Thursday, April 17, 2008

Read this and cut your taxes!

In an effort to save money for the town's taxpayers, I need to:

1) ask for your support and
2) revisit one of last year's issues: should the position of Public Information Officer receive overtime pay? (click here to see the job description and responsibilities of the PIO)

My point is simple... I never accepted the idea that the newly created PIO position should receive overtime. I reject the idea in 2008, just as I rejected the idea in 2007. But when you watch this June 2007 video, pay closer attention than usual... particularly when staff explain the "legal memo" and how it's "clear" that this position should be paid overtime:

Then read the lengthy "legal memo":

(So there you have it... a post that I should've done last June, but was not yet able to edit video. So instead, I give this to you now. Regardless... the point of this post is not to revisit The Rubberstamping of the PIO vote, but to solicit input from you...)

and tell me... should the Council revisit the position of Asst. Town Planner to determine if it should be paid overtime?

(As you process all this information, keep one important thing in mind... when determining whether a position will be exempt (no overtime), the critical question to be asked by the Council of staff (and attorneys) is "is this position eligible for exemption?" Only after answering that question can the Council then ask of itself the much more political question "should this position be exempt or nonexempt?" Notice there is a subtle, yet significant difference.)

Anyway, I realize that without having the job description of the Asst Town Planner, you can't pass judgement. But from my perspective, this is a time consuming effort that requires several steps...

First you need to understand the law (see the legal memo)... then understand The Rubberstampers perspective... then understand the staff's perspective (see the video)... then understand the responsibilities of the ATP position (I need to get the job description)... then collate all that information and draw your own conclusion.

And for an indication of how much time this may take you... between reading documents, researching info and speaking with HR professionals... I probably spent between ten and twenty hours trying to understand all this before I concluded that the newly created PIO position should not be paid overtime. Regardless...

My goal here is simple. As new positions are created or employees leave and new ones are hired, should the Council review these positions and draw a political judgement on whether overtime pay is appropriate? I believe the Council should. But having gone down this path before, I expect there will be "vehement opposition" to any Council member who does not "take direction from (staff)" and instead asks questions. So I ask for your help in saving your tax dollars.

Please opine!

Tim White

p.s. Thanks to Lisa for your help over the past few years! I appreciated your fair, balanced and diligent approach to your job... particularly when zoning issues could get contentious.


Anonymous said...

Tim, I agree with you.
You will need to look over the job description but how could someone with the title Public Information Officer not be an exempt employee?
Looking at the requirements under "Administrative", you would think that person's job had better be categorized under that. Otherwise, they should change job titles.
What is the salary for such a position and have we had to may much, if any, in overtime?

Anonymous said...

Why do we need a Public Information Office more than another police officer?

My suggestion: Zero this position out and let Mr. Milone talk with reporters

Anonymous said...

This is between personnel and legal. Without all the info you will not get any opinions from people who have knowledge of these laws. If anything keep one thing in mind:If you try to circumvent the laws by writing a job description that is not indicative of the actually job duties, title etc. you will lose in court.

Anonymous said...

You only need one employee to complain and you will have an audit by the State. These are not fun and they will scrutinize everything. TC should approve new positions. These positions should be created within State and Federal guidelines and that's the function of the human resources staff. That's what they are paid to do. Hold them accountable that's your job. This is so complicated that even the legal people will give you two different opionions. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

This position would be classified as "Non-Exempt" period. It also does nothing to impact the fiscal stability of the organization.

tim white said...

If you try to circumvent the laws by writing a job description that is not indicative of the actually job duties, title etc. you will lose in court.

Agreed. And that's how it should be. But so you know, as far as I know, the Council has nothing to do with writing job descriptions.

tim white said...

Hold them accountable that's your job.

I agree, but I'm only one of nine.

This is so complicated that even the legal people will give you two different opionions.

Therein lies a problem... do we even get one legal opinion on these things or do we just get guidelines that are found on the Dept of Labor website?

Anonymous said...

A public information officer is an oxymoron in Cheshire

tim white said...

10:32 the public is given information. For instance, the public has been informed that the pool has 45,000 day users.

Similarly, Cheshire 10,000,000 day residents.

(27,000 residents x 365 days)

Anonymous said...

Too much government spending at every level is being drained into "soft costs" like public relations, "strategic planning" and "community outreach" instead of the real business of delivering services to the taxpayer/consumer

It's like thee state universities paying a woman close to $200k/year to lobby/seduce state legislators to get a billion dollar bond package. Maybe CT ought to put the Emperor's Club on retainer--what's the difference?

Anonymous said...

If you voice your opinion and the other eight don't agree you have done YOUR job. The others will have to do theirs. The rest is up to public to do somethimg about it.