Police, Fire, Budget Oh My.

The Recreation Director of Dearborn makes less than the Recreation Director of Dearborn Heights, which is something I’d be upset about as well. Especially since Dearborn Heights Rec Director oversees between 8-10 parks, 2 small rec centers, the ice skating rink and a few more recreational amenities. Dearborns Rec Director oversees 43 parks – 9 with outdoor natural ice skating rinks, 14 with trails, Camp Dearborn, The Ford Performing Arts Center, The Dearborn Ice Skating Center, the Dearborn Hills Golf Course and far more than the Dearborn Heights Rec Center. Source Press and Guide comment section.

Our Parks and Recreation Director is considering a position with another city; that being said we should eliminate the position from the budget. This would save an additional $120,000.

Source Councilman Tom Berry in the Press and Guide

This same director is one of the several department heads that would be getting the same package as the DPW supervisors if the council approves it. If that package is extended to the department heads he would then be able to retire and come back to work for the city at his full salary (as the Mayor indicated) and his pension. Right now the department heads do not get to roll in their unused vacation time, sick time, personal days into their pensions. (The source for that information is a City council member.) Under the letter of understanding with the DPW supervisors if extended to the department heads they would now get to do this. By city charter we must have a recreation department that’s true however it doesn’t say the staffing levels or how much of the city budget is spent on it.

Let me ask you dear readers this if your neighbor needed a new roof on their home would you pay for it? You do not own the property they’re not family would you flip the bill for it? Our Council and the Mayor did just that when they passed the budget keeping the Eton Center open and approving the expenses of a new roof for 165,000.00 on a property the City doesn’t own. I know save the Eton Center at all cost. Here’s a novel idea someone wrote in a comment here that I should quite bitching (their words sorry) and come up with a solution. Well here’s one for you how about we fix the roof our selves yes hold fund-raisers for the supplies get a roofing company to donate their time and the rest of us can help out. Clean up the job site,  get water what ever’s needed. I’m up for it anyone else?

How about we get volunteers to come into City Hall yes we can do the coping, the filing answer the phones in the Mayors office or any other office that might need someone. How many of us can put in a few hours a week give our time. Well for sure City Hall would not want me there, but you get what I’m saying. When I was running for city council I brought this idea to someone in the city. I was told that there’s no way that the union would ever allow that to happen. I haven’t seen anywhere in a Union contract that there is a clause that say’s the city can’t have Volunteers. At the time I left it alone and never brought it up during my campaigning because well let’s just say long story. At any rate I’m not running and I still think this is a good idea. How nice would it be to call the Mayor’s office and get your call answered. For that matter why not have someone to direct your call to the proper department this could be done by a volunteer. The HR department needs someone to help out during a busy time well if you have a list of volunteers containing the days they can come in what hours they can be there and what they can do. Well why not?

I’m not all about Bitching nor are the others that comment here we just have gotten tired of not being listened to. You see you can come up with all the good ideas in the world, but when you have an administration that’s threatened with even the slightest move in a direction they did not have a hand in they wont even consider it. Say what you will about the Police Officers they are not the problem the administration is. As for the Fire Department let’s not forget they did take a 10% cut in salary, as for the hiring of new Fire Fighters the City was awarded a grant to do this with. I would like to point out that there are laws that govern how many firefighters have to be on a shift to man the fire trucks and ambulances. If we do not meet those numbers they can’t go out on a run. If my house is burning down I don’t want to have the other end of the phone telling me sorry can’t come not enough firefighters today to man the truck.

What do I have to say about this budget well  remember the last Balanced Budget Passed within a few months the city was in a deficit. Do I think the same thing is going to happen again? Yes. Do I hope I’m wrong? You bet I do I don’t want to see the city fail this is my home.



10 thoughts on “Police, Fire, Budget Oh My.”

  1. Politics do play a role but there are other factors to consider. They are: legal issues. departments heads willingness to accept volunteers and the unions.

    I suggested Boy Scout troops cut the grass of abandoned houses. What I got back from council is that they can’t because of liability (the legal issue).

    My retired husband offered his expertise, experience and time to a certain department head that would have saved the city thousands of dollars and to boot it would not replace or take up a union spot – his request was ignored. (department heads willingness to accept volunteers).

    When my husband’s first request was ignored he went to another department head with the same offer but was declined because it would infringe on a union contract. (union issue)

    Too bad for the city and the rest of us. My husband is now volunteering at a place that truly appreciates what he has to offer and is literally saving them thousands of dollars.

    There isn’t a lack of volunteers in this city, its for whatever reasons this city has, it is very clear that volunteers are not welcome.


  2. Volunteer activities can take many forms. They do not have to involve politics. If you asked a department- hey can I pick up trash or weed or paint this or that, or help mow the lawns of the elderly or disabled, or raise money for youth programs, etc. I doubt they would be roadblocked much if any. Politics in some circumstances comes into play, agreed, but not usually. Often it is just an excuse. Although if what you write is accurate- it may have burned you in that case.


  3. I can answer that from experience.
    I have been a volunteer for this city since the late 1970’s, it was a family tradition. What a variety of talents we offered. All these years I never felt that it was a worthless effort, not even once.
    Recently, I had issues with the clerk, I said as much on this blog, as well as to him directly. The chair of the Disability Commission, where I had been volunteering my time, decided that since I did a public opinion, on this blog of all things, the whining of the clerk was more important than what the commission’s mission was, as well as the importance of what I offered. I was a dedicated volunteer, and the whining of the clerk upset the cart. Now, it has been decided (read the minutes that should be posted for the May meeting) any commissioner who has an opinion has to go through the chair. She is new to the position and has not yet learned things like; the commission’s mission statement, ByLaws, or freedom of speech. Had she had a problem with anything I did, she could have called and discussed it, instead I was blindsided. The entire meeting was about my errancy. All commission business was thrown out the window.
    What the chair had not planned on was one commissioner who is a fan of the clerk, losing his mind, yelling and out of control in a public place. It was very embarrassing, totally unacceptable.
    Oh, and by the way, it is my opinion and I stand by it.
    This week, someone very dear to me died. He was a decorated soldier, ex POW, and was a kind and loving man. I discussed this situation with him and his advice was to find another place to volunteer, that job is done. I took his advice.
    So, why aren’t there more volunteers? Why don’t the community groups help out? Politics, just plain politics.


  4. Emma, the fact remains the clerk campaigned for the office and because he had held the office for several months knew what was involved. I say if he can’t work with what he has then he should quit and let someone who is willing to do the job take over. Its not like he had no idea of what the job was about.


  5. Many volunteers do not want to actually do what needs to get done. You already have community groups that exist. Why aren’t they teeming with people?


  6. The original contracts were probably very simple, but changes and amendments have created a legal monster. Challenges to what is in place only shovel our tax dollars up lawyers behinds. The unions know that. So do the lawyers.

    The only real solution is to dispose of the entire system through bankruptcy and/or privatization and start over.


  7. Linda,

    The clerk’s office has had several part-timers they call in to work (and NOT just during elections). IT has been made very clear why a new position was wanted in the clerk’s office. Let’s wait and see what is next in store for that office.


  8. The general rule on volunteers and unions . You cannot replace a worker with a volunteer. However a volunteer working 12 hours a week is generally ok. The reason the unions have such a hold is the city has managed to tie all benefits and wages with the various unions. Department Heads are even tied to unions. This is a practice that should be stopped now. It was really stupid to tie the city up like that. Unheard of in the real world.


  9. The one thing that would prevent any of us from offering to “help out” are the UNIONS and every time we “amend” a contract to add another perk, we get in even deeper sh!t.

    The Unions won’t let us save the city a buck because they believe that they’re entitled to all that profitable work. (Remember that the Clerk’s Office can’t hire a part-timer because the position to be filled is a Union position. How did it get that way? Ask yourself why.)

    IMHO, we’re in so deep (legally) now with the Unions that the only thing we can do is scrap it all and start over. . . either like the auto companies did with controlled bankruptcy (except for Ford) or mass privatization.

    Then, if we want to go the Union route again, we can start from scratch and negotiate (hopefully professionally this time) something realistic.


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