Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Monetary compensation for Springfield's new city manager

Base pay with city: $195,000 Occupational Series pay, a 2 percent boost for certain city employees to upgrade pay due to a salary survey: $3,900 Car allowance, regardless of use: $5,160 Deferred compensation, which is an unmatched city contribution toward a 401(k)-like retirement fund: $15,500 LAGERS pension contribution: $36,796 Paid life-term insurance: $1,000
Standard employee health insurance: $4,584
Total cost, annually: $261,940
Current base pay at Missouri State University: $126,223

Burris plans to seek vote on sales tax to solve police-firefighters pension shortfall

Wes Johnson • News-Leader • September 9, 2008


He won’t start the job until Monday.

His salary still hasn't been approved by a vote of the people such is required by the city charter, I guess another "emergency" will exist in this vote.

But Springfield City manager Greg Burris already plans to seek a sales tax vote early next year to deal with a huge shortfall in the pension system for city police and firefighters.

A termite with minimal education knew this was coming.

In an interview with the News-Leader, Burris called the $140 million pension shortfall “the 800-pound gorilla” in the city’s budget, and a problem that has to be solved soon.

Mr. Burris has been a member of this community for how long ?? Never seen nor heard him mention anything about this issue, considering it has been being ignored for a decade.

His game plan: Putting a sales tax referendum before Springfield voters ahead of next spring’s budget deliberations.

Why not the (m)asses have shown they will fall for anything.

“I know that this is a problem that only gets worse every day we’re not fixing it,” Burris said. “And we’ve got to fix it quickly, so, yeah, before April.”

$26,000 a day by the figures I've seen.

And if voters say no?

“Then we know that what we’ve got ahead of us are massive budget cuts, which equate into massive service cuts,” Burris said.

The scare tactics are being deployed already, prepare for this as it will only get worse the closer to election time.

“So again it goes back to that issue — we’ve got to determine what kind of city we want to be, and this is going to be a bellwether moment for the city.”

This has already been determined by those serving on city council. We are a city of parks and to hell with those serving the citizenry such as police and fire. Again isn't Mr. Burris a long time resident of this city ?

Burris, 46, will waste no time transitioning from his job as a vice president at Missouri State University to Springfield city manager.

I'm quite surprised he waited this long, I mean after all everyone knew when his name was in the final three that he would be the ONE.

After 25 years at MSU, Friday will be his last day. More than 200 MSU employees gave him a farewell sendoff Tuesday afternoon.

Asked why he won’t take any time off, Burris said “that’s not true.”

“I’m taking a Saturday and a Sunday,” he said.

He wasn’t being flippant.

Burris said the lack of a break between jobs is an indication of how seriously he takes finding a solution to the pension issue.

It wasn't that important when he wasn't being paid to speak about it, now it is a priority. Funny how 200K will change the minds of men.

“Because the pension issue needs to be addressed so quickly, I couldn’t look myself in the mirror and say I could take five days off while this thing looms,” Burris said. “Knowing we’re going to try to get something before voters in the near future, those five days may become critical. We’re on a short time line.”

It wasn't important until he got the position, this speaks volumes about the man.

As he’s said in the past, Burris believes Springfield residents will only support a sales tax hike for the police/fire pension if it has a sunset clause — and only if it truly fixes the problem.

The sunset clause is a HOAX, the management of this city will convince voters that the money should be used for furthering development of the city and since it isn't a NEW tax.....

“I don’t think the citizens are going to stand for us to develop something and come back five years later and say ‘OK, we’ve got a problem again,’” Burris said. “It’s got to be a total solution.”

Why not ? much of the citizenry sleeps while Nero fiddles.

It’s unclear how much of a sales tax increase will be proposed.

Anything less than a half percent would be a WASTE of time.

A pension expert the city hired has said a 1 cent sales tax increase could bring the pension to solvency within three years.

This is only HALF a sentence, the portion they left off goes as follows; if the city of Springfield maintains the current level of revenue generated and collected on the sales tax.

A half-cent sales tax would do the same in eight years, while a quarter-cent sales tax would take 19 years.

See above once more half a sentence.

At a recent pension presentation, Assistant Fire Chief David Hall said the sales tax should automatically end when the retirement plan reached a 90 percent funding level.

With numerous conversations with Mr. Hall, he wants this mandated however it will be redirected into another fund that would benefit the city, see above where I already answered this.

At that point, interest from invested pension funds should be enough to sustain it without additional sales tax revenue, Hall said.

This once again is half a sentence because if the pension fund fails to meet projections during this time frame we could still be in the same place. Also don't forget the city also needs to MAINTAIN funding the obligatory portion promised these men and women.

Burris said city taxpayers won’t be the only ones asked to help save the pension fund.

Your right because those visiting the city will also be paying for this as well.

“All the stakeholders are going to have to have skin in the game,” he said.

“Maybe part of a package solution is one where everybody is contributing — police and fire contribute a little more, the city is contributing more, taxpayers are contributing a little more — and we can identify some time range that this solution will sunset after X number of years.”

Excuse me how many times are we going to screw over the police and fire department personnel ??

Several city council members said Burris was on the right track with a sales tax referendum.

SEVERAL ??? Don't you mean ALL

“I couldn’t agree more,” said Councilman Gary Deaver.

We knew this before you opened your mouth.

“I was concerned this year when we scraped together an additional $5.2 million to make that full pension payment,” Deaver said. “But we’d have to do that 28 to 30 years in a row — with favorable economic times — to make whole the pension fund.”

Haven't you served since the beginning of this fiasco ?? Suddenly your concerned as well.

Deaver said he hopes voters will support a sales tax to fund the pension, which would allow the city to get out of the job of managing a pension fund.

Of course you would, since we already funded it once. Imagine those in charge of the city actually taking some responsibility for the problem they created.

Burris would like to roll the police/fire fund into the state-managed LAGERS pension plan, which has had significantly better investment returns than the city’s pension fund.

I seem to recall a time where the pension was funded enough to do this, however with a LACK of management promises were made that left the taxpayer on the hook for a MASSIVE amount of $$$$.

“But we can’t get out of ours until it’s fully funded,” he said.

Councilman Doug Burlison said he wants to see more details about Burris’ plan, but supported the sales tax concept.

No I'm not surprized

Burlison, however, said he wouldn’t back any suggestion that police and firefighters contribute more into the fund.

Careful he's flexing his back bone.

“Police and fire have been contributing ‘skin in the game’ when others haven’t,” he said, referring to the council’s decisions not to make full pension contributions in recent years.

“The police and fire folks are not going to like that at all, nor should they.”

Despite that conflict, Burlison said he admired Burris’ decision to tackle the pension problem “head on.”

$200K will make people do something they thought NOT important just a few months ago

Cindy Rushefsky, the only council person to vote against hiring Burris, said she would back a pension sales tax vote.

See I said ALL of them were in favor of a sales tax.

“A sales tax is the only way we’re going to get out of this problem, depending on what his sales tax proposal is,” she said. “The pension fund needs to be fully funded as quickly as possible, but it also needs safeguards so that this can’t happen again.”

This once more is a red herring since I see NO willingness on behalf of the city to restructure anything to alleviate some of the peoples burden.

Rushefsky voted against Burris’ hiring because he lacked city manager experience.

She was the only intelligent one present that day the vote took place.

However, she has been encouraged by Burris’ efforts.

Remember that 200K ??

“I’m very pleased with what I’ve seen so far,” Rushefsky said. “He’s talking to people, going to places and events ahead of time to learn about them. I’m encouraged by that.”

He is only listening to those that he has been counseled to listen to.

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