Dilligence

At Monday’s meeting of the City Council’s budget and finance committee, Budget Officer Joe Maestretti said the Police Department, which was $88,000 over budget in the first quarter but was expected to make budget by year’s end, had reduced overtime in the first quarter by 33 percent over the same period last year.

“They’re doing a really good job,” Maestretti said.

The Fire Department was not doing so well, spending about $1.4 million over budget in the first quarter and expecting the deficit to increase.

“They cannot meet their budget?” Councilman Dale Fritchen said.

Maestretti said, “Correct.”

Deputy City Manager Laurie Montes came on then to explain that the settlement agreement between the council and Stockton Professional Firefighters Local 456 last month was for far less in concessions than the council had hoped when it passed its fiscal 2009-10 spending plan (that budget relied on $7.2 million in uncertain concessions). The council knew that when it settled with the union last month.

Still, interim City Manager Kevin O’Rourke was sensitive to Fritchen’s frustration (and, likely, to the political implications of the council’s expectation on fire falling short). O’Rourke said it might be helpful to make a public report on the difficulties of controlling costs when labor contracts rule.

“It’s not like you’re not doing your due dilligence,” he said.

O’Rourke said the same of staff.

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