Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Restrictions on State Aid May Continue

Someone mentioned to me recently that stern conditions on acceptance of FY 2010 extraordinary state aid will elapse at the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
But the last sentence of the Memorandum of Understanding between the city and the director of the state Division of Local Government Services states, "It is finally agreed that the terms of this agreement shall be binding upon the City for any and all subsequent years in which Extraordinary Aid funds are allocated to the City."
For FY 2010, the city sought $3.5 million, but received only $250,000. The aid came with many conditions outlined in the four-page MOU, including 13 personnel requirements and six procedural and operational requirements.
Among the personnel requirements were a hiring freeze on new employees, a salary freeze for all employees not covered by a current contractual agreement, no money for charities or "sunshine fund"activities, a reduction in force through attrition and many more constraints.
Anybody connected with the FY 2011 budget process needs to review the MOU, because unless the city intends to forego applying for and accepting extraordinary state aid, the agreement will continue to impact personnel and operational functions.
Unfortunately, the city is still without a permanent finance director and a chief finance officer to guide the budget process. There has been no CFO, a required statutory position, since the end of 2007. The city received an extension to hire one by July 19. At present, City Administrator Bibi Taylor is also serving informally as acting director of Administration, Finance, Health and Social Services, which has the largest number of divisions among the three departments mandated by the City Charter.
Taylor is thus carrying on the legacy of former City Administrator Marc Dashield, who found himself wearing two hats in two prior budget years. The dual burden contributed to the late passage of those two budgets.
If there is a citizen budget advisory committee this year, each member should get a copy of the MOU as context to budget decision-making. Imposition of these conditions must be weighed against the value of possible extraordinary state aid for FY 2011.
--Bernice Paglia


Blogger Rob said...

IF and seriously...ROFL will be the only way to describe it IF it occurs anyone in the city government puts down that they are "expecting" state aid I will be the first to stand up and call that person a complete moron and ROFL. The old ways of Trenton are hopefully going away with Christie here in the Governor's office. I am sure the Mayor will write in requesting State Aid because she won't realize won't a fool it will make her look like, or as per norm, not care, but let's hope there is an ounce of common sense in her head. It would be nice to see fiscal austerity moving forward but I think the "creation" of a NEW baseball league this year is proof enough that the mayor just don't get it!

3:16 AM  
Blogger robert.bolmer said...

Speaking of the 2011 city budget, has anyone been checking with our mayor to make sure she has it ready. We can't blame all the lateness of past budgets on the lack of a CFO, but all blame should squarely go on the mayor's shoulders. I don't know how she can hold her head up in public with the poor job she's doing. I hope she improves and we have a budget and CFO in a timely manner. If not, then withhold the mayor's check until we get what she owes us. As someone who pays her salary, you have my permission to withhold her pay until she earns it.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The mayor can't even respond to the public's written inquiries or return phone calls. What makes you think she'll be able to present a budget?

Oh that's right, her secretary is to blame.

Taylor can't be blamed for the Mayor's incompetence.

12:41 AM  

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