Crisler: We Want Temp Worker Details Now | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Crisler: We Want Temp Worker Details Now

The Jackson City Council Budget Committee asked the Melton administration again Monday to cough up more information on its temporary and contract employees for the 2006-2007 fiscal year (PDF, 592 KB). "We have real basic requests about information concerning employees of the city of Jackson and the salary they made from '06 to '07," said Budget Committee Chairman Marshand Crisler. "I think I was very clear about that. The deadline was Friday, and at this particular moment we have not received that."

"I want to know everybody we're paying, and how much we're paying, and you can get us that and we want that, and we don't even want to debate this anymore," Crisler said of the temporary employee list, which includes many of Melton's mentees and his political operative Bob Hickingbottom, who visibly campaigned for new District Attorney Robert Smith.

Crisler, poised for a showdown, proposed to recess the Monday morning meeting until the Budget Committee received the information. Other committee members convinced Crisler to continue with the meeting, because members of the police department had attended expecting to discuss the police budget.

Chief Administration Officer Robert Walker said the administration had already complied with council information requests.

"The one request I remember is that regarding employees working through temp agencies. We provided that … current through Sept. 6," Walker said. Those two pages only listed the agencies that employ temporary workers on one page and a listing of job titles with the hourly rate on another. The materials did not provide the requested totals paid to the temporary workers over the year, or detail who the temps are.

"We do have that list," replied Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon, "but what we've asked for, on a number of occasions now, was the total temp workers made over the last year, not their hourly rate, but what they actually were paid as temporary or contract workers."

"But we have the hourly wages of temp workers on that list," Walker protested. "It's a simple matter of calculating … traditionally, when you calculate wages on an annual basis you take the hourly salary and multiply that by 28."

Crisler told Walker the number was a bit more complicated: "I appreciate the simplicity of what Mr. Walker says, but it's not that simple. Some people work overtime. Some people work a lot more hours than you care to share with us. We need to know that. We need the total payment that went out to every temporary and contractual employee in the city of Jackson. We don't want you to go over there, and take the hourly wage, and do the math. You ought to have some document showing what every contracted and temporary employee has been paid by this city from '06 to '07. Their names should be here; the date and time should be here. It should be total payment for that employee."

It is believed that hundreds of thousands of dollars have been paid to temporary workers, many hand-picked by Melton, such as Fredrica Brunson (aka Jermaine Bulter) and Michael Taylor, two young men with armed-robbery warrants that the mayor hid from the Hinds County sheriff and the district attorney last year until they were seen on TV at a barbecue at the mayor's North Jackson home, where at least one of them was living.

Walker said the administration would work to provide a more detailed figure to the council. He added that city staff had worked over the weekend to deliver on Jackson Mayor Frank Melton's vow Thursday to produce a revised budget, which would exclude a $2.6 million tax increase, at the 4 p.m. council work session today.

"We have a balanced budget without a tax increase," Walker proclaimed, making no apologies for the four-day delay.

After disowning his own budget last week, Melton boasted to the council on Thursday that he would present the revised, tax-free budget on Friday—though neither he nor the budget made an appearance the next day.

Crisler and the council are aware of the unpopularity of the $2.6 million tax increase, but must come to terms with a $3.4 budget shortfall. Options for closing the budget gap include the tax increase, layoffs, a tax swap, dipping into budget reserves or any combination of the four.
Melton told The Clarion-Ledger last week that his revised budget would contain $1 million in cuts to JATRAN.

With no new budget in hand, Crisler continued the regularly scheduled budget meetings for Monday.

"When the new budget comes in, we'll let the public know that we have an alternative budget, but right now this is the one we're working with," Crisler said, holding the more than 400-page document for the council to see.

Previous Comments

ID
95270
Comment

You think if Jackson City government shuts down, anyone would notice?

Author
Ironghost
Date
2007-09-10T13:21:51-06:00
ID
95271
Comment

Is Robert Walker not a sad sack of potatoes? Prediction - Walker will fall harder then all the other Melton cronies.

Author
pikersam
Date
2007-09-10T13:24:46-06:00
ID
95272
Comment

Criminals? Clearly, those fighting these violent turf wars that have resurfaced of late have noticed that we have an administration that turns its head away from drug-dealing (while they, wink wink, claim to be fighting drugs). I mean, Melton can't even see, apparently, that he was hauling a rolling turf battle around with him on the Mobile Command Center last year. Just what do you think Ridgeway ... oh, never mind.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-10T13:25:20-06:00
ID
95273
Comment

Yeah, I think the results are in: Walker is useless.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-10T13:26:08-06:00
ID
95274
Comment

You think if Jackson City government shuts down, anyone would notice? Yes.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2007-09-10T13:32:16-06:00
ID
95275
Comment

Walker's a former mayor himself who should know firsthand the importance of being accountable to present a balanced budget. I guess I expected more from him as CAO than what I've seen.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2007-09-10T13:56:26-06:00
ID
95276
Comment

Read Adam's Web exclusive above, then this one, posted later. Also, look at this. It starts: The Jackson City Council today recessed budget hearings until 3:30 p.m., when they demanded that administration officials provide them accurate information on the number of contract workers on the city payroll and their annual salaries. This says that Council demanded at 3:30 p.m. It's 3:20 right now. Then look at this sentence: What did not happen was a presentation of Mayor Frank Melton’s proposed 2008 total budget of $387.7 million, revised to take out the $2.6 million tax increase which the mayor promised to remove. No comment. I don't get it.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-10T14:22:17-06:00
ID
95277
Comment

Don't blame Robert Walker. The citizens of Jackson had nothing to do with the hiring of Walker - He is not the Mayor - He is not an elected official. If we are going to include Walker in the blame, then lets add the rest of the former mayors who were all working with frank and during the same period. Jadkson had the following: frank melton - present mayor Dale Danks - former mayor of Jackson Charles Evers - former mayor of Fayetter, MS; and Robert Walker - former mayor of Vicksburg. McLemore had the tie break vote on the acceptance or rejection of the Tem agencies docket. The council knew then that the faces did not match the figures but, rather than call the Wolf Ugly, the bills were paid. Now the Wolf is back to bite the Council in the Butt. Melton treats Walker like a dog. He has said some publicly embarrassing things to him; almost as bad as the things he has said in the past about Stephanie Parker-Weaver. I'm beginning to get the feeling that there is a Charles Manson effect that melton has on his people. They could not be that incompetent and fearful of standing up to him unless they were posessed by him. Who is this stranger we have among us. And by the way, How was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

Author
justjess
Date
2007-09-10T15:03:01-06:00
ID
95278
Comment

Robert Walker appears to be excellent at "stone-walling"!

Author
ChrisCavanaugh
Date
2007-09-10T15:03:03-06:00
ID
95279
Comment

Walker is only the little spider on the wall. melton is that 10 ton ELEPHANT hiding under the green of the pool table that no one can see. Walker does what he is told to do/say. Anything different would result in an automatic firing. Let's not lose sight of the joker in this deck.l

Author
justjess
Date
2007-09-10T15:10:48-06:00
ID
95280
Comment

I'm not blaming Walker, justjess. I don't hold him at fault for this mess any more than I blamed Colin Powell for the lies of Bush's inner circle leading up to the Iraq invasion. Both Walker and Powell appear to be men of integrity who played the good soldier routine for their respective administrations to the detriment of their own reputations.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2007-09-10T15:12:10-06:00
ID
95281
Comment

I agree with that jeff and I guess one will have to decide if keeping his job is more important than keeping his reputation. I watched my father, now deceased, make that choice. Our family suffered for a short period; but, relief came for this man of so much courage and conviction.

Author
justjess
Date
2007-09-10T15:20:06-06:00
ID
95282
Comment

Donna, I think you should go back and read that Clarion Ledger piece again..and help me to understand why I'm reading it differently than you..... The Jackson City Council today recessed budget hearings until 3:30 p.m., when they demanded that administration officials provide them accurate information on the number of contract workers on the city payroll and their annual salaries. It said recessed until 3:30...not recessed at 3:30...am I missing something? And the later speaks to the fact that no budget was presented from Frank's camp...what am I missing so that I can take part in that part of the discussion....

Author
blkokc
Date
2007-09-10T16:11:12-06:00
ID
95283
Comment

It's a basic use-of-language issue, blkokc: until 3:30 p.m., when they demanded That says that they made the demand at 3:30 p.m. They need to rewrite it for clarity, losing the sloppy language, but they don't seem to care about semi-literate sentencees and what they say about our state. It's a shame. They can afford editors who can spot problems like this in two seconds flat. Meantime, look at this massive factual blooper on page 1 today.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-10T16:15:30-06:00
ID
95284
Comment

Robert Walker is just a puppet. Speaking of puppets I thought their are 7 wards in the city where are the puppets from ward 3 4 & 5. Its seems that wards 1 2 6 & 7 are working with Franks budget mess. When the going gets tuff those with small brain power just shuts up. Let some mindless mess come up and the puppets from 3 4 & 5 will be the loud mouths.

Author
linux
Date
2007-09-10T18:59:33-06:00
ID
95285
Comment

I, for one, am anxious to see the complete disclosure of the temp workers -- pay, overtime, length of employment and NAME. Thanks Crisler and Simon for pushing this matter. Read with interest the commentary from Andy Taggart in this morning's C-L. It is time someone pointed out the tremendous support Melton received from the entire State particularly the metro suburbs. A former mayorial candidate, now working for the Governor, was a vocal and visible supporter. Prominent people in the Republican party supported Melton who was running as a Democrat. They should help now in ridding the Capitol City of this plague. I do not see much relief from this disaster called "an administration" without State and/or Federal intervention. The State's intervention must be different from the recent "help" furnished by our Supreme Court!

Author
ChrisCavanaugh
Date
2007-09-11T06:24:40-06:00
ID
95286
Comment

When you analyze some of the temp positions, you have to question the pay scale. Some of these jobs could possibly be filled with part-time student help (real students, not career criminals) or volunteers. Are they really looking to trim payroll? And I don't care how much you threaten the public about paying fines, you will not generate enough revenue quickly enough to fill in any budget shortfalls - short term, quick fixes for a serious problem.... enuf already....plzzz

Author
lanier77
Date
2007-09-11T08:18:40-06:00
ID
95287
Comment

I see frankie has a new "plan" to solve the budget crisis. Ooooooo.... What a genius. His plan involves locking up people until they pay their fines. Hmmm...with jail space we don't already have, staffed by officers we also don't have. Hmmm... Spend a dollar to make a nickel, huh frankie? To say nothing of the legal issues involved, becuase after all, frankie said they'll be locked up until they pay their fines. Right frankie. Pure genius I'll bet there'll be nobody locked up, because as usual, he's really talking out of his------- Ya know.

Author
Cliff Cargill
Date
2007-09-11T11:42:59-06:00
ID
95288
Comment

frank said it three times during his meeting with the Council a week ago, "I AM NOT A FINANCE MAN, I AM NOT A FINANCE MAN, I AM NOT A FINANCE MAN." Yet, he was able to order the presented budget thrown in the trash and promised to do one himself and overnight. Needless to say, It didn't happen. Cliff Cargill, you are so right on the issue about the financial fall-out of putting people in jail. Maybe he will carry all of the parking ticket violators to the fair grounds and have his dog watch them. Is this a mess or what?

Author
justjess
Date
2007-09-11T12:37:16-06:00
ID
95289
Comment

Walker's a former mayor himself who should know firsthand the importance of being accountable to present a balanced budget. I guess I expected more from him as CAO than what I've seen. It's amazing how a fat pay-check can cause some people (working for the city of Jackson) to just roll over and sell their souls to the devil. Sad. Truly sad.

Author
blu_n_a_redstate
Date
2007-09-11T13:02:31-06:00
ID
95290
Comment

Will some please FOIA this information? As long as the employee's employment records are not included in the file, it is up for FOIA grabs (otherwise it's considered personnel matters which are shielded from FOIA requests). Heck, I'll do it from several states away. Other items I'd love to see the sun: a very thorough examination of the campaign records from the recent DA and Ward races. MS campaign law is a little strange to me (compared to most states which generally have codified similar rules), but I'd bet someone $10 that at least ONE candidate misfiled or misreported information, whether intentionally or otherwise. emsy

Author
emsy
Date
2007-09-11T14:03:08-06:00
ID
95291
Comment

His plan involves locking up people until they pay their fines. Hmmm...with jail space we don't already have, staffed by officers we also don't have. Hmmm... Spend a dollar to make a nickel, huh frankie? Where was this aggression to arrest people last year on drug charges? And why wait until a budget crisis to get people to pay their fines? They should've announced this year this summer (if not sooner) some sort of amnesty plan that would allow people to pay their fines. Maybe we wouldn't be in this budget mess now.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2007-09-11T15:25:33-06:00
ID
95292
Comment

**“But we have the hourly wages of temp workers on that list,” Walker protested. “It’s a simple matter of calculating … traditionally, when you calculate wages on an annual basis you take the hourly salary and multiply that by 28.”** <-- 7th paragraph of story Walker probably said or meant to say 'twenty-eighty', meaning 2080 regular hours in a year (8 hrs x 5 days x 52 wks).

Author
Kacy
Date
2007-09-11T17:21:57-06:00
ID
95293
Comment

But Crisler's response was right on target.

Author
Kacy
Date
2007-09-11T17:22:57-06:00
ID
95294
Comment

I guess none of these guys got sick or left work early?

Author
pikersam
Date
2007-09-11T17:52:48-06:00
ID
95295
Comment

"Maybe he will carry all of the parking ticket violators to the fair grounds and have his dog watch them. Is this a mess or what?" Yup. The sad thing is, the dog could do a better job. But really. Round em' up? Sounds like one of frankie's "plans" to me; so well thought out too.

Author
Cliff Cargill
Date
2007-09-11T17:54:58-06:00
ID
95296
Comment

I think the lack of jail space could be addressed by some calls to the private prison systems. The prospect of serving time in Minnesota or Michigan would probably lead to a revitalization of civic responsibility. In a former life I spent some winters in Minnesota ( -43 degrees).

Author
Slider
Date
2007-09-11T23:50:49-06:00
ID
95297
Comment

Did anyone catch the news on Channel 3 last night when frank said that he was going to get to the bottom of what happened to the money. He said there were some mistakes made and that it goes back to the budget from 1999. It never fails. frank tried to include Former Mayor Johnson in all of his messes. I hope that the citizens are duked again into becieving that frank's problems are secondary to things he inherited from previous administrations. Former Mayor Johnson had at least a week for "Amnesty" for citizens who had outstanding tickets/fines. If you paid during a cretain period, you would not be charged court fees or penalties. Doesn't this sound more appealing than threatening to garnish someone's check or put them in jail.?

Author
justjess
Date
2007-09-12T12:34:50-06:00
ID
95298
Comment

And another thing, Are the Council members afraid of frank? Stokes, Chrisler, McLemore and Simone were there during this period. Why would they let frank get away with accusing them of not being balanced or better still, setting them up to be accused of stealing money.

Author
justjess
Date
2007-09-12T12:39:05-06:00
ID
95299
Comment

Hey look let me speak to that amnesty thing....for years I have felt like that was just a set up to get folks downtown to lock em up....REALLY! So is there anyone on here who can tell me that they went down during this certain and their tickets were taken care of and they did not meet any other legal issues there? All I need is one believer...that's all...one person who has benefited from this AMNESTY DAY!!!! JUST ONE!

Author
Queen601
Date
2007-09-12T15:37:21-06:00
ID
95300
Comment

The city council really let the citizens down on this one.We all know that the mess in the budget is in Franks camp.2 bodyguards on duty 25/7.All manner of folks on the payroll who are just getting a check.I would have liked to see the mayors office trim the staff it has.To put the burdon on citizens with a water/sewer increase is so sad. We are footing the bill for frankie and the boys to play around some more.How can you expect folks to pay more to get less.I feel so let down by govt.

Author
GRNY1
Date
2007-09-16T17:28:01-06:00
ID
95301
Comment

Queen601, I'm one of those who participated in amnesty day and I know several others who did also. It was a matter paying the tickets and that was the end, no policeman waiting to handcuff you, no jail time, no fees or any other hindden agenda. Surely if something other than paying the tickets was done, they would have had it on the front page of the Clarion Ledger. The Ledger make small of everything FM does (and he has done plenty of screwed up things) and under the Johnson administration it was just the opposite. Everything was blown out of proportion and misinterpreted.

Author
maad
Date
2007-09-17T09:38:54-06:00
ID
95302
Comment

Sorry, that's hidden agenda.

Author
maad
Date
2007-09-17T09:41:03-06:00
ID
95303
Comment

Folks, does anyone know how people can check to see if they have an outstanding fine before the cops show up at the door (being that they have nothing better to do)?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-17T09:44:01-06:00
ID
95304
Comment

call municipal court.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2007-09-17T10:00:14-06:00

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