Paso Robles is the Taj Mahal and taxpayers are paying dearly
April 30, 2012
While our schools are in dire need and our kids can only go to school three days a week in May because there is no money to pay teachers, the city of Paso Robles continues to be oblivious to their needs.
Teachers have been paying for school supplies out of their own pockets for years for our kids. We have eliminated school recreational programs and closed our swimming pool. Our kids need an education. We need teachers to be at work teaching them. They are the future of Paso Robles. City officials turn a blind eye on our schools and their education.
They would rather spend money and studies on the beautification of Paso Robles. They want to make our city another Napa Valley. They do not care about our kids, our citizens and our residents.
There is a sharp contrast as to what the city is doing and what the schools are being forced to do. The money spent to make this city beautiful for tourists should have been given to our schools instead. We should have helped them, not ignore them.
I have spent the last couple of weeks doing my own audit on where my tax dollars are going. The more I find out, the more agitated I get. Our tax dollars are going directly into the city of Paso Robles to pay for the ultra-fine salaries and benefits of its employees. I am not talking about our Police, Fire, or Emergency Services. I am talking about city employees and the Paso Robles City Employees Association only.
Did You Know?
The city has job descriptions that have a minimum and a maximum salary. I looked at the information on the State Controller’s Office that Paso Robles submitted on salaries paid. Based on what happened in the city of Bell, all California cities had to submit salaries paid to city employees in 2010. In addition, I used the data on Resolution 11-119 (Adopted September 2011) to gather my information. I will address the salaries and issues at the end of this letter.
City employees retire at age 55.
They received 100 percent health, dental and vision 100 percent for the employee, but now resolution 11-119 changed a few benefits.
Medical — employees with one dependent the city pays $805.53 and employee will pay $114.41. Family Plan, city will pay $1141.30 and the employee will pay $168.58.
Dental — The city pays 100 percent for employee. Family Plan City pays 93.63 and employees pay $6.92.
Vision –The city pays $14.96 Employees pay 0.
Resolution 11-119 now says for the term of this agreement, for both health and dental and vision insurance, the city will modify its maximum contribution by an amount equal to 100 percent of the employee only premium, and three quarters of premium increases for employee and dependents. Employees shall be responsible for the one quarter of any increases.
Upon retiring at age 55, the city pays a lifetime monthly salary to each employee of $500.00 for health benefits for all employees with 10 years or greater service. Resolution 11-119 changed that to be:
Employees with a hire date of Jan. 1, 2012 with at least 20 years of service will receive the $500.00 monthly payment only to the age of 65.
City employees receive 11 days of holiday pay per year and one extra day for their birthday just because it is “Their special day” making the total paid days 12 per year.
In addition during the term of this agreement only, employees shall be granted one additional floating holiday but the extra day off must be taken by June 30, 2012.
Deferred Compensation- All unit employees shall be eligible to participate. The city will match contributions to a maximum of $20.00 per pay period.
Stolen Property- If you use your own personal property at work and it gets stolen from city premises, no worries just fill out a form and the city will reimburse you for the stolen property.
Child Care- the city shall maintain in effect the existing discount child care program for the term of this agreement.
Bilingual Pay- The city pays $100 per month to qualified employees who provide bilingual services.
Salaries – Effective July 1, 2012 all deferred salaries/benefits increases by city employees since September 2008 will be paid.
Effective July 1, our city manager will receive a salary of $179,541. Here is a cost comparison from the city of San Jose California with a population of 958,789 versus the city of Paso Robles with a population of 30,000.
As I stated above, I did an audit on the salaries submitted by the City of Paso Robles. I now question the validity of the information sent to the State Controller’s Office. Here is why.
1. Paso Robles reported salaries and benefits for five council members and one mayor.
2. Many of the positions are for professional managers I,II,III. When I question a salary on the data of professional manager lll, I was told I had it wrong. I should have looked at professional safety managers lll. There was no safety managers at all in the data sent to the state controllers office.
3. There are approximately 40 positions listed as recreation staff assistants l,ll, lll, or IV. These people didn’t make much money under salaries so I asked human resources who they were and were they really city employees. I also wanted to verify if we paid benefits to them. The employees are part time city employees who work less than 20 hours per week, and yes they do get benefits which are based on hours worked. There were no benefits listed for these people on the data that went to the state controller’s office.
Note to city, does the word temporary employee mean anything to you? You would not have to carry these employees on the books nor would you have to pay them any benefits if they were temporary. Why do we have almost 40 people working part time in the recreation department. When we cut all the recreation programs and closed the pool?
Minimum and maximum salary levels
Every job has a classification associated with it. The maximum is the most you can be paid for this job.
Professional manager II in recreation minimum $70,944, maximum $90,118, actual salary paid $98,233.
Maintenance supervisor- minimum $50,544, maximum $64,212, actual salary paid $106,173. When I asked about this I was told it could be overtime and benefits.
Again, these salaries are from 2010. With the four-year deferred salary adjustments effective July 1, these salary ranges will go up. We, the taxpayers will continue to pay an alarming rate of increases every year for the same job being done. There has to be a ceiling on the amount of money we should be paying for these jobs. When you hit that ceiling, that is as far as you can go. Raising the maximums each year is not the answer.