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Letter: Costs of Lodi City Council are not unreasonable

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Posted: Saturday, March 15, 2014 12:00 am

When I started to read the Lodi News-Sentinel’s two part article “The Cost of City Council,” I thought they had unveiled a “new city of Bell” development.

Much to my surprise, it turns out that our current council and recent past members were concerned about costs and voted to reduce reimbursed council members’ travel expenses. They are also under State of California cost control for the “stipend” they receive. In newspaper style, “$50,000 stipend for city council” got your attention! It’s actually slightly more than $10,000 per council member per year. When the minimum wage is raised to $10.10 an hour, our state may give them a raise.

Seems like the only issue that might be of significance is the medical benefits, which actually do not seem to be out of line when you consider the same situation in real world business. Some have families to cover, some are single, some are on Medicare, some have spouses that have their own benefits, etc. Therefore, the range in cost per person can vary considerably, but the council members’ benefits are not unrealistic nor are the amounts unreasonable.

According to Mr. Renison, as reported, there is no oversight of our council members’ spending, and no one screening the conferences they attend. I suggest that each member has different needs, as their education and personal experiences vastly differ. I cannot imagine the cost of having an individual do an interview with each council member to determine which conference would be appropriate, and then make all of the arrangements to keep the costs to an absolute minimum. Would this be cost effective?

Remember, according to the report, council members reduced their own expense allowance from $25,000 to a maximum total of $15,000 for all council members. I wonder how much Mr. Renison thinks could be saved with an added cost of an oversight committee and screener.

I’ve heard that a “trust but verify” policy is a valid method of running a business. It seems as though your report has just verified that we can trust our council members.

Perhaps a vote of confidence is in order.

Frank Kimbrell

Lod

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Welcome to the discussion.

5 comments:

  • Joe Baxter posted at 7:43 am on Wed, Mar 19, 2014.

    Joe Baxter Posts: 1903

    Bobbin, if all it takes is to be a taxpayer to merit FREE healthcare, then millions of people America should qualify. You have a job and are most likely financially able to pay for your healthcare but you choose to let taxpayers pick up the tab. I find it interesting that you look down on the council members who should/could afford to pay for their healthcare but conveniently exclude yourself. Bit of a double standard there?

     
  • Joe Baxter posted at 7:39 am on Wed, Mar 19, 2014.

    Joe Baxter Posts: 1903

    At least they are doing SOMETHING

     
  • Joanne Bobin posted at 1:08 pm on Tue, Mar 18, 2014.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Let's put it this way, Baxxter:

    JoAnne Mounce has a job that should provide her with healthcare benefits.

    Larry Hansen is retired from the COL and ALREADY gets retirement and healthcare - Ronald Reagan called that DOUBLE DIPPING and put a stop to it.

    Alan Nakanishi is self-employed (at least through his partnership at DEMG) and should already have healthcare.

    Phil Katzakian comes from a VERY wealth Lodi family and also works in private industry and should be able to afford his own healthcare many times over.

    Bob Johnson - seems he's always ready to volunteer for something or wants to be elected to something. He's on his own as far as I'm concerned.

    Beside - I AM A TAXPAYER. Why shouldn't I benefit from a program that MY FAMILY HAS PAID FOR and CONTINUES to pay for?

    Get over it, Baxxter.

     
  • Joe Baxter posted at 7:39 am on Tue, Mar 18, 2014.

    Joe Baxter Posts: 1903

    Oh, the irony. Someone complaining about taxpayers funding healthcare costs for the council members while receiving taxpayer funded healthcare costs.

     
  • Joanne Bobin posted at 9:33 am on Mon, Mar 17, 2014.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    The money for all of these increasing city council costs - including health benefits and retirement contributions - has to come from somewhere.

    Witness increasing water and sewer rates. Ridiculously high power rates. And now COL is making it much more difficult for sick individuals - especially seniors - to qualify for the COL Medical Discount on electricity.

    Hope they enjoy all these perks at the expense of the citizens of this city - especially very ill people.

     

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