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Tiger Team : Why isn’t the Village Council moving more quickly to adopt these common sense recommendations

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Tiger Team : Why isn’t the Village Council moving more quickly to adopt these common sense recommendations

The Village Council is contemplating an evaluation process for Gabbert. But, the Financial Advisory Committee Report recommended establishing a “metrics-based” management system for ALL employees and layer out a simple method to begin that process, without reinventing the wheel, over a month ago.

Why isn’t the Village Council moving more quickly to adopt these common sense recommendations that should have been implemented years ago? Since the report was presented over a month ago, the Council has not even mentioned it publicly, let alone outlined a process to evaluate and adopt its recommendations.

I was shocked to learn of the fiscal challenges facing Ridgewood. Yet, many residents seem more concerned with political sideshows in town than the solvency of Ridgewood and the ability of its taxpayers to afford its la k of spending discipline. Was the committee a political stunt or can we expect real change to our village management process? What is going on Village Council members????

16 thoughts on “Tiger Team : Why isn’t the Village Council moving more quickly to adopt these common sense recommendations

  1. because it looks good on paper . but when you get into it some of it is not that good.
    and that is the problem with some people the wheel is made and it works. stop all ways thinking it can be better.

  2. Absolutely alot of it was unattainable without complete renegotiation of a contracts and some suggestions needed legislative change, and upon closer inspection the credential of some of the contributors was suspect.

  3. One of Mayor Paul Aronsohn political stunt. Its only one of many

  4. I read the report closely and most of the recommendations do not require any changes to contracts. But, at the end of the day, changes to the contracts are exactly what must occur to avoid the out of control budget increases over the next few years. We obviously cannot continue with the status quo. I looked at the contracts that were posted on line and they specifically say that the terms of the existing contracts do not have bearing on future contracts. So, why not make sensible changes when the contracts are up? At the very least, we need a permanent financial committee to look at these issues every year.

    #2…which recommendations do you think are unattainable? Which require legislative change?

    If you don’t agree with the recommendations they came up with in the report, how would you suggest Ridgewood avoid $1-2mm of budget increases each year?

  5. The high value recommendations require changes in contracts.

    The mayor and his two puppets have a different agenda.

  6. Time tested recipe for inaction……appoint a committee to study the problem.

  7. #4 Pensions are governed by public law, so reform must come from the legislature. Senible change can come by negotiation at the end of the contract. But the big problem is no one wants to take on the health care providers because too many people are invested in the profits from them. Also the boe has to be reined in it tis the largest portion of our tax dollar so start there.
    There was a post on this blog awhile back that I will take the liberty of paraphasing it stated mayor Arohnson used a “zero tax raise” as apolitical tool to blame it’s failure on something or someone else. This whole tiger team report seems to be just that.

    1. #7 No question that BOE budget/contracts need to be addressed. While that is bigger portion of tax levy, there are some different issues than those involved with municipal budget. A great first step would be to establish the financial board that was recommended to begin to tackle municipal issues and then eventually work with BOE. We have an opportunity to make meaningful changes in municipal budget right now. There is no reason to put that off until changes are made with BOE.

      While BOE budget is bigger, there are $millions of reductions that can be achieved in municipal budget more quickly, much of which does not require any change to contracts. We need an “all of the above” approach and cannot afford to accept excuses for inaction by ANY of the Village Council members. Taxpayers need to hold the Village Council (and the Village Manager) accountable right now. I’d like to hear where each of them stand on this issue? What is their plan? Are any of them opposed to following the recommendations? If so, which ones and what is their rationale? If not, why aren’t they discussing this at every meeting? Let’s hear hear them explain their time table to address these issues.

  8. I was reading the budget and found all the department to have existing agreements in place with that being the case and, pensions being a function of public law what do you go after ? supplies, or work force size ? if posted numbers are close to accurate that could prove to be a difficult project to say the least. Capitol spending might be a place to look but the pitfall in that direction is having to buy some thing down the road that cost’s more that if you made a purchase right away and increased the life span of the unit ( whatever it may be) and maintained it better. Also I think the rule of low bid should be looked at because the cheapest isn’t always the best. That too might need legislative attention i’m not quite sure.

    1. Read the report that was posted on the village website at this address to answer your questions:

      https://www2.ridgewoodnj.net/main_recent.cfm?ArticleID=1128

      Most of what they suggest in the report can be implemented relatively quickly. The section that discusses changes to the contracts is pretty dramatic. Most of it can, in fact, be implemented without changes from Trenton when the current contracts expire. The obvious challenge is getting the union negotiators to agree to dramatic overhauls of contracts that have become the “default” starting points during every negotiation. The issue is usually over how much of an increase the village will agree to, not whether another increase is even appropriate, let alone whether a new structure would be more appropriate.

      Many of you seem too willing to throw up your hands and say “it is too difficult to make changes” or “we don’t know what we will get with change”. Of course changing decades of entrenched behavior is difficult. If it was easy, it would have been done a long time ago. But, our backs are against the wall now and we can’t afford to allow the existing behavior and policies to continue. We may not know whether change may bring some new challenges. But, we have a very good idea of what we stand to gain and we know very well what the current policies have brought us…and we cannot tolerate them anymore.

      I suspect that many of the comments arguing against change to our municipal management are from municipal employees, who are afraid of the change and may not have a thorough understanding of what the report has recommended. It is hard to imagine that any Ridgewood taxpayer would suggest that we shouldn’t investigate the POSSIBILITY of exploring every recommendation in the report to see what we find out. If a recommendation can’t be implemented for some reason, so be it. But, we can’t be so apathetic that we are willing to accept the admonishments of anonymous naysayers on this blog as reasons not to try.

  9. They never wanted to implement anything. That is why they spend their time meeting with developers and making plans to overdevelop the town. It was just window dressing.

  10. The implementation of a financial oversight board reeks of big brother, This would enable unelected power brokers to circumvent the electoral process. Simply put through political connection, and surreptitious campaign financial aid the “fob” could be the puppeteer and the council the puppets, without worry of conflict of intrest scrutiny. If so many “qualified” residents are willing to tell municipal management what they are doing wrong run for office get elected and subject your self to the day to day operations, and relentless second guessing that goes along with being on the council.

  11. “The implementation of a financial oversight board reeks of big brother…”

    #12 I think you miss the point of fob from the way I read the recommendation. In fact, it seems very non-political. I fail to see how people on this group could be considered “power brokers” or why/how they might “circumvent the electoral process”. Do you have the same fears about the planning board, which would appear to have far more authority than the fob. I like the idea of having volunteer residents focusing on village finances in much greater detail than council members can, to develop ideas and make suggestions. The description of this group sounds like an advisory body to aid village management and the council and provide independent perspective.

    I don’t really see how such a group “reeks of big brother”. It seems like the fob would fill a gap that exists in our village management process today. Frankly, I find the unrestrained conduct of the village manager far more troubling. At least the fob would be able to help give the council a more informed perspective, which may or may not differ from that of the village manager. This is something that should have been done a long time ago.

  12. Good point. I still do not know how the tiger team was selected. They are said to be “financial” professionals but that could mean that they are a bunch of financial planners. There are hundreds of them in the village. There are also business owners on the team. This may explain why the tiger team has plans for trimming costs and for helping the business district. It has too many goals and the goals may not be in the best interest of the taxpayers.

    Can someone list the members and their affiliations?

  13. The teams report suggests a restructuring of senoirity rules for layoffs, this rule comes out of civil service law not any employee contract. thus any change comes from the legislature not negotiation. The “unrestrained conduct” of the village manager is definately troubling but the decisions he made with regards to personnell issues had to come with advice of counsel either village attorney or labor attorney, so at the risk of sounding like i’m defending him (the vm) we as citizen tax payers have to look at the whole picture.

  14. The members of the FOB have not been selected yet.

    The initial committee was never “said to be financial professionals”. During the public meeting I watched, the group was described as a “diverse group of residents” from many different professions. I was told that they were asked (by the Mayor) to participate in the committee as concerned residents who were willing to volunteer their time to explore the village finances in more detail and present their conclusions/recommendations publicly to the village council.

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