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Royal Oak Meets to Discuss Public Safety Millage

Participants in a town hall meeting Wednesday night agree the fate of the millage will shape the city's future.

Clyde Esbri of Friends of Royal Oak Public Safety, route: {:controller=>"articles", :action=>"show", :id=>"royal-oak-public-safety-millage-volunteers-gear-up"} --> opened Wednesday night's , which was held at

SCS September 22, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Do you dispute the "me too" clause for the other unions, and that there was a reconceeding of concessions to those unions who already settled. That is absolutely fact. Ted Ronan, after checking records available to the public (and candidates), there is no Ted or Theodore Ronan registered to vote in Royal Oak. What community do you vote in? Actually, there is no Ronan's registered in Royal Oak.
Lisa September 22, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Aren't there more than 30 people in Royal Oak? Not a good turnout. I think I would support a millage if the City Manager lived here, the commission did more work on the legacy costs, and if the millage was a reduced amount.
The Duke of Royal Oak September 22, 2012 at 05:29 PM
So, do you want the police and fire to work for $5.00 an hour and no benefits? To get good employees and keep them one must pay proper salary and benefits. I want the employees to be compensated properly. We have to have fair labor pay, and what about the morale.
The Duke of Royal Oak September 22, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Lisa there are only 30 people that live and care about Royal Oak. What does the residency of the city manager have to do with supporting the millage?
Alex Rucinski September 22, 2012 at 10:24 PM
It is interesting to read the discussion about legacy coss I agree the situation we have been placed in just plain sucks. But what I don't hear too much about the the increase in senior programs that will result if this millage passes. Where is this money comming from?
Rick Karlowski September 22, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Context - The ROFD has 18 supervisory personnel (not including the Chief and Asstant Chief) for 33 Firemen.. Please provide another organization that has that high a ratio. I recommend you and others attend Bill Shaw's presentation to understand how the retirement system works. I never said a millage increase is unwarranted. My postings have been in response to the notion that we have done all we could to reduce costs. See the ROFD org structure, which is contract versus need based. Why no discussion on a Public Safety department which the ICMA study claims will save 20% in operating costs? My concern with the millage is the way it is structured. The police department will not be up the "full" strength by next June, when the police and fire department contracts are up. There will be a large influx of cash on the balance sheets. What is the plan to keep the unions from reversing all those 'concessions"? I see no plan that solves to structural deficit. This millage just kicks the can down the road a few years.
Rick Karlowski September 22, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Thank you P. O'Neil. As for the statistics - Let's say one employee worked for 10 years, another for 20. Because of the effect of years of service (multiplier) and since the pensions are calculated based on the final few years of employment, the automatic pay increase also increase the base to which the multiplier is applied, the person with 20 years will get a much greater pension. In order to make a statement about an "average" pension, those conditions need to be factored in.
Debbie Campbell September 23, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Thank you Rick Karlowski, SCS and P.O’Neil for the enlightenment— The Commission nullified previously negotiated savings—And instead comes to us with a huge millage claiming “the sky is falling”… ---Don’t drink the Koolaid folks… Anyone who votes yes on 3.975 is a check writing fool- A millage defeat might wake Ellison and crew up out of their unsustainable ‘business as usual’ La-La Land--- Our ‘leaders’ need to make common sense changes to reduce Public Safety costs and come back to taxpayers with a reduced millage request that is in our best interest. Now the city manager is wasting another 15K taxpayer dollars on a citywide millage promo mailing-(see O&E article link below) http://www.hometownlife.com/article/20120923/NEWS20/209230365/1037/NLETTER12/Royal-Oak-sending-millage-letter-to-residents To Alski—notice the enhancements to senior services has been dropped from the line-up To Duke of RO—Regarding residency--Perhaps if the City Manager paid taxes here he would stop throwing money away…
The Duke of Royal Oak September 23, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Why do you wait to the eleventh hour to concern yourself with the city managers residence? This would have been properly addressed within the city department that handles the city manager contracts. To make Mr. Johnson a scape goat about the millage is unjustified. Please, those with concerns about this issue and the staffing positions of the police and fire departments should address your concerns with the proper city officials that oversee these issues and join city committee's that you can have your input.
Terry G. September 23, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Thank you for that link. Seriously? 13-15k on a mailing to 'inform' the public about our 'need' for money? That is utterly ridiculous. If I hadn't already been against it that would be the last straw.
Kelly J. September 23, 2012 at 04:56 PM
The School Superintendent was offered a job with the school district two years after the city manager was offered his job, and has moved to Royal Oak without any excuses. Matter of fact, I can't recall a school superintendent, or city manager that hasn't lived in Royal Oak until Don Johnson. My problem with Johnson is a matter of trust. He promised to move to Royal Oak when offered the job. He never mentioned anything about being "upside down" in his house, or anything about "when the market improved". A man is only as good as his word. Did he lie to get the job? I don't care how many hours he works, if he lives 30 miles away, how can he possibly be in touch with what happens in the downtown and our neighborhoods after midnight when his head is on a pillow so far away. That begs the question of how many times has he been in the downtown after midnight to firsthand witness some of the public drunkeness and disorderly conducts that happen so frequently.
Kelly J. September 23, 2012 at 06:43 PM
After reading this weeks VersagiVoice, I would have to agree.
Kelly J. September 23, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Ron, let Rome burn. I'll be damned if these morons think I'm going to pay more in taxes for something they created. No way!
Debbie Campbell September 23, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Huh?— Who wants to“ kill all the business downtown”? Not me Mr. Wolf— Being short police officers hasn’t slowed down bar approvals and expanding the Mayor’s “entertainment district” --The Commission approved 2 Huge bars (that have yet to open) a couple months ago, against recommendations from ROPD, knowing full well they’d be coming to taxpayers for money to hire police officers!!! Any additional Police officers gained from a millage will continue to be sucked out of neighborhoods to baby-sit downtown problems. At the very least the taxes collected from the downtown bars and businesses should pay for the additional police needed there--The Commission can ensure that happens—they simply choose not to. Has the Commission EVER discussed the number of additional police officers the DDA will be required to pay for with the windfall they’ll receive if the millage passes? That would be a NO-- --All the Mayor and Commission talks about is the number of police officers they expect the rest of us to pay for. The Commission needs to look out for the best public safety and financial interests of ALL Royal Oak taxpayers—Not just the interests of their wealthy campaign contributors: bar owners, land holders and developers in the downtown.
Lisa September 23, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Kelly you are right. Mr. Lakins moved immediately and he understands his salary is paid by us taxpayers. Duke the city manager Don Johnson is in violation of the city charter. He has had 7 years to move here. How can you work for a city that is running out of money and paying your six figure salary with benefits, and not live here and pay taxes yourself? The Mayor has not put any pressure on him to move here. He has no stake in the game.
Debbie Campbell September 23, 2012 at 09:02 PM
This 3.975 increase is the Commission’s first “would ya take” –If the taxpayers say HELL NO the Commission will be forced to do the right thing —Responsibly cut costs as outlined by Karlowski, SCS and P.O’Neil-Contractually bind the Downtown Development Authority to spend their millage windfall on public safety- If the Commission had taken common sense action in the first place the millage amount could be cut back and not such a burden, especially for those on fixed incomes-- The sky’s not magically going to fall in November if the millage fails—Remember the chief said that crime is trending down—A millage defeat will force the Commission to do the right thing and come back with a request that is FAIR…Period. Once they have a pile of money do you honestly believe the Commission will do the right thing to cut costs? Don’t worry Mr. Wolf—if 3.975 is voted down they’ll make some changes and be back in no time with a better number for taxpayers. It’s just too bad the Commission’s wasting time and money and that they need to be forced to do the right thing.
RobinGould September 24, 2012 at 07:25 PM
No, he's not.
RobinGould September 24, 2012 at 07:32 PM
So, going from 100 police officers to 65 did nothing?
Ted Ronan September 27, 2012 at 05:16 PM
He's real context: What are the supervisory ratio's in other similar fire departments? THAT's context. Rick you just sound bitter because you lost your race for the commission.
RO DPW Employee September 27, 2012 at 08:10 PM
I am a DPW worker for the city of Royal Oak. I am a member of the SEIU labor union. We absolutely have a "me too" clause in our contract. I believe a copy of the contract is available in the city manager's office, or the human resource department.
RO DPW Employee September 27, 2012 at 11:28 PM
http://www.ci.royal-oak.mi.us/portal/webfm_send/1672 #7 in the contract is the "me too" clause in our contract. We, the SEIU labor unit conceeded some things in future retiree healthcare, as did every other labor union (except police and fire). When the city settled contracts with the police and fire unions without those same concessions that we made, we requested the same deal the the police and fire got. That wiped out some of the the concessions that were in the original contract that was agreed upon. All the other unions did the same.
RO DPW Employee September 27, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Here is a copy of the AFMSCE'S contract. #7 in their contract is their "me too" clause. http://www.ci.royal-oak.mi.us/portal/webfm_send/1671 I finally found the contracts on the city website under the Human Resources Department. ProTech and all the other labor units have the same clause. Rest assured, it exists. If you watch city commission meetings, this was the reason commissioner Capello voted against the fire union contract. She accurately stated that concessions that had been made with the other unions would be rolled back. BTW, I am also a Royal Oak resident.
H. Christopher September 28, 2012 at 05:07 AM
I work in Human Resources. That is consistant with what is referred to a "me too" clause or a "mirroring" clause. It means that if a another bargaining unit settles after yours does, your bargaining unit has the option to mirror what is in the contract settled after yours. It pretty common to have a clause like that when there are multiple bargaining units. If a clause like this isn't offered, none of the bargaining units want to settle first.
H. Christopher September 28, 2012 at 05:12 AM
In the above contracts, the mirroring provision applied to the healthcare portion of the contracts.
The Duke of Royal Oak September 28, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Your comment concerning "GROUP HOMES: is very rude, and ignorant. I hope that it will soon be removed.
The Duke of Royal Oak September 28, 2012 at 12:59 PM
To RO DPW Employee, Thanks so much for the great work you do for the city of Royal Oak. You are much appreciated. We recently seen with the NFL what happens when you bring in non union workers. Even Mr.Ryan, R-V.P. Candidate, wanted UNION referee's back. SHOCKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There is HOPE!!
Dispatch September 28, 2012 at 02:04 PM
You work in HR? What's your email?
Dispatch September 28, 2012 at 02:08 PM
"WE?" Probably most employees are now on 401 plans and they pay for most of their own retirement pensions.
Dispatch September 28, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Debz: DDA's are independent, so how is any CITCOM going to "force" them to pay for more police? I suspect they will, after all, the members are your neighbors and business owners.
The Duke of Royal Oak September 28, 2012 at 03:57 PM
With your permission, I will "GET OFF MY HIGH HORSE" when I'm good and ready!

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