Back in 1970, when I was a new adjuster trainee for the Automobile Club of Southern California, I was given “settlement authority” by the company to negotiate the settlements of personal injury claims sustained by auto accident victims. Over the years, I have dispersed several millions of dollars to individual victims. There was no specific guideline to the value of a personal injury claim and, as result, there was always a potential to “overpay” a claim, based on unwarranted sympathy for the victim.
The ultimate advice given to me by my training supervisor, was to ” spend the Auto Club’s money as if it were my own.”
That remains good advice for those who have a stewardship position over taxpayer coffers, such as the City Council which is spending, after all, our own money.
The Second Principle that I want to apply in Re-Thinking Wildomar, after prioritizing city services that are mandated by law, is “Competitiveness.’
For example, after incorporation and as the infant City of Wildomar began to implement specific services to replace what the County of Riverside had previously provided, City Staffers engaged the services of a public works company, PV Maintenance, headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita California, to abate weeds on our rural roadsides and to repair our paved roads when necessary.
It is likely that part of the original attraction in hiring this company was the broad scope of the services they provided.
It made sense at the time.
But that was then.
This is now.
Please click on the following link and scroll down to page 4 to confirm:
Given the date of June 24, 2009 for the above reference, and the County services for the first year of Wildomar’s existence were about to lapse as of July 01, 2009, retaining the services of a company like PV Maintenance that has “a good understanding of what the city is looking for” made sense during the transition.
However, Wildomar is no longer struggling in its infancy. With a budget line item of $900,000, it would make sense to break up the original contract into two separate scopes of work, such as “weed abatement” and “road repair”and seek competitive bids for each scope.
It is my estimation that Wildomar could probably gain at least a 10% reduction by competitive bidding, which would result in a savings of approximately $90,000 for the current budget year.
Once again, with the current economy and the transition of Wildomar from infancy to a level of civic maturity, it would be appropriate to re-think our executive needs.
In his Response to Comments letter to LAFCO, dated April 30, 2007, Incorporation Consultant Gary Thompson, discussed the matter of City Manager salary, as follows:
“…. it is appropriate to assume in the CFA that a higher than average salary may be required to due the nature and complexity of managing a startup city.”
Wildomar is no longer a “startup city.” In the same way, a new building being constructed has a complete scaffolding system erected around it until it is completed. However, upon completion the scaffolding is removed.
The current base salary for the City Manager of Wildomar is $179,000 per year. With the usual perquisites and benefits, the total expense exceeds $250,000.
The base salary of the Governor of the Late Great State of California is currently set at $173,987. There are 329,000 State employees for the Governor to manage.
Wildomar, with a population of approximately 32,000 people, currently has less than 10 employees. In addition, it also has a Assistant City Manager.
In my opinion, Wildomar should consider eliminating the top executive position, at a savings of $250,000, and instead retain the services of a single executive, for no more than $150,000 per year, base salary.
Currently, there are 16 City Managers in the state of California who make over $300,000 per year. This is outrageous, unconscionable and unwarranted.
Please click on the following link to confirm:
Perhaps Wildomar can begin to deflate the expectations of those who work in the public sector and who engorge themselves at the public trough. ($300,000 per year is engorgement).
I’m not against any human being earning sufficient income to care for his family (most of us are doing that for far less than $150,000 per year). If anyone wants more than that, he or she should go into the private sector.
Surely, someone with the public managerial experience would be willing to work for $150,000 per year. According to Answers.com, the salary range for city managers nationwide varies from $80,000 to $220,000. I suspect that a $80,000 a year man or woman city manager in Missouri, with experience, would consider moving to Wildomar for a decent raise to $150,000 per year.
In closing, now that Wildomar has been established for three years plus, I suggest we can get by, if not thrive, with one executive at City Hall.
A reallocated $250,000 would be available to scrape/grade most of Wildomar’s dirt roads and repair more than a few paved ones.
Your cogent comments are permitted, and invited, below.