City Government

Caldwell Gives Taxpayer Cash To City Employees

The City of Caldwell has quietly passed along tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to city employees at a time when unemployment is at historic high levels and property values are declining.

Caldwell GUARDIAN editor Paul Alldredge caught the item on the “consent agenda” of the city council and obtained the resolution. Otherwise it would have flown under the radar since there was no public discussion. Both the Caldwell and Boise GUARDIAN news blogs worked on this story which merits some “legacy media” attention.

Tuesday the City passed a RESOLUTION that gives 58 hours of paid leave to all the workers in the city from the top down to even part timers. It is simply a gift.

UPDATE7/8/11–IDAHO PRESS-TRIBUNE adds some insight and increased zaniness. City fought raises to firefighters union due to lack of revenue..soooo they gave vacation time to ALL the already “overworked” staff, thus creating more burden on those who are working!

Comments & Discussion

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    Jul 7, 2011, 3:16 pm

    “It’s fun to be the KING… I love the people” (Mel Brooks, History of the World Part III)

    With all the paid holidays, vacation time, sick leave time, and now another 58 hours of paid time off…IS THIS A GREAT PLACE OR WHAT?

    Mayor Nancolas and the City Council must be smoking some strange stuff these days

  2. Humm I think the Mayor of Caldwell has been receiving lessons from the Mayor of Boise


  3. brian vermillion
    Jul 7, 2011, 4:22 pm

    Where can I put in my application!

  4. Let them eat cake! This is unbelievable. How the Mayor and City Council of Caldwell can actually get away with this just boggles my mind.

    We have government way more out of control and responsible to taxpayers at the local level than we do at the federal level. What amazes me is how few people actually are paying attention. I guess if they can’t get it via Cable TV it just isn’t given any consideration by local taxpayers.

  5. Bronco P3t3
    Jul 7, 2011, 6:56 pm

    Oh no, elected officials using tax money to accomplish the goals of the municipality by giving employees benefits. Heaven forbid. Next thing they’ll be wanting to not collect my trash on July 4th! Give it a rest! Are we running gov’t like business or not? Businesses give bonuses and compensate employees- stock holders don’t revolt! let the elected officials do their jobs, if you don’t like them get them voted out. Mayor Nancolas & Mayor Dale get re-elected because the citizens like what they are doing!

    EDITOR NOTE–Government should be run like a GOVERNMENT, not a business. We have had far too many Enrons, Qwests, Bank of Americas, etc. The people are defeated and disheartened. When we force the cities to abide by the law, they take our money and get the law changed.

  6. By the Numbers
    Jul 7, 2011, 8:00 pm

    Giving employees reasonable benefits is not unreasonable.

    However, a gratis additional week and a half of paid time off at taxpayer expense on top of; vacation time, paid sick leave, paid holidays, PERSI retirement, and virtually a job for life not subject to the rise and fall of the economy, nor do public employees face the constant downsizing blows to their family and incomes. This just seems over the top to me.

    The above scenario suggests to me about a month and a half off each year for anyone with more than 5 years as a public employee.

  7. The long term progression of this does not bode well for governments and g employees. They’re just having an orgy near the end. The great fires of Rome draw near? It certainly looks likely based on history and it’s propensity to repeat.

  8. Steve Edgar
    Jul 7, 2011, 10:47 pm

    Seems that you have uncovered another local abuse of taxpayer dollars.

    I find it very ironic that in a State such as ours, where big government is shunned and criticized at every turn, we only have to look at our local, “small” taxing districts to find tremendous abuses.

    I ask each citizen to review your property tax bill, look at the taxing districts and their levy rates and compare to similar entities across the entire state. Then ask to see the financial records (public information requests) and you will be shocked to see how much of your money is foolishly spent. Much of it lining the pockets of the “local” elected officials, or their brother-in-law with a back hoe business.

    Look at all districts; Fire, Cemetery, Paramedics,etc… there are over forty individual taxing districts in Ada county alone, I am sure as many in Canyon County.

    “We have seen the enemy and he is us”.

  9. Hubert Osborne
    Jul 8, 2011, 5:51 am

    According to the Press-Tribune article this morning it appears that the root of the problem is the firefighters union and their failure to recognize that there is only so much blood that can be extracted from the turnip (taxpayers). Let’s hope Nancolous and city council take a double dose of Viagra to stiffen their spine when negotiating a new contract with these #%&*.

  10. What is an acceptable amount? I’m not saying whether I support it or whether I’m against it. Both sides bring up a good point. Are public employees not allowed to receive bonuses? Are there complaints simply because of the state of the economy at this time or is this just a knee-jerk reaction against government workers? Dave, you rebutted Bronco’s comment: A very good point. However, you only pointed out extreme examples of bad business. Do public employees not deserve work incentives? Let’s look at the other side of the coin. How many layoffs or furloughs have they endured over the last couple of years? I honestly don’t know. With all of that being said, Dave I think you do a great job here and it only makes me want to be more involved and to become ever more vigilent of our goverment. Keep up the good work.

    EDITOR NOTE–Random, take a look at the linked story in the Idaho Press-Tribune.
    The city felt the union did NOT deserve the extra cash due to declining revenues–their words not mine. When they lost pre-court (not a judge, but still binding), they offer up the same deal to all employees. The irony is the city pleads poverty and then goes off and increases the burden on the rest of the staff under the guise of offering them bonuses for the extra workload, thus creating an ever greater work load. The big beneficiaries will be the highest paid supervisors. “Businesses” are downsizing, eliminating pay for holidays not worked, etc.

  11. Idahocrystal
    Jul 8, 2011, 12:08 pm

    Really? This is scandalous? These people have been asked to do the work of two or three people to compesate for their coworkers that had to be let go because of budget cutbacks and they haven’t had a raise in 3 years (despite the increase in the cost of living) and people are complaining because they’ve been given an extra 7 days of leave? I see some people actually throwing PERSI out there as over and above what “they” should have to pay for with “their” taxes. (Would you rather these people have to be supported in their retirement because they’re surely not getting the SSI they’ve paid their whole lives since so many current retirees are drawing off far more than they ever paid?)
    Your share of Caldwell City taxes is what? $100/yr? Oh, wait – You don’t actually live there?
    Those same people whining about this (Who actually are affected) are the first to complain long and loud about the wait time at the city offices or when their local services aren’t up to par.
    How much do you suppose the city saved in legal fees by avoiding a potential lawsuit brought on by all those employees who aren’t union firefighters who would surely take issue with the discrepancy in compenstation.
    There are sooo many other things going on that are truly scandalous, surely this isn’t one of them…

    EDITOR NOTE–Please provide us with a couple of the the other things that are scandalous and quit hiding them from the citizens and even government officials who have oversight. Also, how is the “wait time” going to decrease if MORE employees are on vacation?

  12. After reading the article in the Press-Tribune, in this case, I don’t agree with how the city decided to handle this matter. Was their motivation to be “fair” to the other employees? Was there a fear of some sort of lawsuit from those other employees? In light of the economy I don’t agree with the union’s request either. I understand unions have a purpose, but my limited observations show me that they tend to disregard the big picture and remain focused on furthering their particular agenda regardless of the availability of resources.

  13. By the Numbers
    Jul 8, 2011, 3:57 pm

    The work load is not creating a mass exodus of city employees, the extra time off says they have plenty of staff to deal with the work and grant this extra time off.

    The other thing that seems over the top is the amount of sick leave at one day per month or 2.4 weeks a year. I never saw anything this generous at any place I have ever worked. We took out short term disability insurance (think AFLAC here).

    I am getting pretty fed up with government employees crying the blues over how little they make in comparison to the private sector. Probably true for CEO talent but all and really do mean all of the public employees I know make a lot more than private sector jobs of the same type on a year in and year out basis.

    According to govt. data the average family of four in Canyon County is about $43k/yr. The tells me Mom and Dad are pulling down pay in the low $20k range. It’s a little higher in Ada County and that relates to all the govt. employees in Ada v. Canyon County.

    Under-employment is a chronic problem in Idaho and right to work has done nothing but make Idaho the land of cheap labor, cheap housing and bloated numbers of people receiving govt. aid.

  14. Caldwell always seemed different with the FD in that they had 4 shifts per week vs 3 in other valley Depts. So, 42 hrs/week for CFD vs usual 56 hrs/week for BFD or NFD. Presumably, the fewer hours for CFD gave the members more time off to pursue high paying construction jobs, part time? Now the construction has dried up, CFD members are whining and want more hours at the government trough perhaps. Seems the mayor (his man was/is Fire Chief) gave in to the 4 shift/week contract a couple years ago. Since good paying side jobs building houses are no longer a viable supplemental income for the 42 hour/week CFD, something has to give. And here you have it.. Messy situation for all. And this comment is all just speculating, as I like my knee caps and know how Union thugs are.

  15. Interesting, the Guardian says the government should be run like a government, not a business. I bet most of the Guardian blogers think it should run like a business. The cities are running just like corporate America. The people who really benefit in this scheme are the CEO/Politician/upper mgmt. folks. It works for them but not the people actually doing the work.

  16. As long as the state is dealing with over 9% unemployment and approaching 18% when under employment and those no longer looking for work that doesn’t exist are factored in, I really don’t care how many furlough days government employess have to take. I really don’t care about their increased work load because I have a funny feeling that prior to this mess we had too damned many government employees to start with. I really don’t care that they haven’t had a raise in three years, because those on social security haven’t seen an increase either. I really am sick of the whining that is going on. Why? Because they still have a good job and need to realize that. So, we have listened to your crap, now go over in the corner and shut up!!

  17. Modern building materials, smoke/fire-detection/sprinklers, education, and regulations have resulted in fewer dangerous fires. The modern fire department has been and important factor in this victory. However, is it also time to reduce the cost at the fire department now that the dangers have been reduced? There remains a need for FD. But I don’t see why we have them rushing around in the big trucks with big pay checks to medical emergencies and such… where’s the fire?

    Canyon seems to have gone past the choke point on tax rates too. Would reducing to Ada’s tax rates and reducing government to match collections result in the big spenders moving back in with economy building investment?? Responsible leaders would have found a way to give this “extra” money back to the tax payer.

  18. Eyeball ON This
    Jul 10, 2011, 12:15 pm

    Canyon County has more than its share of strange politics and politicians.
    Bankruptcy seems to be a requisite to run for and get elected to office. Tom Dale and Nancolas are simply incompetent but likable people who love spending money on white elephant projects that have no benefit to citizens or the community and are constantly looking for more boondoggle projects that won’t generate a dime of tax revenue. Take a good long look at 15 years of the Idaho Center ops and now we have TVCC in Caldwell (now serving 500 students at huge expense to taxpayers).

    Perhaps if the deciders on how our tax dollars get spent would quit pouring it down rat holes like the Idaho Center and other drains on taxpayers we could enjoy the lower property tax rates of Ada County.

    I have yet to understand why the BIG RED TRUCK goes out on Paramedic/EMT calls. Back in the day the Firemen would have nothing to do with ancillary duties and now they rush to beat the Paramedics to a 911 EMT Call. Take away the EMT calls and their calls for actual fires are near zero over the span of a year.

  19. Hubert Osborne
    Jul 10, 2011, 8:22 pm

    Secrecy at least in Nampa is becoming the norm. Nampa City Council last week held two “special meetings” which were not reported by the Press-Tribune if they even knew about them. Some of the items discussed and voted on were an additional 1% tax on electricity –Idaho Center parking fees which will go into effect on 10/01/11 and $270,000 for new Police cars. Also, they have quit publishing the checkbook online. I guess the city attorne (who works without contract) was embarressed by the revelation that he was paid over $6,000 by the city to sit on the all volunteer group which was trying to hash out the animal shelter with the county. Town Hall meeting announced for July 13 at City Hall on the budget. I hope people come and give them a warm reception.

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