|Posted by Sherlock Pwahrow on January 7, 2017 at 6:05 PM|
It's Good to Be Chief
As a Novato grand jury observed, no one in the community has the time or inclination to follow the goings on of the various myriad local northern California fire departments. That is why and how a vast --dare we use such a loaded word-- conspiracy has blossomed from one to other of the leaderships of those organizations.
The public has become so docile about the fire services that they are willing to swallow whatever crap fire officials hand down. A few well-placed groups live high indeed upon the hog of taxpayer dollars.
The New Aristocracy: Police and Fire Chiefs
This extends to the other public safety services also: Police, Sheriffs, and Highway Patrol. While going through the motions, very admirably in general, yet they become fat on the huge entitlements a grateful public bestows.
Yes the love and admiration of the public for the men and women who man those perilous jobs knows no bounds. But it should learn some and fast. Starting with keeping a weather eye upon their fire chiefs and police chiefs.
Their powerful unions have a large portion, far too large, of the state, county and city treasuries in a perennial headlock, sown up for them in perpetuity. The police and fireman's pensions are so generous that the rank and file, especially the police and fire chiefs, help themselves to the buffet of the taxpayer's larder at will.
Throwing money at vague studies to private organizations that split the profits among those having secretly avowed themselves to "be in" on the orgy of money sucked out of Sonoma, Marin and San Francisco's treasuries.
Al Terrell and His Advisory Committee Should Be Fired and Charged with Embezzlement for Ponderous Bogus Reports
Case in point, Terrell's intentionally longwinded and obfuscating Interim Report for the Fire Services Project. He takes thirty pages of mind numbing double talk about detailed statistics with which he proves absolutely nothing.
That the Board of Supervisors rolls over and habitually grants the unions a blank check for ridiculous overpayments may show that they "are in" as well.
Terrell was brought in from Chicago, a city not unknown for its share of organized crime, to help cement the overshoes for the hardworking taxpayer. He should be fired and replaced with an SRJC college grad for half his salary. An idealistic kid with a stake in the community he or she loves is worth a thousand corrupt Terrells.
Tail Wagging the Dog: Interim Reports Detail Nothing Demand Much
Terrell refuses to be clear in his report and insists on talking in abstract terms such as "buckets." Creative accounting is the name of the game; keep digging that money pit deeper for the taxpayer with useless studies for exorbitant fees to cronies that kickback, sweet deal for everyone, so who's to know?
The current annual total identified for these “buckets” is $7.2 million. Those are some expensive buckets. Terrell must shop at the same market as the Pentagon.
First, $1 million should be set aside annually for incentivizing collaboration as discussed above and to be allocated by the Advisory Council. Payoffs are not a cost effective way to obtain collaboration.
Second, $1 million should be set aside annually for supporting volunteer recruitment and retention efforts countywide. Do you see a pattern beginning to form here?
Finally, the Advisory Committee identified that a baseline analysis called a “Standards of Cover” should be done; this cost was estimated at $150,000, because "this information would be very helpful as the recommendations above are implemented."
As any child today knows, we are living in the information age. Information in vast quantities is free for the taking with a mere Google search. Exemplifying the concept of profligate waste, Terrell demands and gets $150,000 dollars simply because he would find the information "very helpful."
Not nearly as useful as that $150,000 dollars would have been in paying down the city and county's bad fire chief benefit debts. But that is just the tip of the iceberg for Terrell's unaccounted for unwise and unjustified spending.
But no Terrell doesn't really mean what he says when he says "finally" in his report because there's still more demands for money. Then, purchase the services of a grant writer at a cost of $30,000 to pursue a 2016 volunteer recruitment and retention Aid to Firefighters grant opportunity.
You dear taxpayer should be so lucky that every time you need "help" Terrell is there to score you some of that free largess in a rebate. Instead of blowing it on the stupidity of another study that no one reads or wants. One that will find its way into the circular file before any value comes of it.
If Terrell really wants to aid firefighters, why not just give them the $30,000 instead of some writer?
The real details of Terrell's report, which to get to he forces anyone with enough coffee on hand to read through useless history lessons and even more useless statistics. Until if they possess fortitude and a remarkable capacity for calumny, they get to the part in his phony report that purports to specify, with a lot of vague promises, what they won't get.
But also what the high price is of figuring out that the taxpayer will wind up with scant little after Terrell and his Advisory cronies are done with their spending spree. Then, they purchase a set of policies and protocols known as “Lexipol” to make those available to all agencies at a cost of approximately $100,000.
This is to continue the process of standardization of operations that is one important facilitating component for a variety of further collaborations. Which are roundly opposed by the majority of fire departments in question and so will never occur. Another wasted hundred grand. That's how they do things in Chicago.
In the future, the project’s Advisory Committee recommends that the allocations generally follow the guidelines of 50% of the available funds be allocated to the Advisory Council for the first two categories above and 50% be allocated to the third category of buckets (with the understanding that anything needed for the fourth category would be taken proportionately from the first two). Understanding, huh?
Where in this whole scandalous report does it even mention any effort whatsoever to save one penny out of a perennially stressed budget? The project’s Advisory Committee also recommends that the Advisory Council be charged with making further recommendations to the Board in adjusting these allocations between and within the categories as needed based upon available funds.
At the rate that Al Terrell is spending there is little likelihood of available funds remaining. No worries, there's always borrowing. Where is the oversight here, of course the Advisory Council would recommend that themselves be further empowered to line their pockets.
But there's the rub. Terrell and his Advisory committee are never done with their demands for taxpayer funds. The future obviously isn't in plastics, but in looting the taxpayer.
The Advisory Committee did offer an additional allocation recommendation for the current fiscal year in order to assist with the allocation of the current $990,000 set aside from Prop 172 funds. You see dear reader, an allocation for an allocation, where does it end, just ask a resident of the City of Stockton.
Give us millions and millions of dollars and we will tell you later just what we do with it, is a postcard all right?