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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Anthony Foxx Hijacks City Budget To Save Roberts' Job & Jones' Bonus

Anthony Foxx's questionable "leadership" in his new political role as Charlotte's Mayor is the result of Charlotte Voters allowing the Charlotte Observer fool them into electing an Arrogant, Inexperienced Rookie.

Slick Politicians like Foxx helps to prove my theory that just because someone has an embellished, polished resume doesn't mean he or she is qualified to lead a company, a city, county, state or nation.

NOTHING trumps Experience which is what Foxx lacked prior to becoming Charlotte's Mayor.

However Foxx's blunders are a Blogger's dream!

The more he keeps proposing foolish "hairbrained" ideas disguised as "leadership", I'll just keep blogging away.

Check out the videos and articles below of Jennifer Roberts and Foxx's new scheme to help save Harry Jones' job.

Apparently Foxx is now threatening to Veto the City Budget unless his colleagues around the city council dais agrees to give the County money.

Excuse me didn't Roberts vote to give Jones a $38,000 Bonus last Fall?


Which is why I don't agree with the City bailing she nor Jones out.

What's my solution?

Fire Harry Jones and vote Jennifer Roberts out of Public Office in the next general election.

Anthony Foxx Vows To Veto City Budget If It Doesn't Aid County Libraries

The Charlotte City Council tentatively approved 2 percent raises for city employees on Wednesday but disagreed sharply about whether to give the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library one-time financial help.

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx told the Observer he would veto a budget that doesn't have money set aside to help Mecklenburg County, which would most likely use it for libraries. Even though the libraries aren't a city responsibility, he said the possible closing of 12 branches due to budget cuts is too severe.

But five council members - including Mayor Pro Tem Susan Burgess, one of Foxx's fellow Democrats - said they are adamantly opposed to giving Mecklenburg County money.

The library system said it will close the branches in July unless it receives $8 million from local governments. It has proposed that $5 million come from Mecklenburg County, $1 million from the county towns and $2 million from the city.

The debate comes as Mecklenburg County has proposed trimming its budget by $81.1million, which would result in deep cuts to schools, libraries and parks. The city of Charlotte, on the other hand, is in better financial shape, and budgeted $6.1 million for the controversial raises.

Republican council member Edwin Peacock, like Foxx, is strongly in favor of helping the libraries. Four other council members said they would consider a one-time payment.

"We need to do what's right," Peacock said. "This body has the financial strength. Why won't we do it?"

Said Foxx: "We can build roads, we can hire police. But a community is built on more than that."

But several council members were unmoved.

Democrat Patsy Kinsey said she can't in "good conscience" give the libraries city money.

"How can I vote for the library and not parks and rec?" Kinsey asked.

"The county's problems aren't going to go away in a year, and we are already cutting basic (city) services," Burgess said. "I love the libraries ... but we ought to stay in our lane. It's a slippery slope."

The city is financially healthier than the county in part because it gets more money from property taxes and relies less on volatile sales tax revenue. The city also saved more money to pay off debt.

City Manager Curt Walton has proposed making about $10 million in cuts to balance the budget and also give employees a raise. Employees didn't get a raise in fiscal year 2010, and Walton said he believes it's important to give modest raises for fiscal 2011, starting July 1.

The proposal would include a 2 percent raise pool for regular city employees. Public safety employees would have a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment and a 2.5 percent step increase. The usual step increase is 5 percent.

Walton said that police officers start working at what he called "low levels." Not giving them a step pay increase for two consecutive years would be "inappropriate," he said.

"It's not the employees vs. the community," Walton said. "The employees are the community."

During Wednesday's straw vote on raises, the council's three Republicans - Peacock, Andy Dulin and Warren Cooksey - voted against the raise package. Democrat Warren Turner is also opposed.

But the majority of council members backed what many called "modest" raises.

To help fund raises, the city is making a one-time reduction in its 401(k) contribution from 3 percent to 2 percent. Much of the pay hike will be consumed by employees' rising health care premiums, members said.

Roberts sends letter

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is already planning to close three branches, and a fourth temporarily. If 12 more branches are closed in July, the library system would be left with six regional branches, the Main Library uptown and a location at ImaginOn.

Foxx said any assistance must include all Mecklenburg municipalities, and the county must show the city how the money would be spent. He said it would be one-time help.

County Commission chairwoman Jennifer Roberts sent City Council members a letter Wednesday asking for money.

Roberts, speaking on behalf of the commission's at-large representatives, wrote: "I do not know what amount you might be able to support to help become a bigger partner with our library system, for example, which bears both the city and the county's names, but if you would like to contribute any amount whatsoever, it would be welcome. If you want instead to support teachers in our schools, and help us close the $21 million gap there, any amount there would be welcome as well."

Later Wednesday, Roberts said a survey of the small-town mayors suggests those governments may only be able to give a combined $200,000, at most, for the libraries.

Democrat Patrick Cannon said his business, E-Z Parking, has a contract with the library system and that he will not vote on the library request. If a library vote is tied, Foxx would cast the deciding vote.

If Foxx vetoes the budget, the council could override his veto with seven votes. If there is no override, the City Council would have until June 30 to pass a new budget.

On affordable housing

The council also increased the amount it will ask voters to approve for affordable housing in a November bond referendum. The city staff had proposed asking voters to approve $10 million for the Housing Trust Fund. The council increased that to $15 million.

Charlotte Leaders Give Harry Jones A Bonus

Mecklenburg County Manager Harry Jones will receive a $38,400 performance bonus, but his total compensation remains the same as last year, under a deal unanimously approved Wednesday by county commissioners.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Commissioners praised Jones for, among other things, leading the county during a difficult economic time.

The "pay-at-risk" money - which commissioners have in previous years called a performance bonus - is part of an overall $302,854 compensation package. It also includes $215,655 in base salary.

The pay plan keeps Jones' compensation the same as in 2008-09, though a board committee determined he actually would have been due more money this year, said commissioner Dumont Clarke.

Jones, however, asked that his pay be kept level. "That was his request," said commissioners' Chairman Jennifer Roberts. He "wants to be treated like all the other county employees." The county didn't award any merit raises this year.

Jones' evaluation has been in the works for weeks, with talks largely being kept private initially as allowed by state law.

But some commissioners acknowledged last month that paying the money could raise questions in light of steep budget cuts across the county. Two other local public officials - Charlotte City Manager Curt Walton and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Peter Gorman - declined merit raises or bonuses for themselves and staff to help save money.

Jones is eligible for a higher bonus than Gorman or Walton, up to 30 percent of his base salary.

Commissioners Chair Jennifer Roberts said the board had a "difficult conversation" about the pay plan because of the economic conditions.

Still, commissioners also have said they wanted to reward Jones for meeting goals previously outlined by the board.

Clarke said Jones told commissioners earlier Tuesday evening that 2008-09 was both his most challenging and best year as manager.

Roberts said Jones "has done a very, very good job, an excellent job as manager in a very difficult year." She cited Jones' work addressing budget cuts because of falling tax revenues and his work on the Critical Needs Task Force to help address social services needs in the community.

But the county also faced questions about inadequate accounting at the Department of Social Services, including an investigation into possible misused money in a charity program for Foster Children. The county announced steps to help shore up practices within DSS, including putting its finances under control of the main county finance department.

Mecklenburg has offered bonuses to the manager for years, but decided five years ago to restructure the pay system to reflect a CEO-style package of a base salary with another piece of pay tied to performance.

Under the plan, Jones is eligible for a bonus of up to 30 percent of his annual salary based on a series of criteria, including how well the county performs on annual goals and a management plan approved by commissioners. Based on his current salary, he could have received a bonus up to about $65,000 this year.

Jones has not received the full bonus since commissioners approved the new pay structure in 2004.

Clarke said Jones' performance in the past year earned him more money. He said he's being paid about 10 percent less than what his performance score called for.

Cuts in mental health

Also on Tuesday, commissioners approved about $2.76million worth of service cuts to the county's Area Mental Health department because of reduced money from the state. The state cuts were actually larger, but county staff has promised $3.7 million to help make up the gap.

Jones said he hasn't yet identified where the money would come from.

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Sources:, McClatchy Newspapers, WCNC, Google Maps

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