Thursday, May 10, 2007

More frivolous spending - secret shoppers?

Well, according to many news reports today, our Mayor decided to spend $2,250 on secret shoppers to go into our city hotels and critique them. Of course, he chose a firm OUTSIDE the city to actually perform this service...

And he's using these secret shopper reports to issue citations from the Department of Neighborhoods.

But Carty didn't just hire secret shoppers and use their reports for citations - of course not. He personally delivered the citation to the hotel and then held a press conference.

Many people will praise his actions to 'clean up the city.' But many business people and others will see a mayor more interested in grandstanding. And then they wonder why people are leaving our city....

(BTW - I've updated my 'Tracking Spending' column to include this latest example of our mayor's lack of fiscal prudence.)


JMM said...

Hi Maggie,

I just had to laugh, sadly, at the Mayor's recent "event". Now to find out the money came from the city coffers. This is a joke! Isn't this city facing a multi-million deficit!!!! Why does he want to micromanage? Never mind - stupid question and I digressed.

Working with business to improve downtown is one thing. But to publicly embarrass them is another. How many people does the Mayor think will stay there now?

As the manager admitted, they are working on things. The building is old - like a lot of things downtown. The way it has recently changed hands, foreclosure and now for sale, because of lack of business shows the state of this city. But with very few things to draw people to stay downtown I'm surprised it's open at all.

If the Mayor would get some treatment his cranial-rectal inversion, maybe he would realize that things HOPEFULLY will get better with the new convention center. Or does he want ANOTHER vacant building downtown. This is a great example of how unfriendly Toledo is toward business.

Is there a way that $10,000 limit can be changed?
Are those "secret shopper" reports public record and if so how can we see them?

-Sepp said...

I read about Carty's "pet peeve of the week" today too. JMM is correct about changing that 10 grand rule since Carty knows he can nickle and dime us to death...just so long as the bill comes in at $9,999 or, less. 2 grand to pay some clown to go spend a night at a few hotels? I would do it for free just to get out of the house for a few nights and still be more than willing to critique the service, cleanliness and conditions.
Strange that it took the city years to raze the heroin den that used to sit at Reynolds and Heatherdowns but, can threaten to close down another hotel for dirty sheets!

Black Swamp Road Geek said...

retroactive pay increase!!
this is REAL money
ORD. 267-07
Approving the tentative agreement reached between the City of Toledo and AFSCME Local 7 Communication Operators for a collective bargaining agreement; and declaring an emergency.
The agreement includes wage increases that are offset by negotiated operational changes. These operational changes include merging the police and fire functions coupled with the ability to hire up to 6 part time communication operators.
The parties have agreed to move forward on a merger between the police and fire sections of the Communications Bureau; thus combining the work of the dispatchers- cross training each. By the end of 2007, the 911 communications section will be merged and training provided for operators to perform both functions. Those operators who choose not to perform in the dispatch function will remain as call takers at a pay grade 7. Those who perform all functions will be Senior Communications Operators at a pay grade 8. These changes will create efficiencies in overtime and staff.
Those operators remaining in Communication Operator position will receive a one half percent (1.5%) wage increase retroactive to 1/1/06,two percent (2%) retroactive to 1/1/07, and three percent (3%) 6/30/08. The majority of operators (opting to become Senior Communications Operators) will defer a raise from 2006 to be paid one half percent (1.5%) effective retroactively to 1/1/07. Again defer a raise from 2007 to 1/1/08 for two percent (2.0%), with a reclassification to a pay grade 8 May 16, 2008, if they are certified in all phases of dispatch. They will then receive a three percent (3.0%) raise with their co-workers on 6/30/08.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Y'all have to remember that there are two city budgets.

The one that everyone agreed to and "The Charlatan's budget," complete with "The Charlatan's" spending priorities.

What hizzoner wants always comes first; that is, until the money runs out.

Roo said...

This was perhaps one of the most inappropriate uses of public money that I have seen in a while. Then throw in the theatrical antics of Carty and you have....oh, what is it?....TOTAL EMBARRASSMENT!!!!

We have a Code Enforcement department. We have a Health Department. We have a Building Inspection department. Does this type of 'enforcement' mean that we can now do away with those departments and save a bunch of money? After all....Carty can take care of all of it himself! He just demonstrated that!

JMM said...


Why is this spending for the local 7 considered an emergency??? It seems this is another way to spend anytime they deem necessary and can this be changed??? Thanks

Maggie Thurber said...

JMM - the reason it's an emergency is because the contract actually began in 2006. It's taken this long to negotiate it, agree to it and then budget the money for it.

It's not unusual for labor contracts to be emergencies so that any back-pay or pay increases can take effect immediately and not wait for implementation.

And no, I don't think that there's any way to prevent this.

JMM said...

Thanks Maggie,

I appreciate the explanation on the "emergency" spending. But it does seem as if this term is used quite often.

Kurt said...

Hmm, last I checked, a warrant was required for such an invasion. Warrant... yes, it's a beautiful thing. Carty should lose and fall on his face. The government cannot take such an action exteding beyond the 4th, 5th, and 6th amendment, even Carty (and for those smart asses, the 14th amendment extends those rights to the states). No warrant = f!ck you Carty. Carty's complete disrespect for the law stands for itself. The Hotel in question has a reasonable expectation of privacy, and given their rates, it's no surprise that their level of quality is what it is.

-Sepp said...

In all fairness to Carty, you haven't ADDED IN the big profits that we'll be rolling in when the hot dog cart opens on the cherry st bridge!

Maggie Thurber said...

well, -sepp, in all fairness, I don't add the spending until it's actually voted I won't add any revenue from the hot dog stand until it actually materializes.


Maggie Thurber said...

Kurt - glad you raised the legality perspective. I was wondering how the city could base citations upon the observations of others. Normally, the city inspectors would have to verify the violations after receiving a complaint.

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