Plan Addresses City Employee Benefits, Health Care, Public Safety and Budgeting
Mayoral Candidate Jim Moody will detail his plans for revamping and administering city government on Thursday, April 9th. Entitled, "Retooling Toledo," Moody's comprehensive plan will address the budget and budgeting issues, city benefits including pension and health care contributions, shifting of departmental responsibilities, public safety and more. Included in the proposal are plans that can save the city millions of dollars.
If Toledo is to survive and provide a future for our children, we must retool our city administration and our public safety forces", said candidate Jim Moody. He added, "Protecting our parents and our children will be our number one goal"
Moody will outline his plan for "Retooling Toledo", at InternationalPark promptly at 10:30 am. Media members and the public are encouraged to park at the rowing club across the street.
Retooling Toledo City Government
Candidate for Toledo Mayor
Human beings are a curious bunch. We are reluctant to change. When things/times are good we tend to be happy and just ‘go with the flow', even when we should change course. And all too often, when times are tough, we insist on change, even though maintaining the current course of action is precisely what's needed. Toledo is at a point where we do need to make changes in City government, but we must be careful not to ‘throw the baby out with the bath water'.
We propose significant and sweeping changes in the way City government represents its citizens. However, we are not proposing that we start with a blank canvass. We believe our business plan for the City of Toledo offers exactly what is needed to restore our City back to being to a world leader. This plan makes surgical cuts, policy shifts and responds to market conditions.
Budgeting-Nothing Can Happen Without The Money
Probably the greatest obstacle City government faces with regards to making informed decisions, is its inability to actually know where the city is, financially speaking. For too long, we have had to guess at our expenditures, revenue collection and overtime costs. If a business ran its accounting system like the city of Toledo does, it would have been bankrupt long ago. One of the first priorities of our administration will be to create a real time accounting system. It is unconscionable to me that this city does not know where it stands financially each Friday. I place this shortfall squarely on the shoulders of the professional politicians and bureaucrats who fear letting the taxpayers know exactly how and where the money is being spent. Real time accounting...its time Toledo get with the modern day.
Once we are able to properly account for the money the city generates and spends, we can then begin a true and accurate budgeting process. I am calling for a complete overhaul of our current budget process and move to a procedure referred to as ‘outcome or performance based budgeting'. This program, recognized around the world for its effectiveness; identifies and legitimizes expenditures made, tests the effectiveness of the administrators of the programs, helps insure taxpayer money used is generating the greatest return on expenditure and dramatically reduces the likelihood of corruption.
Additionally, this program allows office managers to anticipate future needs without the risk of funding reductions. There will no longer be penalties for unspent money, often referred to spend-downs. In other words, outcome based budgeting will allow us to operate more smoothly and more efficiently.
Our budgets will then be posted on the internet for all to see. Not only will the budget be posted, we will also post revenue collections and expenditures. Transparency is more than just a ‘catch phrase' for me; it will be the way the Moody Administration will work.
And let me add that this new system of accountability is not just for Toledo City employees, these standards will be applied to our private sector partners awarded City funded contracts. What's good for the goose will be good for the gander.
We know tough times are upon us too. The City of Toledo must make whatever moves necessary to reflect our current economic times. That is why I will work to have the city stop paying the employees' share of their own retirement plan. By emulating the real world, the city of Toledo can save millions of dollars each year. We cannot forget, it's Toledo taxpayer's money we're spending and its not coming from a money tree.
Engaging Team Toledo
Our budgeting process also involves engaging and empowering the hard working men and women who call themselves city employees. This will be an administration that rewards performance and initiative. This is not a process that is ‘public verses privatization', rather a process that sheds monopoly and replaces it with competition.
One of the first ways we will engage our city talent is by involving them in stopping waste. Within the first 10 days of a Moody administration, we will offer a bonus of 10% of any 1 year's savings to an employee ($2,500 max.) for any savings suggestion they submit and is found viable. In speaking with a police officer recently, he said he could save $10,000 on one item alone. Imagine the possibilities of savings when we engage and reward our own ground troops.
Another way of engaging our team is by rewarding them for good health and protecting them in sickness. Once elected, we will move to modify the health benefits offered to our employees to a program that rewards them (as much as $100,000) for good health, yet insures the same level of coverage they receive today, is maintained. We will do this via a health savings account, a program that has been proven to save as much as 20% of the cost to the provider. The Moody Administration can save Toledo as much as $6 million dollars per year.
Second, when appropriate, we will allow departments to bid for city work. This ‘interdepartmental' bidding process will help centralize operations and reduce duplication. It has been proven over and over again, when a bidding process occurs, costs come down.
Third, we will track the performance of each department, as determined by our customers, the taxpayers of Toledo. At the end of every call, the caller will be asked to take a short automated survey identifying their experience with that department. That data will then be used to offer bonuses or identify areas that need attention. A Moody Administration will meet the need of our customers, the taxpayers of Toledo.
Making Government More Accessible
A Moody Administration understands that our sole purpose is to serve our customers, the citizens of Toledo. To that end, we must make Toledo city government more accessible. I propose two immediate items to help meet that goal;
Mayor's Mondays. Every Monday evening I will be in a specific section of Toledo to meet with the neighbors. Good or bad, they will have the Mayor's full attention until 9 p.m. each Monday.
Taxpayer Tuesday's. Not everyone who needs city services can take off work to come downtown. I will initiate a program that has all departments, when appropriate, be staffed every Tuesday evening until 8 pm. This will insure those who need services can get them without the consequences of taking off work.
In addition to our city government being more accessible to the taxpayer, I will lead a movement that moves all City Council meetings to Tuesday evenings as well. The citizens of Toledo deserve to be able to participate in their city government without it costing them money. By having meetings in the evening, more citizens will be able to participate and be heard without taking time from work. Since being a Council member is supposed to be a ‘part time job' there can surely be no objection from its members.
Toledo 311 will be the newest communication tool available to Toledo residents. By simply calling this number, people will have their calls routed to the appropriate department and tagged to insure departmental compliance and response. This program has been proven to work in other cities and increases the effectiveness of city government.
Rebuilding and Improving Toledo
For more than a year, we have been hearing our professional politicians speak of identifying ‘shovel ready' projects, yet when asked what that means, they have no real answers. Then, when you ask ‘what will happen when they are identified?', these politicians still have no answers. We, on the other hand, have real answers to both questions.
First, a shovel ready site has most or all impediments removed for an end user's use. This site will have regulations removed, economic incentives/opportunities identified and financing options already available.
Second, once identified, these sites will be marketed on our own brand of "Loopnet". This service will be readily accessible to world markets, easily identify incentives/opportunities available with the property and finance options associated with this project. Additionally, this service will be available to area commercial/industrial brokers to market their listings too. For the first time ever in Toledo's history, we will provide an easy, ‘one stop shop' for out of area businesses to use and benefit from.
Very little happens in the industrial/commercial worlds without some sort of construction. Not only do factories, refineries, eateries and more require maintenance and remodeling, so do many of our smaller businesses. An all too often choke point for progress rests with our licensing and permitting offices. I make this commitment today, except for rare occasions or circumstances, permits on building plans and blueprints will be given back to the permit applicant with acceptance or revision provisions within 14 days of permit application. The days of 90 to 190 day permitting processes are over. We will get Toledo back to work!
Public Safety-We Must Protect Our Parents and Our Children
Maintaining public safety is government's number one priority-period. However, that does not mean that we must pay for mismanagement, out dated work rules, costly programs and more.
I believe we need to get more police officers on the streets, shifting resources if we have to. But before we do that, a Moody Administration will move to:
1) Increase the physical fitness of our police officers...if the fire department can insure
their team is physically fit, than so can the police department.
2) Put civilians in clerical and support work. We must get the sworn officers we already
have on the streets and from behind the desks.
3) Get out of the tow lot business. Those officers need to be on the streets.
4) Prepare for elimination of DROP program
5) Engage Civilians
a. Develop website for evidence collection
b. Take reports and follow up
c. Encourage and reward people who step up
6) Hold criminals accountable. Working with the court system, we will require
criminals to do community service in areas where they live. These criminals will
wear a uniform consisting of a pink jumpsuit and hat. They will remove graffiti,
clean sidewalks, cut weeds or whatever else is deemed appropriate. These criminals
will be held accountable.
Toledo's fire department is one of the finest in the Nation. However, firefighters need to be back on the line, with appropriate numbers, prepared to fight fires. Currently, the city is losing approximately $10,000 per day in overtime expenses. This must stop. The Moody Administration will;
1) Get out of the transport business. They are firefighters, not taxi drivers.
2) Eliminate the DROP program. It's costing us millions of dollars unnecessarily.
3) Hire displaced, already accredited firefighters. This will save us millions.
What's Right With City Government
As I have previously mentioned, not all is bad with our city structure. I believe we have a dedicated workforce of men and women who care about our city. I also believe that the allocation of funds for capital improvement verses general operating expenses should not be changed.
I will oppose any legislation that risks taking money from street repairs, equipment needs, and our own economic recovery and allocating it for salaries. Our streets need repaired...our equipment needs to be safe and our neighbors need jobs. We must not change our Capital Improvement Allocations.
I also think our department of neighborhoods is necessary. Unfortunately, I believe its purpose has been hijacked. We need a department that helps insure our neighborhoods are clean and safe and not to be used as a revenue generator. We need a department that resolves issues rather than creates them and we need a department that is pro-active rather than reactive. This department will be responsible for our neighborhood STAR program. Under a Moody Administration, our streets will be cleaner, our neighborhoods will be tidier and our citizens will be safer.
Economic recovery and development is the responsibility of the 22nd floor. As I discussed earlier, our economic development team will bring outside employers to Toledo, work to partner with the University of Toledo in attracting scientists using real incentives that have proven to work, fast-track intermodal transportation. lead a movement to reduce cumbersome restrictions and insure minority and small business owners are given a fair chance to bid work. Our economic recovery plan is based on proven methods that do not cost Toledoans in the form of risky tax credits that endanger our status in the bond market, or require an act of congress to implement or wait for the federal government to ‘bail us out'. Our economic recovery team will look to partner with our outlying neighbors and create joint economic development zones that benefit everyone. We will create the Toledo Go Team and they will be held accountable.
This is it, the foundation for reducing our budget by millions of dollars, growing our job base by the thousands and making our neighborhoods a nicer place in which to live. Please join me as we turn this town around.
We're All In This Together