Thursday, April 29, 2010
HOW TO BUDGET EDDIE PEREZ STYLE... LESSON #1, CREATING A DEPARTMENT WITHOUT ANYONE REALIZING YOU ARE CREATING A DEPARTMENT
Apparently Mayor Perez has had enough heat placed upon him for a couple of the positions housed in his office. Perez's Capitol Projects Manager James Keaney has been the focus of much discussion and criticism related to Perez. At the time that Keaney was hired, part of his contract deal was a city "take-home" vehicle. According to sources, Keaney requested, and was provided with, a luxury SUV with heated leather seats. To this day, Keaney drives that car back and forth to his home in Cheshire daily at the taxpayers expense.
Further criticism was dumped on Perez when it was revealed that Perez gave Keaney an "ESI" bonus at the time Keaney was hired to boost his salary to more than $180,000. ESI bonuses are intended to be used for existing employees who go above and beyond their job descriptions as a way to reward them.
Perez was further chastised when it was revealed the man James Keaney was hired to replace after his "retirement", was actually hired back as a "Special Assistent to Mayor Perez" at a rate of $85.00 per hour. Charles Crocini was rehired by Perez at about the same time others were being laid off. Even at a part time position, Crocini was(and is) making more than many City employees working full time.
And then add on to that Perez's decision to hire a full time "Energy Czar". He's only making about $90,000 a year, but I don't think he demanded a luxury SUV with heated leather seats, so there is a savings right there.
So, apparently Eddie had enough of being embarrassed by adding staff to his office through the back door approach without the Council's knowledge, in the middle of a hiring freeze none the less.
Well, this year a slick little entry in the Mayor's Budget Book caught my attention.
After reviewing this years budget proposal outlining the Mayor's Office budget, I was encouraged that Perez had come to his senses. No funding for Keaney, Crocini and the rest of the "hiring freeze hires". Was Eddie actually making cuts that made sense, an appropriation line showing -0- dollars.
My hopes were dashed when I got to page 22-1 and saw a "new" Office of Capital Assets. I asked a staffer from the Mayor's Office if it didn't require Council approval to create a new Department or Office? Nope, not if you are slick like Eddie.
Apparently, if no one questions the appropriation and the Council approves the budget, the new department would appear and be legal. Sounds a little underhanded to me, but at least it is out of the Mayor's Office and no one will notice then, too late, sorry.
So I guess Perez can say he reduced his office's budget when he is asked, he probably wont say that he buried the City's highest paid employee somewhere else, on page 22-1 of the budget book