Council To Take First Of Two Votes Tonight (June 9) On Pre-COVID-19 Mayor/Mungo Proposal To Pay All Mayor-Chosen Appointees To City Hall Advisory Comm'ns And Double Sums Payable To Appointees To Charter Comm'ns
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|(June 9, 2020, 8:05 a.m.) -- Tonight (June 9) the City Council is scheduled to take the first of two votes on proposal by Mayor Robert Garcia. joined by his chosen chair for the Council's "Budget Oversight Committee," Stacy Mungo, and advanced by a Jan. 7, 2020 Council vote to drafting stage, to begin paying (retroactive to Jan. 1) all Mayor-chosen appointees to Council-created "advisory" Commissions (most of whom volunteered to serve without pay) and to double sums paid to Mayoral appointees to several decision-making City Charter-created Commissions.
The item on tonight's (June 9) Council agenda proposes to amend the City's salary resolution to pay $50 to each member for each meeting attended, not to exceed $1,000 maximum per calendar year, to members (mainly Mayor chosen) of the Council appointed Committees below:
If approved, the changes would apply retroactively to January 1, 2020.
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The Council item doesn't include a "Fiscal Impact" statement (under Council policy required with Council memos actions with potential taxpayer impacts.) The January 7, 2020 agenda item (that advanced tonight's proposal for City Attorney drafting on an 8-1 vote (Austin dissenting) included a fiscal impact statement signed by its two co-agendizers, Mayor Garcia and Councilwoman Stacy Mungo. It said the "incremental" (additional) cost of their proposal would be $188,950 for all funds, $86,725 for the General Fund). Garcia-Mungo wrote in Jan. 2020 (pre-COVID-19) that "funding for any changes in compensation to the advisory bodies in FY 20 would be addressed through the identification of one-time funds along with other negotiated employee compensation costs impacting FY 20 and incorporated into the structural budget as part of the FY 21 budget development process...."
As previously reported by LBREPORT.com, city management has since estimated that COVI9-19 will create multi-million dollar revenue shortfalls in multiple City funds, including the General Fund, that could require service cuts for LB taxpayers.
Tonight's (June 9) Council item includes a provision not mentioned in the Garcia-Mungo Jan. 7, 2020 memo narrative, that would let Councilmembers collect $100 each time they convene as members of the "Successor Agency to the [now defunct] Redevelopment Agency of the City of Long Beach." The $100 per meeting compensation is only visible if one reads each line item in its attached legal resolution [which LBREPORT.com did.]
The last time the Council met as the "Successor Agency" on Jan. 7, 2020 its "meeting" (according to City Clerk minutes) lasted from 5:20-5:24 p.m, [at $20 per minute that would amount to an hourly pay rate of $1,200 an hour.]
Councilmembers would also continue to receive $50 each time they convene as LB's "Housing Authority" (which consists of all Council incumbents plus two "tenant representatives.") As previously reported by LBREPORT.com, in 2019, most Housing Authority meetings (scheduled just minutes before Council meetings) ran roughly three to four minutes; LBREPORT.com coverage here.
Tonight's decision is discretionary with the Council. Councilmembers can vote "yes," or make motions to amend or tweak its draft terms, or vote "no." The item requires approval by Council majorities at two successive Council meetings to enact. The June 9 Council vote is the first of the two required votes.
On November 8, 2019, city staff provided the Budget Oversight Committee with a non-agendized memo indicating that if the Commissions meet at the same frequency as in 2018, the annual cost for Commission meetings under management's initial proposal would be roughly $261,750; (all funds) and with a Mungo proposed tweak would be roughly $258,925 (all funds.) The General Fund cost would be roughly $112,225. (If the Commissions meet more frequently, the cost could be higher; and if they met to their legal max, the proposal (by management) could cost up to $733,200 (all funds) and with a Mungo-tweak would cost roughly 494,000 (all funds))
But the Jan. 7, 2020 Mayor-Mungo agendizing memo applied a different metric. It used the "incremental" (i.e. increased) cost (instead of total taxpayer costs for Commission meetings used in management's Nov. 2019 memo.) City staff estimates the incremental (additional) cost is estimated to be $188,950 per year for all funds, $86,725 per year from the Gen'l Fund (if the bodies meet at their current 2018 meeting frequency.)
In mid-2018, the matter of what subjects advisory commissions can discuss and offer advice on begat a loud controversy. An item appeared on the July 10 City Council agenda (i.e. after 2018 Mayor/Council elections) that proposed to tighten city management control over subjects discussed or voted on by the advisory bodies. First reported by LBREPORT.com here, it proposed to have the City Attorney draft Municipal Code provisions to prevent LB City Hall "Advisory Bodies" from agendizing for Commission discussion items not approved by the City Manager of his staff. (The non-elected City Manager answers to the elected Mayor and Council.) The same item also proposed to give the Mayor the power to remove Advisory Commissioner(s) without publicly stating any reason with Council majority voted approval.
The agenda item triggered pushback from some Commission members and from the public on social networks...and Mayor Garcia abruptly moved to temporarily head-off a public confrontation on the matter. Near the start of the Council meeting, Mayor Garcia stated: "Items 25 and 26 are going to be postponed...and also item 27 which is more of a technical report from city management on commissions as they relate to the way they operate. I've asked staff to please bring that back at a later date once they do a little bit more outreach with both Councilmembers as well as some of the Commissioners and Commissions and so that will be my request...")
On January 8, 2019, then-City Manager Pat West quietly advised Councilmembers that Mayor Garcia and the City Manager had taken the following steps:
[Jan. 8, 2019 memo]...To conduct a thorough review of the City's advisory bodies and receive information from a diverse cohort of stakeholders, the City Manager's Office collaborated with the Mayor's Office to create an informal working group of current Commissioners to review the status of the City's advisory bodies and report back to the City Council. The working group will conduct a comprehensive review of the proposed changes to the City's advisory bodies, as well as provide input and recommendations to the City Manager. Members of the working group will be selected by the Mayor and City Manager.
On June 14, 2019, a follow-up memo appeared indicating that city staff planned to move forward with putting changes into effect "that address common administerial enhancements" -- including compensation changes -- before moving forward to implement "the full menu of proposed changes to the advisory bodies..."
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