Posts Tagged ‘phipps’

Open Letter to Burbank City Council re Bonuses & Burbank Police Dept. Litigation

February 16, 2011

Dear Burbank City Council Members & Staff,

I want to echo Robert Phipps thoughts on the Bonus issue; I strongly oppose the continuation of this practice and ask that it be discontinued immediately. If that means tearing up and renegotiating MOU’s, so be it. Other Cities are instituting furloughs and laying off City workers. Given the choice I’m sure our Labor Unions would prefer to avoid such drastic actions to balance the budget, and are hopefully willing to renegotiate their contracts just as auto workers did in Detroit for the good of the community, understanding the current economic times, current & anticipated budget deficits, and the public’s overwhelming disapproval. Moreover, I believe it’s time to stop suppressing the truth regarding this and other issues and to start telling the truth. I expect total transparency regarding the amount of bonuses paid to each individual employee, and find it disturbing that the City continues to defend these secret payments and not fully comply with numerous Freedom of Information requests, which have now lead to the Burbank Leader’s parent company (L.A. Times) filing a lawsuit against us (like we don’t already have enough lawsuits). Please do not waste more taxpayers money resisting full disclosure. As the Supreme Court has already ruled on this issue the end result is a given, and outside of delaying the inevitable for political purposes, there is nothing to be gained with the City’s continued stubborn refusal to comply. Please provide the L.A. Times / Burbank Leader and the Public with the requested information asap!

I’d also like to know how almost $2 Million allocated for these bonus payments in last year’s Budget apparently slipped through unnoticed? I expect you as my elected representatives to exercise “due diligence” in making sure that every dollar of taxpayers money is maximized. It blows my mind to think that in the face of an $8+ million deficit last year, no one apparently picked up on this. That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in your leadership. Were you mis-lead by Staff? What else has been hidden from you and us? Try and put yourself in my position; What am I and the public suppose to think? This coupled with your handling of the BPD “mess” and your unconscionable decision to raise Water Rates by 13% and then weeks later hand out a 21% pay raise to BWP GM Ron Davis (payable over 3 years), & 7-11% raises to other Snr. BWP Mgmt, have caused me to loose all confidence in your leadership and ability to make sound decisions in the best interests of Burbank residents. I believe some @ City Hall are completely out of touch with the financial realities & hardships many in this community are facing; you may claim otherwise but your actions in these matters tell another story. It pains me to say this as I have supported all of you on the Council at one time and would much prefer to “sing your praises”, but as the Good Book says; There is a time for encouragement, a time for correction and a time for rebuking. Consider this your public rebuke and call for repentance!

A few closing questions and statements:

Were any bonuses paid to Burbank Police Dept. and other City Employees who gave depositions or declarations/affidavits in any of the existing BPD litigation? If so, to whom and how much?

Will you direct Staff to provide a full list of the names of all City Employees who are related to each other, as per Civil Service Board Member Schlossman’s request, to deal with the nepotism issues that are in my opinion one of the root causes of our many problems?

Will you authorize the release of the Merrick Bobb Report into the BPD “mess” or a redacted (PBOR-friendly) version of it to the Public prior to the General Election? If not, why not?

How much has the City spent in total as of 1/31/11 on Burbank Police Dept. Litigation, including all costs for 3rd party Attorneys, P.I.’s and any other parties in relation to these matters?

How much did my recent Deposition in the matter of Omar Rodriquez et al vs. Burbank Police Dept. et al, cost Burbank taxpayers, including all costs for Subpoenas (Google/YouTube, me), Private Investigators (Gary Prince @ Prince Investigations), Attorneys (Thomas G Mackey @ Jackson Lewis,  Veronica Von Grabow @ Mitchell Silberg & Knupp), Videographer (Chuch Goswitz @ Legal Video Services) and Court Reporter (Lana L. Loper @ Affinity)?

For those of you who aren’t aware, last Tuesday I gave a Deposition in the above matters pursuant to the attached Subpoena and Request for Documents. The Deposition was a result of videos I re-posted on YouTube.com featuring BPOA Pres. Mike Parrinello, who appears to give false testimony on numerous occasions based on secretly recorded audio excerpts played following his answers. I make no apologies for exercising my 1st Amendment Rights in posting the videos; I believe I have a moral responsibility/duty to share important information with the public and will continue to exercise these rights. I was asked how I got the video, if I’d had any communication with any of the parties listed in the subpoena, if I knew who edited or posted the original video, if I know who has 27 secret audio tapes, if I know who a blogger named “Going Nuts” is, and other questions totally unrelated to the case subject matter. At the end of the day it was a fruitless exercise, an abuse of process and waste of everyone’s time and thousands of (taxpayer) dollars.

Below are links to the videos in question FYI. Given that these matters are set for Trial shortly, I would encourage you to direct the City Attorney to focus his time and energy on trying to expedite settlement of these cases before more embarrassing details come out in Court that end up costing taxpayers $ Millions more, not to mention irreparable harm to our City & Police Dept. Haven’t we already wasted enough money? Haven’t enough people been hurt, reputations & careers ruined, and our City divided? The buck stops with you and while you may not have created this “mess” it’s your responsibility to fix it!

–LINKS–

YouTube_Mike Parrinello Video Part1
YouTube_Mike Parrinello Video Part2

PLTF’s REPLY to DEF OPP to PLTF’s MTN to Quash Depo Subpoenas (3594675) (New)

Cap Deposition Subpoena PDF Download

Plaintiffs Motion to Quash PDF Download

SemiChorus Blog Story – Cap cops to desposition

SemiChorus Blog Story – Rodriguez Deposition

Robert Phipps Bonuses Letter PDF Download

Phil Berlin Bonuses Letter PDF Download

Councilman Gordon Email Reply PDF Download

Burbank Leader vs. City of Burbank Lawsuit PDF Download

CA Supreme Court Case Law PDF Download

Burbank Employee Gross Salaries – 2010 PDF Download

Burbank Employee Gross Earnings – 2009 PDF Download

Burbank Leader Editorial on Bonuses

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Burbank City Nepotism?

February 12, 2011

In response to Craig Sherwood’s Column: Don’t vilify families that work together

http://www.burbankleader.com/news/opinion/tn-gnp-0206-sherwood,0,3965807.story

I don’t believe anyone is “vilifying” families that work together. What some have asked for is a list of all City Employees who are related in order to determine if we have nepotism problems where relatives &  friends receive favor (jobs, promotions, pay raises, bonuses etc.) regardless of merit, and if there are any related conflicts of interest. But just like with the bonus issue, City Manager Flad & Management Services Director Wilkie are refusing to be open/honest about it, citing the same bogus privacy claims.

Let’s take one of the more recent controversial hiring’s, that of Mayor Anja Renke’s daughter Ericka 2 years ago as an example. Was the job she was given advertised? If so, where? How many applicants responded? How many where interviewed? Does anyone (Civil Service Board) review all hiring’s/promotions to make sure the best person is hired/promoted? Where are the checks & balances? Does someone who is not related to the City “Family” have a fair shot at a job? These are valid questions that need to be addressed. Also, what discipline (if any) do City Employees receive for illegal conduct outside of the workplace? What is our policy re sexual harassment and internal relationships within City Departments?

I have no problem with a daughter or son of a Council person or some other employee’s relative working for the City. As pointed out, this happens a lot with Police & Fire folks. I just want to know that we’re hiring the best people based on their experience, talent & skills not because their related to or know someone @ City Hall. And BTW, Government is not suppose to be a private “Family Business”.

Regarding the Bell comparisons; Do you realize we’re audited by the same Accounting Firm that gave the City of Bell a clean bill of health? Not exactly something that inspires public confidence in the integrity of our finances. At the very least we need to re audit last years finances.

All bonuses need to be disclosed period…no more excuses! And as they’re apparently discretionary and not based solely on an employee’s performance review, some kind of explanation/justification must be documented, not just for the public but for other employees who also got “exceptional” performance reviews but did not get a bonus.

Finally, re the City Attorney not complying with the Burbank Leader’s FOI request; The City Council has the authority to direct him to release the information but have not as yet. Hopefully that changes soon.

–Links–

http://www.burbankleader.com/news/tn-blr-civilservice-20101029,0,3998932.story

Burbank Public Employee Bonuses

February 12, 2011

Re: http://www.burbankleader.com/news/opinion/tn-gnp-0213-mailbagb,0,2533155.story

So BWP board member Bob Olson doesn’t think merit bonuses constitutes a giveaway of taxpayers dollars when taxpayers are paying for them? ($1.3 Million in 2010). And detailed disclosure is not in Burbank’s best interest as an employer? Really?  Taxpayers aren’t entitled to know how their money is being spent? WOW! What Planet is he living on? Aren’t most other Cities providing detailed disclosure re Employee Salaries in light of the Bell scandal? God forbid we engage in any form of open/transparent local Government. No surprise coming from someone who supported last years 13.5% Water Rate hike, then just a few weeks later championed BWP GM Ron Davis’ 21% pay rise (payable over the next 3 years), plus 7-11% pay rises for other Snr. BWP Exec’s at a time when so many people are having trouble just keeping the power on. [For the record, Davis grossed $255k in 2009 & $263k in 2010]

This is the same old tired  argument we heard when the City hired and overpaid Mike Flad as City Manager. And how’s that working out? How many lawsuits are we dealing with and how many $ Millions have we already spent all under his watch? City workers need to be grateful they have a job period,  that they haven’t had to endure furloughs, pay cuts or layoffs. Most people in the real world I know are working harder for less money, and that’s those lucky enough to be working. If having a secure job serving the community with incredible health & retirement benefits isn’t enough to attract or keep our exceptional public service employees in these tough economic times, then perhaps those folks should pursue careers in the private sector. Read Col 3:23.

–LINKS–

YouTube_Public Comment1

YouTube_Public Comment2

SemiChorus Blog Response to Bob Olson Letter

What Would Jesus Do? – Health Care Video

October 27, 2009

Heath Care Video in support of a Public Option written & produced by Robert Phipps. Credits: VO Actors – Robert Phipps & Marsha Ramos. Motion Graphics & Audio Recording/Mixing by Eric Michael Cap @ Gold Street.


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