund pension liabilities
By Robin Ruehlen
C & G Staff Writer

“The obligation will not go away; it’s just a more cost-effective way of satisfying the obligation. Some other communities handle their pension obligations by eliminating positions and reducing salaries. And what happens is, that reduces services to the public. The way we’ve done it, we can maintain an excellent work force and provide sustainable benefits in a cost-effective manner.”
The question to  Dan Devine:  is it the township position to BORROW MONEY instead of eliminating positions or reducing salaries?   

Is borrowing $85 million to provide "sustainable benefits"  a "cost-effective" manner?   NO.  If the money collected each year from the taxpayers cannot pay for its yearly obligation to the pension fund... then there needs to be CUTS in the budget and some of that should be eliminating some employee positions.   It is time to down size township government. 

ALL township employees just got a 2% pay raise in April 2013.  That had to increase the pension liabilities.  When you borrow money ($85 M bond) you must pay it back, with interest, and there are fees included.  I heard... $5 M of that $85 M figure will be paid to others to facilitate the bond sale.  Will that pay day go to those pushing the bond sale in the township?

Bottom Line:
Township residents need to keep their wallets open.  Your elected leadership seeks work for the employees anywhere they can find it .... and while there is a "fee" involved ...  that "fee" never covers all the costs of doing that business.  Private companies go out of business when that happens .... government just borrows more money for YOU to pay back.

As always, My Opinions.

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