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Pay Close Attention to City’s Finances

I applaud the fact that the City Council has reacted conservatively in the face of extraordinary financial difficulties.
I refer, to cite only one example, to the fact that it was established [Feb. 21] that the city is running huge annual deficits. The current year, furthering the example, is estimated to result in deficit spending of $3.7 million. Last year’s deficit spending was $996,000.
To the original point, the City Council, having given direction to City Manager Armine Chaparyan that a citywide hiring freeze is in immediate effect, hits the target, smack dab in the middle — on textbook, old school private sector business management and current governmental best practices as generously provided by the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers (CSMFO) and the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).
Your Council’s direction, if you permit me to penetrate “granularity,” was a hiring freeze on all positions except “public safety” positions of employment and “essential” positions of employment. It is my obligation to inform you that Ms. Chaparyan is rumored to be near the point of making final employment offers to prospective employment candidates. I have a concern that Ms. Chaparyan may hire individuals that she defines for herself and not on behalf of the City Council, as “essential.” Watch your wallet, in other words.
I, therefore, most respectfully recommend that you direct City Attorney Roxanne Diaz to “coordinate” with Ms. Chaparyan to ensure that a functioning definition of “essential” positions be put in place. I suggest City Attorney Diaz for this task because she can act to complete this task using proper care for the confidentiality of personnel matters, as is but one of many of her obligations to the Council.

Josh Betta
South Pasadena

First published in the March 8 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

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