Next APT MEETING
Thursday, June 20, 2013 at the Portsmouth Public Library
MacLeod Board Room
JOIN the APT. Send your name, adress and phone number to:
Next APT MEETING
Thursday, June 20, 2013 at the Portsmouth Public Library
MacLeod Board Room
JOIN the APT. Send your name, adress and phone number to:
Select a year and find out! Click HERE to go the tax calculator. (Note: Future tax calculations do not take into account changes in city and state revenues.)
This CAN happen with your help. With the bad economy now entering its fifth year, taxpayers are under increasing financial pressure with stagnating incomes, rising taxes, skyrocketing healthcare expenses, food and fuel inflation, and savings that yield almost nothing.
Send a message to your city councilors. It’s time to push back!
KEY BUDGET POINTS:
- Local Inflation (Consumer Price Index for Boston, Brockton, Nashua). 2011 average local inflation was 2.7%. ONCE AGIAN, the city continues to spend at almost double the rate of inflation, the total city budget reflects an increase of $4.1 million, or 4.73 percent, over this year’s (2012) spending level. a majority of people in the USA still feel like we are in recession – Like Vice President Biden - who speaks for the unemployed. According to USA today March, 9 2012, most wealthy americans feel we are still in recession.
- The great majority of the budget is labor related costs. 2011 wages paid to city employees (not including the school department) can be found here. Top tier school employees wages can be found here. These are only the wages paid to employees. They do NOT include health benefit costs. They do not include hefty contributions the city pays to prop up the $3.5 BILLION! unfunded liabilities of the NH Retirement System for pensions. In 2011, the city (Employer Rate) paid 10.7%-24.69% of wages to the NHRS.
|Above is the Portion of the Budget the majority of city councilors control and increased. Continue reading|
“The amount of activity the Portsmouth Police Department (PPD) handles is very low, and does not justify either the current levels of staffing or overtime.”
Mayor Steve Marchand – 2005 Continue reading
If you feel your property was not fairly assessed, Continue reading
Click HERE for Tax Pledge
Since June 2010, the APT has been tracking the Portsmouth city council on selected votes that directly affect taxes Continue reading
Click HERE for FY 2012 BIG PIE CHART – See where your money is going. This is information you will not see anywhere presented in such an easy to see manner.
California example of a biased study:
When Palo Alto officials asked for an independent study of Fire Department staffing, they had no idea the analysis would be performed by a veteran firefighter who belongs to the International Association of Fire Chiefs Continue reading
The APT does it’s best to correct inaccurate city data, to keep local government honest and to provide credible sourced information for the public.
1) A new Portsmouth Patrolmans Union contract [Accessed Sept. 14, 2011, contract vanished from city site Sept. 28, 2011] was attempted to be jammed through with days notice to the public (contracts are held from public examination until a contract is released by city management according to city protocol). The APT successfully petitioned for more time until Sept. 19th 2011 for citizens to understand the contract – See HERE). Sept. 19th 2011 this new Patrolmans contract was voted down 5-4.
2) The Portsmouth Patrolmans Union contract expired in 2008, however often occurring automatic raises (step raises) were still paid. As of Sept. 25, 2011, the APT has found no evidence that step raises or other contract items were paid with any official council vote authorization. A letter to the city has been drafted seeking an explanation.
3) According to the September 13, 2011 Herald article HERE [Accessed Sept. 18, 2011], Police Chief Ferland said “the patrol officers received no pay increases in fiscal years 2009 through 2011″. However, a simple check with their base pay in the online budgets shows his statement to be incorrect. Clearly, the officers have received pay increases during this time period.
LOOK at the officers’ BUDGETED pay below. (Please note that their true gross pay paid by the city is often much higher than budgeted pay (also known as base pay). Go HERE to see the 2010 gross wages paid. [Accessed Sept. 18, 2011]). In public union speak these raises in pay are called STEPS – in the private sector we call these automatic raises.
No matter what you call it, their pay has increased.
WIDERSTROM, E. FY09 $44,434 in FY11 $48,478
KOZLOWSKI, A. FY09 $45,873 in FY11 $48,478
MERCER, N. FY09 $45,873 in FY11 $48,478
RAIZES, C FY09 $47,737 in FY11 $48,492
BESON, E FY09 $44,434 in FY11 $48,478
JACQUES, D. FY09 $47,404 in FY11 $48,492
GOODWIN, A. FY09 $47,737 in FY11 $48,679
DUBOIS, W. FY09 $48,478 in FY11 $49,392
MEYER, C. FY09 $48,478 in FY11 $49,690
MCCAIN, T. FY09 $48,478 in FY11 $49,690
KEAVENY, D. FY09 $48,478 in FY11 $49,690
LUKACZ, R FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 *
KIBERD, C. FY09 $49,056 in FY11 $49,690
KINSMAN, E. FY09 $49,061 in FY11 $49,690
JONES, R. FY09 $49,434 in FY11 $49,690
NOURY,J FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 *
EVANS,S. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 *
BOUCHER FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 *
PEARL,S. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 *
WASSOUF,A. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 *
STUDY,S. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $50,321
SHELDON, P. FY09 $50,321 in FY11 $50,321
LECLAIR,M. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $53,417
STACY, A. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $53,417
OUTHOUSE, D. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $53,417
MUNSON, R. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $53,417
AUBIN, J FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $63,442 (MADE Ranking Officer)
MALONEY, M. FY09 $51,640 in FY11 $68,093 (MADE Ranking Officer)
CUMMINGS, C. FY09 $51,783 in FY11 $63,993 (MADE Ranking Officer)
BLACK, T. FY09 $52,930 in FY11 $54,700
WEBB, R. FY09 $53,417 in FY11 $54,886
BENTZ, E. FY09 $53,417 in FY11 $54,886
HESTER, M. FY09 $53,417 in FY11 $54,886
KOTSONIS, M. FY09 $53,417 in FY11 $54,886
PERACCHI JR, J. FY09 $53,417 in FY11 $54,886
CASHMAN, T. FY09 $54,129 in FY11 $54,886
HESTER, R. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 *
COLBY, D FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 *
NEWPORT, M. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 *
SIRR, K. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $64,593 (MADE Ranking Officer)
ROGERS-BERNIER, K. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 *
ROTH, C. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $63,614
GRELLA, T. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 *
BRABAZON, R. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 *
WILLIAMS, G. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 *
SOURCES: http://www.cityofportsmouth.com/finance/fy09/police.pdf p. 151-152 AND http://www.cityofportsmouth.com/finance/fy11/police.pdf p. 163 [Accessed Sept. 18, 2011]
So, this clearly demonstrates that EVERY officer received a pay raise in the form of automatic pay raises unions call steps or by being made to a ranking officer. The only officer who’s pay was lower than budgeted pay was NOURY, J – who appears not to have worked a full year. This is not explained in budgets. NOURY, J is listed for FY12 budgeted pay at $52,055 – another raise from FY11′s of $49,690.
Now, lets go over the * officers. These officers were, in FY09, at the top of their pay grade. In other words, they do not get any more automatic raises as patrol officers. However, let us take a look at the something many citizens are unaware of many of our city employees. They can make far more than what their base pay is. This is accomplished by many of the goodies provided in contracts.
So let’s go over the officers with the * and see how they made far more more money than their base pay. You can find the total amount paid to them by the city here for 2010 YTD.
LUKACZ, R FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $61,205.97
NOURY,J FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $40,469.38
EVANS,S. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $59,652.87
BOUCHER FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $74,343.28
PEARL,S. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $64,665.63
WASSOUF,A. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $56,043.97
HESTER, R. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $63,973.61
COLBY, D FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $66,722.20
NEWPORT, M. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $99,002.41
GRELLA, T. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $68,196.17
BRABAZON, R. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $85,016.19
WILLIAMS, G. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $101,278.84
For the source of the figures above for 2010 YTD, see HERE. [Accessed Sept. 18, 2011]
For immediate release.
The city has approximately $250,000 in contingency money which is designated for use under emergency situations. In an unprecedented move, the Portsmouth Fire Department has decided to request these emergency funds to augment the budget submitted in 2011 – essentially for salary increases to already highly generously paid city employees. There has been no unexpected nor emergent change to warrant using these crucial funds to increase the fire budget. It would be an irresponsible precedent to allow a city leader to change his budget midstream without a significant event that necessitates the use of three fifths of the city’s emergency funds.
In 1993 the third fire station was created after the city acquired Pease land and facilities. The population of Portsmouth in 1990 was 25,925 and the city was served by 2 fire stations. We now have 3 fire stations to serve a population of 21,233. The addition of the third station caused the creation of 4 firefighter jobs and 4 fire lieutenants to serve 4 shifts, as per the 93/94 budget. Since the time that that the third station was created Portsmouth has had a lower ratio of firefighters to officers. In 1995 the fire department was allocated 9.1 percent of the city budget. Today the fire department is allocated 10 percent per the city reports. Even with this increased portion of the budget it’s the fire chief who is asking for more and reneging on his acceptance of the 2012 budget. The Portsmouth Fire Department has had the highest increases of any department – well over DOUBLE inflation over the past 15 years (1995/96-2009/10). From 1995/96-2009/10, the Fire department budget (mostly salary/personnel costs) went UP 112%. Inflation for these same years was 47%.
Portsmouth is one of the most densely allocated departments in the state with 3 stations for 16 Sq. miles of land. For example Concord, NH has approximately 1 station for every 16 square miles of its 64 square miles of land and has twice the population of Portsmouth and similar daytime population growth. Portsmouth further expanded the capacity of its stations with the construction of the new station 2 on Lafayette Road in 2010. The Portsmouth Fire department has seen tremendous growth and substantial community support as the population decreases.
Given the response times and distance by fire department around the state, Portsmouth meets or exceeds the standards of the majority of other communities even when it uses only its two larger stations.
The campaign to increase the budget by suggesting that the city residents need to learn CPR because of the closing of a station that was added during a time of higher local population was unfortunate. CPR and other first aid skills are needed at all times. The recent actions of a worker at a local gym that saved the life of a client happened within a short distance of stations 1 and 2. The fact is that no matter how close a fire and rescue station is that it’s often the onsite citizen with the emergency skill set who makes the crucial difference. It’s a shame that this skillset was spun as necessary due to the brownout of station 3 rather than something each citizen in every district should strive to learn as a citizen first responder. It’s also disturbing to find out that the overstated ISO standards seemingly have little to do with most insurance rates and the taxpayer funded improvements to station 2 are ignored.
Portsmouth is becoming a different community. The typical NH working class worker who lived in Puddledock in the 1960’s and 1970’s is disappearing, being replaced by families in subsidized housing as others leave the city when they can no longer afford to live here. The regressive water/sewer costs in the city have upended working families’ budgets and their ability to pay the high property taxes.
We should not be using emergency funds to augment capricious budgets without emergent situations. Management changing their minds about their budget is not an emergency; it is a failure of public leadership to properly manage their department and the audacity to ask for more.
The APT is seeking information on the individual member contributions of Portsmouth’s top 20 pension recipients. NH Right to know law requires NH government to provide information immediately or within 5 working days in most cases. Transparency delayed is transparency denied. Currently the NH Retirement System has stated it will provide the information or a progress update 2 months and 16 days after it received the information request (doubtfully sooner based on the past). Here is an ongoing history of efforts to get this information:
RE: Request for amounts paid into the NH Pension system by Portsmouth’s top 20 pensioners.
Enclosed is the NHRS employer and member contribution rates since 1970. The APT is requesting what the each of the following top Portsmouth 20 pensioners contributed in to the NH Retirement System. Note, we are not looking for what the city contributed, only what the public employee paid under their member rate of the NHRS. As the NHRS can return money to members with a 8.5% rate, we expect this information to be available on an individual basis.
Below are Portsmouth’s top 20 annuitants, with the date the benefit was effective and the plan:
To be specific, an example of the information we are looking for would like like:
Name Total amount member paid into the NHRS
Michael J. Magnant $200,000
William A. Irving $142,000
William D Mortimer $130,000
And so on.
The following individuals we seek this information on are are below.
|Michael J. Magnant||11/1/2009 – Police||$121,334.88|
|William A. Irving||5/1/2008 – Police||$93,479.04|
|William D. Mortimer||3/1/1988 – Police||$92,704.44|
|Leonard E. DiSesa||11/1/2009 – Police||$90,848.64|
|Vassilios Pamboukes||1/1/2008 – Fire||$87,246.96|
|John M. Yerardi||6/1/2008 – Police||$86,611.38|
|Michael J. Ronchi||10/1/2007 – Police||$85,957.38|
|David M. Young||3/1/2006 – Police||$83,257.08|
|Robert J. Lister||7/1/2009 – Emloyee, Ports. School District||$82,613.16|
|Janet Champlin||1/1/2009 – Police||$82,376.76|
|Robin N. Burdick||7/1/2009 – Teacher, Ports. SD||$77,869.44|
|Diane Tibbetts||1/1/2003 – Police||$76,500.42|
|Bradley J. Russ||2/1/2003 – Police||$75,294.42|
|Frank S. Ott||8/1/2003 – Fire||$74,531.10|
|Kevin M. Semprini||2/1/2005 – Police||$73,150.62|
|James E. Coughenour||9/1/2008 – Fire||$72,099.12|
|Adam H. Price||2/1/2002 – Police||$71,690.58|
|Paul A. Famulari||4/1/2000 – Police||$67,357.38|
|Dante P. Puopolo||11/1/2009 – Police||$64,392.48|
|Colleen R. Franzoso||5/1/2007 – Employee -||$62,953.56|
Mark Brighton, APT President
Public Information Officer
NH Retirement System, 54 Regional Drive, Concord, NH 03301
A reply was finally sent on Feb. 17, 2012 answering the Dec 9th request.
ASSOCIATION OF PORTSMOUTH TAXPAYERS TO PUSH FOR PENSION REFORM
PORTSMOUTH – The Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers (APT) will be sending letters to city and government officials requesting information on public employee pensions in order to study how these compare to private sector pensions. For example, how much did a public employee put into the pension system and what return are they receiving. “It is good practice for public officials to provide this information so taxpayers are aware of what they are paying for – particularly when big disparities between the public and private sectors exist.” stated APT President Mark Brighton.
According to Steven Greenhut, director of the Pacific Research Institute Journalism Center regarding California public pensions, in an interview linked to on the APT site, www.PortsmouthTaxpayers.com, “The public is getting angry because we see the disparity… they are also seeing depleted public services having to be cut back… these are essentially millionaires’ pensions for public employees because those in the private sector would need to have millions of dollars in the bank to have an equivalent pension,”. APT President Mark Brighton stated “Reaching an understanding of how public pensions compare to private sector ones is becoming a critical issue in many places.”.
The Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to advocating for Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s community: its taxpayers and all residents. APT believes that tightly controlled spending is necessary – regardless of current economic conditions – to keep Portsmouth affordable, reduce waste, and deliver better value to its taxpayers.
Steven Greenhut Discusses California Government Pensions - “The public is getting angry because we see the disparity…… they are also seeing depleted public services having to be cut back….. These are essentially millionaires’ pensions for public employees because those in the private sector would need to have millions of dollars in the bank to have an equivilant pension.” Steven Greenhut
Click HERE for the contribution rates public employees put into the NH pension system.
Top 20 Portsmouth pensioners HERE