Tag Archives: Ann-Marie Hogan
The Berkeley City Council special session on the $310 million — or higher — unfunded liability on promised employee benefits revealed the difficult choices faced by the city.
A presentation by budget manager Teresa Berkeley-Simmons made the root of the problem clear. The California Public Employee Retirement System (Calpers) assumed annual investment returns of 7.75%. The crash of the Great Recession in 2008 meant that returns in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009 were negative 24%, producing an annual loss against assumptions of 31.75%. For Berkeley’s city employees, that has produced investment losses of $200 million.
“We can’t grow our way out of this,” Berkeley-Simmons said.
“Even if Calpers gets 7.75% forever now, they have lost $200 million on which we’ll never get 7.75%,” explained City Auditor Ann-Marie Hogan.
City Manager Phil Kamlarz said the money to close the gap has to come from either increased contributions or a reduction in cash available for city services, or some combination of the two. Long term, the gap can be closed by reduced benefits for new employees, but that does little in the short and medium term.
“Rather than cut services, people are asking employees to contribute more,” said Mayor Tom Bates. “That’s the path we have to go down. People will need to start contributing more. It’s unfortunate, but they’re lucky to have a job.” … Continue reading »
Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan plans to tell the city council tonight that, after a five year delay, the department is working quickly to address problems in its evidence room.
All the problems identified during an outside investigation in 2006 should be remedied by the end of May, according to Meehan, who expressed chagrin at the delay.
“It should not have taken this long,” said Meehan. “We have no reason for it. There is no excuse for it.”
In 2006, Berkeley Police Sgt Cary Kent admitted that he had been stealing narcotics from the evidence room he oversaw. He resigned from the department and was later convicted of grand theft.
The police chief at the time, Doug Hambleton, asked the California Commission on Peace Office Standards and Training (POST) to review evidence room procedures. The group identified 18 deficiencies.
City Auditor Ann-Marie Hogan took a look in 2010 at the progress made toward correcting the deficiences. Her report, which she will present tonight, concluded that the police department had only taken minimal steps toward fixing the problems.
But Meehan, who became police chief in December 2009, said he recently accelerated the process and the department has made major progress since Hogan’s report was released. While the audit, finished in December 2010, said the department had only completed three of the 18 suggestions made by the POST report, (Hogan increased that number to six as of last Friday,) about 45% of the suggestions have actually been carried out. The rest should be finished by May, said Meehan.
City employees who want to get sex-change surgery may soon get funds for the operation from their employer.
The City Council will consider tonight setting aside $20,000 a year to assist those who want to change their genders. The money will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
In order to be eligible for the funds, city employees will have had to “successfully lived and worked within the desired gender role full time for at least 12 months (real life … Continue reading »
Five years after a sergeant from the Berkeley police department stole drugs out of the evidence and property room, prompting a series of investigations, the department has only taken minimal steps to improve the situation, according to a recent report by the city auditor, Ann-Marie Hogan.
Berkeley police processed 9,000 items in the year 2009, including $310,000 in cash and narcotics evidence with a street value of $1.5 million. But there are inadequacies in the way the department handles this evidence, which puts it at risk for theft or loss, Hogan noted.
Hogan’s audit is a follow-up to a 2006 report prepared by the California Commission on Peace Office Standards and Training (POST). That report noted a number of deficiencies in the way the police department collected and processed evidence and suggested 18 remedies to fix them. The Berkeley police department has only fully implemented six of the suggestions (with three just being done in the last few weeks), started work on four others, and done little on the remaining suggestions, according to Hogan, who will present her findings to the city council on Tuesday.
“We would have been happier if they had moved faster,” said Hogan. “One of the problems with property rooms in general is that police departments are focused on catching bad guys and emergencies. Cleaning up procedures, evidence, and paper work is just not as high a priority as cleaning up the streets.”
Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan, who took office in December 2009, did not return phone calls or emails on the subject. (see addition below) But in the month since Hogan’s report was issued, the police department completed three of the recommendations made by the POST report, the same number that had been completed in the previous four years.
Meehan and the City Manager’s office also submitted a time line for competing the rest of POST’s suggestions.
Update 4:25 pm: “I have directed staff to implement all of the recommendations and work with the Auditor’s office in doing so,” Meehan said in a e-mail to Berkeleyside. “We take the … (POST) recommendations for improving our Property and Evidence Room controls and procedures very seriously. We recognize the critical importance of being accountable to this process to ensure the integrity of our work and thus the community’s trust in us.”