Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Below is a May 2015 email from Judge Gayle Williams Byers to NEOMG reporter Sara Dorn:
My letter is self-explanatory.
What I'll do is note the contradictions in what you've been told by the mayor and her police chief.
#1 – According to you, the police chief says heroin is second behind marijuana as far as “enforcement” problems. I refer you to the state's drug laws. Marijuana is classified as a minor misdemeanor for personal use and is a non-criminal offense. Heroin is a felony. Using the chief's words, once or if marijuana becomes legal this year, then heroin will be South Euclid's #1 drug problem. That makes it an unaddressed problem today.
#2 – The chief contradicted Mayor Welo's assertion that South Euclid's municipal court didn't hear felony cases. Thanks for validating that she was wrong. I already knew.
#3 – The chief is blaming the decrease in narcotics enforcement on “normal influx.” What is “normal influx?” I won't attempt to interpret how you or he used those two words together. Here's what's on the record. Voters were asked by the mayor and police chief to support a “staffing levy” to address shortages in manpower. Voters supported a “staffing levy.” You have the mayor's email to me indicating her agreement that the safety levy was for “staffing,” not pension funds and sick leave payouts.
I haven't and won't examine 2013 staffing and compare those figures to 2014-2015 staffing, which is something I encourage you to do. But I've been informed by South Euclid police officers that staffing is still a problem and the reason for the lack of enforcement. I'm not going to quibble with the mayor, police chief or you over this issue. I'm not revealing the names of officers who shared this information with me in confidence. That information is not a public record.
I'm going to reassert that even according to the police chief, heroin is the city's #1 “felony” drug problem. Nearly-legal marijuana would be the city's #1 “misdemeanor” drug problem. And let's be real. It is absolutely ridiculous to compare the effect of nearly-legal marijuana on a person or a community in contrast to felony heroin addiction and trafficking.
#4 – What you've confirmed is the mayor's “bait and switch” methodology for how she's spent special levy money South Euclid voters approved for “staffing.” I didn't write that the mayor placed the money in the“pension line.” I repeated the mayor's assertion that she placed the money in the “pension line.” When she forwarded me a copy of the actual line item, I noted, as you should, that “sick leave payouts” were also being paid from the special levy voters approved for “staffing.” You have the mayor's email where she repeats that the money was intended for “staffing.”
You, not me, is making the claim that Welo “freed up about $1 million in the general fund (cost of pensions and about equal to what the levy brings in) that wasn't reinvested in the police and fire departments. That's because the general fund paid for the pensions before the safety levy.”
The general fund typically covers all the employees' expenses. That's no mystery.
What you're claiming is that instead of keeping the $1 million in the general fund that covered pensions and sick leave pay outs, and adding the $1 million per year voters approved for staffing; Welo deducted $1 million from the general fund for pensions and sick leave payouts, and left staffing relatively the same. She then used the $1 million she got from the special levy to pay pensions and sick leave payouts, which had once been general fund expenses.
I'll reiterate the words you used two paragraphs above this one. You specifically said the $1 million Welo is getting from the special levy “...wasn't reinvested in the police and fire departments.” You've confirmed, once again, that the mayor has maintained “status quo” staffing and did not use the levy money as it was sold by her administration and supported by the voters.
So your question to the mayor, not me, should be for her to identify how the staffing levy voters approved increased police and fire staffing. And if you've already confirmed that the mayor did not reinvest the $1 million in annual special levy money back into the police and fire departments, then I must assume you have some very critical questions to ask why she was not truthful to the city's voters when she asked them for money.
I, as a South Euclid voter, did not support a levy to maintain status quo police staffing. What you've confirmed is that in 2014 the $1 million a year “staffing” levy “... was used to pay for pensions, sick leave and medicare only. Medical insurance, workers comp and wages were added this year.” The italicized boldfaced and underlined words are yours.
Staffing is one word with its own definition. There are expenses for “benefits” that are relative to staffing. Mayor Welo did not sell a staffing levy to this city's voters based on her desire to strip $1 million from the general fund over three years to cover pension and sick leave pay-outs and subsequently maintain status quo staffing.
So what does she have in store for South Euclid residents once the three year “staffing” levy expires? Without the extra $1 million a year it seems logical that there will be at least $1 million in cuts or another “staffing” special levy request.
Hope these answers are helpful. By the way. There are two heroin addicts in jail now on theft charges.
Please click on the following links to view Safety Levy information:
Friday, March 27, 2015
Video below: A taxpayer voices his concerns about some decisions made by Councilperson At-Large Dennis Fiorelli.
Plus, SEOversight ''''FLASHBACK>>> to January 12, 2015, when Mr. Fiorelli justifies his vote to retain the current Law Director.
- time: 8 min. 07 sec.
Saturday, February 7, 2015
"...Officials who point their finger like a compass points North towards other bloated public salaries in justifying getting theirs, is starting to wear thin. Higher taxes and higher public salaries is not the answer most of us want to hear." - J.L.
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