RE: Special Gifts for a Select Few

From: “Robert Ford” <rford37@cfl.rr.com>
To: “Ted Noftall” <ted@tednoftall.com>
Cc: “Greg Kisela” <gkisela@port-orange.org>
Bob_Ford_20082-150x150Ted, your memo of July 25th raised some important issues. In the coming paragraphs, I will attempt to respond to your questions.
CRI advised me in my meeting with them that no council authorization could be found for the special supplemental contributions to ICMA. I read the sections of the code of ordinances referred to in Mr. Kisela’s memo of July 31, 2013. Section 54-56 (f) does allow supplemental benefits but does not define what they are and while the ordinance specifies certain personnel, these sections also do not identify the full gamut of who has been receiving special supplemental benefits. In addition, some who are identified in ordinance, have not received such benefits. It would appear in this context is that without direct authorization of plan specifics by ordinance, it would be questionable to budget further funds in the 2014 Budget for the special supplemental plan.
As for the question as to seek return of previous years supplements, I would argue against seeking back payments. The ordinances do permit the payment of supplemental benefits and one can argue that since these funds were budgeted and approved by council in past years for this purposes, that they were legally granted since they were identified by name in the budget. As my previous paragraph suggests, I am ill at ease with granting any future supplemental payments without the passage of an authorizing ordinance. As we move forward I will fight to make clear, transparent, and upfront all future pay or benefit supplements.
There is no way to deal with the overall issue of fairness to employees that did not receive such funds. Financially it would be disastrous to try. Legally, it is not necessary since funds were allocated in previous budgets by name, and there is no document that clearly identifies what anyone should receive who did not receive such funds should have received. It is difficult to understand what exactly section 54-56 implies as to recipients and amounts.
What is sorely needed is a comprehensive review of benefits currently being provided. Note: for defined contributions recipients there is as I understand it, a base contribution of 10%, an employee can then have the city match their contribution up to 5% (in reality 3% since there is some confusion in the wording on the match program that needs attention). The special supplemental program provides varying amounts—$3,000 for department heads for example (which would be between 3% and 5% depending on salary). This review should focus on insuring equity among employees, making retirement benefits absolutely clear, and clearing up the confusion in our matching program. In addition, these benefits should be reviewed in terms of financial implications and workplace competitiveness. This review should be part of an even broader review of our benefit ordinances, and our civil service codes.
Since these are policy issues, I will urge Council to provide direction to our new Manager. Failure of the past City Manager to sufficiently involve Council in policy issues is what led to these dilemmas. Council needs to become more active in directing Port Orange forward.
Bob Ford


 
From: Kisela, Greg [mailto:gkisela@port-orange.org]
Sent: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 10:29 AM
To: Ted Noftall; Bob Ford; Kennedy, Dennis; don@amlsfl.com; Drew Bastian; Green, Allen
Cc: Lewis, Shannon; Roberts, Margaret
Subject: RE: Special Gifts for a Select Few
 
GregKiselaMayor and City Council: We have been reviewing the necessary modifications to the Code of Ordinances to address the issues raised in the CRI report. I do not believe Mr. Noftall’s conclusion in the below e-mail is consistent with the findings in the CRI report. The CODE of ORDINANCES does allow supplemental contributions to the ICMA-RC Deferred Compensation Plan or Money Market Plan for a select group of employees (see Section 54-56 (f)) . The CRI report concludes that several employees, City Council members, City Manager, City Attorney, City Clerk and Assistant City Attorney, have not been receiving these contributions. The policy issue is how do we remedy this issue? We are consulting with the City’s pension attorney to better understand what alternatives the City may have to address this issue.
Let me know if you have any questions.
 
Greg Kisela
City Manager


 
From: Ted Noftall [mailto:Ted@TedNoftall.com]
Sent: Thursday, July 25, 2013 6:35 PM
To: Bob Ford; Kennedy, Dennis; don@amlsfl.com; Drew Bastian; Green, Allen
Cc: Kisela, Greg
Subject: Special Gifts for a Select Few
 
Mayor and Council,
While the revised personnel projections have not been released which is curious in and of itself, it is commonly understood that the ICMA Special Gifts for Select Employees program has been eliminated from the FY 2014 budget.
If that is accurate that only leaves the matter of how the current and prior year un-authorized contributions to a select upper management few who found favor with the former Manager are going to be handled.
As you know this program was offered to fewer than 30 employees out of 400 with the former manager and his department heads being the heavy hitters and with lesser contributions for assistants heads and select few others.
Accordingly I would ask:
1) Is the City going to make an effort to recoup those un-authorized payments, OR
2) Are they going to be authorized retroactively if such a maneuver can be accomplished legally, AND if so how is the matter of inherent fairness to the 90 plus percent of employees who were excluded from this special gift program going to be addressed ???
 
Ted Noftall


 

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