My thoughts about the FY 2014 budget

Here’s a memo I sent to the selectboard and town manager yesterday.
I want to see an expansion of staff, particularly in the areas of executive management (i.e. a deputy or asst town manager, in terms of a shared IT staff (not person, staff), software (particularly in the realm of knowledge management and apps), and an energy/sustainability coordinator. I want to see a serious proposal for moving to a health plan that will be self insured, i.e a BXBS-administered plan with a $750K deductible and $100,000 expense load, and on top of that buy re-insurance for the next $15 million over the deductible, which will likely cost something like 150K. While this will increase our health insurance expense to $1 million, based on your recent email the new premiums will bring us to that level. If our total health care cost is less than $1 million we win and save money, if it is over that and less than $16 million we lose. With 105 employees we’d have to average $145,454.55 per person with a 110 person staff to get there.
Non-union staff should be able to get merit raises and bonuses effective or payable July 1 at the discretion of the town manager from a pool of $200,000 designated for that purpose.
I had a long talk with Chris Dube, head of the FD union, about overtime yesterday and it doesn’t sound like our response time criteria have much to do with it, but instead it is the difference between the number of guys on staff and the number who are healthy and available to work. Virtually all of our overtime is rooted in medical emergency calls — when 2 guys go out and only 3 are in the house, someone has to be called in to be the 4th guy for the second call. He told me that many shifts are down to 3 because of the manpower situation. Does the FD really have to be the only organization doing this? I ask because I just don’t know. Why can’t we team up with Norwich or Lebanon and staff for medical calls that way? Why not create a¬†virtual¬†regional medical emergency response unit so that for example, when Hartford rolls and there is 1 guy left behind, Lebanon automatically takes the next call, then Norwich etc — Hartford doesn’t have to call anyone in until they are next up.
We should offset taxes with all unassigned funds in excess of the 10% target.


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