Goldstein: “Budget cuts” include imaginary staffing cuts

Letter to the editor

Updated at 5:20 p.m. at the request of the author

For many years I requested and received public records that show the amount of city taxpayer funds spent on managers and consultants who do not deliver or directly supervise municipal services that are essential to life and safety in the city. There was reason to believe that such public records requests have a salutary effect on public participation and that the disclosure of this information encourages City Hall to be more frugal with public money. And it did.

So in February of this year, I asked for the amounts of salaries and benefits paid to top employees in the City Manager’s office and to highly-paid City employees who are not associated with GRU. While this request and follow-ups remained unanswered, the City Manager issued a document entitled “FY24 Position Decrementary Summary” about spending cuts that several commissioners had complained about on TV, saying that the cuts were forced on the City by the legislature.  

But it appears that the so-called “Decrementary Summary” actually reports cuts to positions that were never filled and are vacant or imaginary. Such accounting sends a message to the public that City Hall is not believable despite all their blame and pain in TV reports and PR. 

Meanwhile, we can expect more TV blame-and-pain talk from the present commission majority. And sadly, even though they were elected by less than 10 percent of the voters, a failure of participatory democracy, they have the power to continue raising rates, spend wildly, increase taxes, and hire more lawyers to defend costly misadventures. 

Mark Kane Goldstein, Gainesville

The opinions expressed by letter or opinion writers are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AlachuaChronicle.com. Letters may be submitted to info@alachuachronicle.com and are published at the discretion of the editor.

  • It’s a pattern all over America, but more often where gullible citizens don’t vote. And where local pols actually believe in “experts” with $$$,$$$ salaries. Usually college towns.

  • Removing the unfilled jobs for the 2024 budget results in in increased budget, compared to Harvey Ward’s promise inn April to cut $19 million from the $150+ million budget. He is replacing the $19 million as part of the GRU theft with a 27% increase in property tax. Just more do nothing from the unrepresentative city commission. Have any of them ever had to live on a real budget, in their lives? They don’t act like it.

  • Your conclusion rings very true. Unfortunately, that 10% are those who are of one of two groups, those looking for handouts and those who are either too dumb or naive to recognize it.

    • Imagine that. More smoke and mirrors or just not wanting to leave a paper trail? We know that has worked for them in the past.

      • Scapegoat or sacrificial offering?
        Everyone knows the commission will throw anyone under the bus. Harvey would throw his child under the bus if he didn’t need a skirt to hide behind.

  • The JLAC members would have every reason to go ahead and write their letters to the governor without any further delay. (Although I personally look forward to seeing each commissioner questioned individually by the committee.)

  • Per the proposed budget, The majority of the City”s Public Works Dept’s budget cuts consisted of cutting nine positions that either did not exist or had been vacant for months. Meanwhile the city could afford buying $200,000 of solar powered garbage cans to be placed on street corners.A regular $25;garbage can is not good enough.

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