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Glendale City Council should consider suit consequences

April 19, 2013

In 2001, Glendale had 197 city employees earning $100,000 or more annually. In 2012, it jumped to 571 earning $100,000 or more, up to $258,000. The city’s pension costs went from $8.3 million 2002 to $31 million today.

For more than a decade, the city illegally transferred up to 25% of Glendale Water & Power’s revenues to the General Fund instead of up to 25% of GWP surplus, about $21 million annually, which resulted in a number of planned utility rates increases to pay for infrastructure needs. In 2012, overtime and pay perks alone exceeded $21 million.

Measure B’s ballot resolution was deceptive — city representatives tried to marginalize voters with confusing language. Also, city representatives tried to skew the vote by stating they would continue with the transfers regardless of the election’s outcome. If so, why put it on the ballot?

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It’s apparent that the county Grand Jury’s investigation of alleged state violations to Propositions 218 and 26 was the motivating factor. The city contended that the propositions did not apply since its charter pre-dates the propositions. The grand jury’s interim report disagreed with the city.

Now that Measure B has lost, the city needs to reconsider whether it’s worth the risk of having this matter settled in court, and being ordered to restore hundreds of millions of dollars back to GWP. That will result in the layoff of hundreds of city employees. Better to renegotiate/eliminate the salary perks, overtime and pension-spiking. It would be poor judgment by the City Council if it underestimates the will of the people, that they do not have the resources or resolve to take this matter to court and prevail.

Kenneth Landon
Glendale

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