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    Retired Councilman Doug Drummond Comments On Council-Voted "Golden Handshake" For Exiting Mayor O'Neill...And Councilmembers' Consideration Of New Retirement Benefit For Themselves


    (June 24, 2006) -- posts below an email received from retired Councilman Doug Drummond, who served as the 3rd district representative from 1990-1998, including two years as Vice Mayor. He finished third in the recent LB Mayoral election cycle. His email concerns the May 23, 2006 city management recommendation, approved 8-0 by the City Council (Yes: B. Lowenthal, Colonna, O'Donnell, Kell, Richardson, Reyes Uranga, Gabelich, Lerch; 2d dist. vacant) adding the office of Mayor to three citywide elected offices (City Auditor, City Prosecutor, City Att'y) which under a 1997 Council vote receive 50 hours of credited sick leave for each year of their incumbency on retirement. Unless rescinded prior to mid-July, the Council action will effectively give exiting Mayor O'Neill 600 hours of credited sick leave, amounting to a health insurance payment benefit worth roughly $31,000. (O'Neill wasn't present at the May 23 Council meeting; Vice Mayor Jackie Kell presided).

    On July 11, 2006 Councilmembers are scheduled to consider whether to add themselves to the list of LB elected officials eligible to receive the 50 hours of sick leave per year on retirement (for eight-year Councilmembers, 400 hours of credited sick leave), amounting to roughly $650 per Councilmember per year of incumbency. If approved by the Council on July 11, it would apply immediately to retiring Councilman Frank Colonna and (assuming the certified election results remain) Councilwoman Jackie Kell in addition to subsequent qualifying Council retirees.

    The Council actions come almost exactly four years after the Council voted 9-0 in mid-2002 to boost the pensions of non-public safety City Hall employees (which include O'Neill).

    Mr. Drummond: "I'm baffled by the City Attorney's opinion that the move to award pay for "UNUSED" sick time for the Mayor and City Council members is NOT a 'Gift of Government Funds.'

    "I support sick time for ALL employees wherever they work. It is intended to protect workers and their families when sickness or injury strikes. The "accummulated sick time" is used to replace absences and assure continued pay for 40 hour work weeks.

    "The Mayor and City Council members are elected and are paid WHETHER PRESENT OR ABSENT. Their pay is discontinued either by resignation or completion of their term.

    "Am I wrong? Why would they need sicktime? Or, is it a ploy to throw money at themselves? I THINK SO. I'd sure like to see a taxpayers lawsuit on this one."


    Response has begun to come in to retired Councilman Drummond's email:

    Mr. Drummond is SO correct! I truly think the "Gold Handshake" needs a "Cold Shakedown" via a taxpayers lawsuit. Sign me up!

    Mrs. Teresa Ramos
    Los Altos area Long Beach is continuing to receive considerable email in response to our stories on this matter. We're updating salient email at Your Opinions On Mgm't-Proposed, Council-Approved "Golden Handshake" For Exiting Mayor...And Council's Consideration Of Add'l Retirement Benefit For Itself

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