Quick Links for June 23rd

Ask and ye shall receive, time for some Quick Links!

Fire probably thinks this is a misuse of funds

Well, it looks like shitty venue managing company IFG is on their way out. The City is considering buying out the remainder of their contract and already has their replacement lined up. The damage? Roughly $1.3 million with an additional $1 million somehow coming out of the new deal to cover the rest. Even better, the only hit the General Fund will take is $1 million set aside for the requisite management shuffling that usually accompanies these changes (Chuck Kemp should just start packing now).

The big question is though, if a buyout was only $2.3 mil, what took them so fucking long? Weren’t these venues losing more than what it eventually cost us per year? This is the same contract Mike Fitzgerald was discussing when he suggested taking the drastic/retarded step of the City declaring bankruptcy? Well, it’s complicated. For one, any contract is going to be less expensive the buy out the further along in the deal it is. Also, the City’s point man on this kind of got fired and held the City hostage with a polarizing racial debate for most of last summer. Most important/price-deflating though is the Thunder being sold and the Lightening not being a team anymore. That’s important because any attempt at an IFG buyout would have included purchasing those teams (and eventually flipping them to new buyers after we made their merchandising deals unappealing). And who’s bright idea was the unnecessary purchase of 2 minor league sports teams in a down economy? If you said Mike Fitzgerald, you win a prize!

Yes, the City actually took his ridiculous idea somewhat seriously and had Johnny Ford include the possible purchase of the weather themed teams in his negotiations with IFG. A contract buyout is a relative simple, routine process. Purchasing a sports team or two takes a little bit more finesse. It’s safe to say chasing some columnist’s dumb idea complicated the buyout process and drew it out much longer than it should have. We’re just lucky we didn’t actually go through with it and got stuck with an Arena football team without and Arena football league. Nobody could have blamed Fire for claiming misspent funds in that situation.

City Budget fever! Catch it!

Speaking of Fire, I’m pretty sure they’re just trying to make me laugh now. With the last night’s budget approval, they still have a week or so to actually have a say in what cuts are imposed. If they can’t come to an agreement, the City’s proposed cuts will take effect pending whatever court action the union takes. If the latest back and forth is any indication, I’m not holding my breath for an agreement.

As you probably know, Fire’s main sticking point is contract extension. They know they’re totally fucked when it expires next year so any offer they make is tied to extending their bloated contract. The other week their concession package was essentially deferring raises for a year in exchange for contract extension. The City countered with a proposal that involved FD paying more into health benefits and retirement but also included keeping their scheduled raises. While most people would jump at the opportunity to keep their scheduled pay raise, Fire decided to rifle off this hilariously assholish refusal letter (.pdf warning, but still a highly suggested read).

So the City decided to move forward with their other plan that doesn’t involve Fire getting their pay raises. Thanks union! But wait, there’s more! After mulling it over for the weekend, Fire made another offer on the eve of last night’s budget approval. The offer included paying more for benefits/retirement and receiving their scheduled pay raise. Sound familiar? There’s just one catch, it’s tied to contract extension. I’m not sure if they’re stubborn or just dumb. Either way, the City promptly rejected that proposal, almost assuring this entire thing will be decided in court.

That eventual court date is still a while off, and the budget needs to be finalized next week, so what did the City approve in the meantime? It was pretty much the two-tiered cuts we’ve been hearing about for a couple weeks now. One assumes the City is able to squeeze the needed concessions out of both PD and Fire, the other just tells them what cuts we’d be making pending a court approving this whole fiscal emergency thing when it eventually goes to a judge. It’s kind of like last year’s multiple budget plans except instead of federal aid, it’s contingent on labor getting it’s heads out of it’s collective asses.

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~ by Slick Diaz on June 23, 2010.

One Response to “Quick Links for June 23rd”

  1. Good post. A little light on Fitzy, but still gets a 3 with me. Keep up the good work. I still have you penciled in for sometime this millennium to catch a beer and actually talk on a little more than superficial level.

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