These are excerpts from the Daily Bulletin Newspaper of quotes from Carol Timm on the topic of City Budget and Pension Reform:
Employee pensions have become a highly contested issue as city leaders continue to look for ways to cut their costs. Candidates running for City Council and mayor next week may be faced with the issue once elected. The City Council in May asked employee groups to pay their portion of their pensions, but no agreements were reached. However, department heads and the city manager agreed to pay. The candidates were recently asked to weigh in on the subject.
QUESTION: Do you believe that employees should pay their full share of employee contributions?
Carol Timm, an Upland planning commissioner running for City Council, said the answer is yes. She added that she believed the City Council should have accepted offers from police and fire unions to pay their pensions in return for a two-year contract. “Employees should pay their full 12 percent,” she said. “This year, it was 9 percent and now next year it will go up to 12 percent, and the reason being is obvious. Our city is in a state financially where we need everyone to do their fair share, and in doing that we will all get together and work together as a team.”
QUESTION: What will be your first priority upon taking office?
A: “My first priority is addressing the city budget. Every effort should be made to keep crucial services to our citizens. Encourage revenue generating commercial expansion, and reduce spending through each department to address the deficit. City government should pursue retaining more tax dollars paid by Upland citizens to state and federal government.”
QUESTION: When it comes to addressing employee pay and benefits, what approach do you intend on taking?
Timm: City management and union representatives can agree to open labor negotiations to discuss various cost reduction and expense deferral options. All City management and union personnel shall meet and agree to compromise for a balanced City budget. I support all employees paying their fair portion of the pension. We are all taking tough hits at this time during the recession, but all of the departments need to work together to get through these tough times. According to California law, “new employees starting Jan. 1, 2013, would automatically have to contribute 50 percent of their pension costs, local government labor unions will have a five-year window to negotiate that through collective bargaining.”
Carol Timm, an Upland planning commissioner and retired teacher, said the city has been allowed to sink into a hole of debt due to legal fees as well as the former city manager giving and receiving unnecessary salary increases and pension spikes.
“We are seeing projections in our budget that were grossly underrated and we face bankruptcy,” she said. “Without immediate action it will happen, just like in San Bernardino. The city needs to vote for immediate action to stop the blood from flowing from city coffers.”
Timm said the first priority will be to keep the city’s crucial services such as safety and open labor negotiations to discuss various cost reductions and expense deferrals.
“We need to consider employee furloughs, she said. “City employees should pay their part of their pension, as police and fire offered to do. They already offered to pay the full 9 percent and the City Council and mayor rejected that. We would be saving $800,000 right now if they accepted that, but the they agreed to do that because they want to look at outsourcing. All the city management and leadership personnel should meet and agree to compromise for a balanced city budget.”