Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Troxclair Discovers $3 Million in City Budget


"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."
Galatians 6:9

Well, well, well:
According to information provided to the American-Statesman on Tuesday, the city has 32 full-time equivalent staff positions that have been vacant longer than 12 months, amounting to about $2.9 million in salary and retirement costs. City spokesman Bryce Bencivengo said the city has offers pending on 13 of those jobs.

“For transparency’s sake, I think a lot of people would be surprised to know, just like I was, that we have positions that have been vacant since 2005,” Troxclair said, adding that it was the council’s responsibility to “ask questions about what that money is being used for and whether or not we need to continue funding a position that has not been filled.”

Troxclair’s proposed resolution, slated to come before the council Thursday, would direct the city manager to bring a budget amendment to every regular City Council meeting that would “de-appropriate” funds allocated to rank-and-file city jobs that have been vacant at least 12 months. But Troxclair said Tuesday her intent was to have the council informed about vacancies and given the option to eliminate those vacancies based on what department directors say about why the jobs have gone unfilled.

She said she plans to change the resolution so that the council would be updated less frequently, perhaps a midyear check-in rather than at every regular City Council meeting.

Her resolution is co-sponsored by Council Members Ora Houston, Don Zimmerman, Sheri Gallo and Ann Kitchen.

....

“There is so much more information that Ms. Troxclair and the other sponsors need to know,” Oakey wrote in an email, suggesting the council impose a limit on the number of vacant positions and request an accounting of what happens to those dollars.

Of all city departments, Austin Energy has the most longtime vacancies, with 13 positions that have been open for 12 months, accounting for about $1.3 million worth of salary, health care and retirement costs. These vacant positions include highly specialized jobs such as power system engineers and distribution electricians.
Read the whole thing here.

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Bottom Line: This website is grateful for Councilmember Troxclair's faithful diligence.

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