As part of the set of emails discussed yesterday there was this really interesting portion which, if true, illuminates the reason why the “fiscally conservative” Trish Spencer was so eager to spend down the City’s fund balance above the legally required percentage.
One would think that someone mindful of the City’s fiscal soundness would want to retain as much money in a rainy day fund as possible in order to weather the, well, rainy days that might be coming if there is a future economic downturn. After all, you can’t sock away money when things are bad, but you can be fiscally prudent (and save) when the outlook is much brighter to make sure that the bills can still be paid and services can still be rendered for the citizens when things are not so rosy.
In Trish Spencer’s email to the City Manager this is what she wrote:
I supposedly told you and other staff members that I want the City to go bankrupt. That is absolutely not true. In fact, my concern about the City’s fiscal instability is why on April 29, 2015, I was one of two Councilmembers to vote against the six-year MOU between the City and Public Safety. As was reported at that time, http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_28022909/alameda-city-council-approves-contracts-police-firefighters, I wanted to review the terms of the proposed contract as part of the City budget and its possible shortfalls. Also, I have requested that Staff prepare a long-term analysis of the City’s fiscal future, which has not yet been provided. This is a six-year contract and it is imperative that the projected financial impact be shared with the public as soon as possible.
To which the City Manager shot off this short, devastating response (my emphasis below):
And, finally, you have stated to me, members of the Council, and other staff, that you have an interest in spending all funds available in an effort to “hit the wall” as quickly as possible in order to allow the City Council to reopen the labor contracts.
So who are we to believe? Trish Spencer who ran on this whole fiscally conservative thing but has been spending the City’s money like it’s burning a hole in her pocket. Or the new City Manager, other members of the Council, and other staff who were told by Trish Spencer that she wanted to spend all funds available and “hit the wall” so that labor contracts have to be reopened.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Mayor of the City of Alameda: willing to have the City “hit the wall” in order to stick it to the public safety unions.