Monday, May 18, 2015

Goverment Access TV

Last week at TM, I made a resolution that stated the Assistant Town Manager direct the Media Services Manager to make availble ALL government recorded shows on the Town's web site via "on demand". The reolution also calls for the Media Services manger to produce and air shows that are comparable  to cable industry standards in sound, lighting and production quality. The resoltuion also directs the Media Services manager to stop producing and airing non goveremntal shows and to tkae down shows that have nothing to do with goveremnt meetings.

As of today, the wishes of the vast majority of Town Meetings members who voted for the resolution have been ignored. The airing of the Town Meetings are the wrong size for TV. It appears that the other recorded shows like the Planning board, ZBA, Disability commission and BOS are shot with HD cameras, thus the broadcast picture fits the TV screen well, but not Town Meeting.

Now that Goveremnt Access has a HD channel (99), anything shot in Standard definition has to be converted over to HD to fit the TV screen at home.  Cable subscribers deserve the best quality programming possible and it's certainly within the media service responsibility to do so.

Framingham Fire answers the question of sick time/overtime

In a Ways and Means meeting in early April with the FFD I asked
about the overtime and the sick time, as I have in the past and like
the past, FFD never answered the question. So when the FFD budget
came up at TM, I had to ask for the numbers, which were just given
 to me on Friday May 15th.

Their overtime is over 1 million dollars while their sick time has
come down it's still the driving force in overtime. Each employee
is taking around 6 days a year. The private sector sick day average
 is around 4 days a year.

                                                     2013                2014           2015

Academy Training                         1974             4910             2274
Compensatory Time                      2606             2236             2230
Family Leave (unpaid)                    14                   15                 16
Sick Leave                                  15020            12324           11422
Injury Time (Worker's Comp)         7417             3756            4444
               Approximate Days (using 12 hour shifts)                 
Academy Training                         165              409               190
Compensatory Time                      217               186              186
Family Leave (unpaid)                     1                    1                  1
Sick Leave                                    1252            1027             952
Injury Time (Worker's Comp)        618              313              370

Last week at TM

So we approved lots of spending in the capital budget, 6 million for Loring and more DPW vehicles than most communities even have. The one that I opposed the most was a vacuum cleaner mounted on a 10 wheeler. They say it's past it's useful life, with some corrosion on the tank. I say, it's not justified.
The schools need computers is without question, but they better get the level 3 schools up to par or next year someone will have to answer to many at Town Meeting.

Next Tuesday, we scrutinize the operating budget, Art 15. While some tend to believe we have sacred cows, like Public Safety, I plan to ask the FFD to produce the answers to my questions of sick time, FMLA, personal days and military time off. I asked the FFD the questions in early April at a Ways and Means meeting with the FFD. They of coarse said they would get me the numbers, but just like the past 2 years, they've chosen not to comply. With a budget of over 1 million dollars in overtime, one might expect lots of fires, natural disasters and even terrorism in Framingham, but thats just not the case.  Correlating sick time to overtime is what I need to reveal to Town Meeting as I believe sick time is being abused, which causes an increase in overtime.

I plan to stand against the purchase of 30 tazers at a cost of 54,000.00. I will make the case that tazers are not non lethal and in deed have been the cause of 635 deaths in this country. There have been numerous law suits, wrongful death and excessive force settlements and Tazer now has re-branded itself and is toting tazers are less lethal. All of this matters to the Town's tax payers as we will see shortly when the court will rule in favor of the Stamps family and award then a much larger settlement than anyone would have thought. I will present factual information to TM. Like the fact that Boston does not uses tazers, tazers are banned in many countries around the world and some states like NJ have stopped using them. The bottom line for TM will be... do we roll the dice and hope no one dies or is seriously injured and sues the Town after being tazed?

On a related subject, last year I asked the Chief if the Towns police department tazers officers in training and he said yes. I was prepared to make hey over that, but the Chief in his wisdom has indicated to me that they have stopped doing that. I'm impressed with his forward thinking.

The other component to the Police budget is the amount of sick time and how it relates to the over 1 million dollars in OT. I give the Chief a lot of credit for his transparency in answering my questions about sick time. And I believe he understands how it looks when his department takes off 1055 days last year. All of this while almost 40 officers make over 100,000 bucks a year. While we heard for the past few years, if they hired more cops, OT would go down, because they could back fill the absentees. That has not happened and in fact, crime has dropped again in this town, as in the country and the need to hire more cops is just not justified any longer.