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Anonymous
Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2002 - 10:05 am:   

I have two topics regarding City employees I would like to understand better.

First, why are City employees given clothing for performing their jobs? I understand City shirts being provided to outdoor positions that require employees to interact with the public. This allows the citizens to recognize them as City employees. But why does the City (and ultimately the taxpayers) provide them with their blue jeans, boots, and jackets to wear? These items are independent of their job function, and I want to know why I'm helping to contribute to their wardrobe and not only once a year but twice. My employer does not purchase pants, jackets, ties, shirts, nor shoes for me much less blue jeans. I think City employees should be required to purchase their own pants, shoes, and jackets. They wear these in public anyway. How many employees receive their "work" clothes from the City? I understand clothing being provided for hazardous job functions but not blue jeans.

Second, why would a City employee, a few months shy of a retirement vesting bar, be permitted to remain an employee after providing notice to resign? I heard an employee provided notice to resign, the vacating position was filled, but the employeed was "found" another position with the City. The employee was going to be shy of some level (5 or 10 year mark) for retirement, so the City created a way to get the employee the level of retirement desired. I want to know why. The employee knew the situation when submitting the resignation.

Why are our tax dollars being spent for employee "perks" instead of parks, traffic lights, roads, etc?

One more thing, you may want to inform City employees to not discuss such "sensitive" topics in extremely public settings for citizens to hear.
 

Jason Gray, Interim ACM (Jason)
Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2002 - 06:52 pm:   

Dear Anonymous-

Regarding your first question, several City Departments and Divisions do provide work uniforms for the employees, but I disagree that the clothing is "independent of the job function". In the instances where the City provides for clothing, it is due to a working condition which may be considered hazardous without the proper clothing. Steel toe boots, jackets, and jeans are protective gear for those that work on construction sites, emergency sites, and in ceratin other field positions within the City. Shirts are generally provided not as a protective gear issue, but as a uniform issue. In no case does the City pay for clothing for positions that are not in a potentially hazardous situation (office employees, etc.), other than shirts as uniforms in some cases. However, we are always willing to review any expenditures in any department, and if you will contact me directly regarding your specific concerns, I will be happy to perform that review.

Regarding your second question, the alleged situation is not one in which I am familiar, but if you will communicate with me personally on the matter I would be more than happy to review the alleged situation. You may reach me via email at jgray@ci.frisco.tx.us or by telephone at 972-335-5551 x125.

Regarding your third question, the total amount of tax dollars that paid for non-emergency (Police and Fire) uniforms and clothing in Fiscal Year 2001 was:
Non-Emergency: $52,615
Police and Fire: $97,375
Total: $149,990

The total amount spent directly on parks, traffic lights, and roads in FY 2001 was:

Parks: $7,452,624
Traffic Lights: $225,296
Roads: $7,187,023
Total: $14,864,943 on parks, traffic lights and roads
This amount does not include personnel, benefits, equipment, maintenance, etc., it is for direct costs associated only with specific projects.

As you can see, in the last complete Fiscal Year, we spent 1.01% of tax money on uniforms and clothing compared to the amount spent on the direct costs of parks, traffic lights, and roads.

Regarding the final comment, I will not direct employees to not discuss these topics in public, in fact, I would really rather our employees discuss such items freely with taxpayers, rather than trying to keep any information away from the public. As you probably know, all of our financial information is public information, and may be requested through our City Secretary's Office. If you have any further questions regarding our expenditures of public money, we certainly invite those questions, and again, you may contact me directly.

Thank you,
Jason Gray
Interim Assistant City Manager
 

Anonymous
Posted on Monday, September 09, 2002 - 10:59 am:   

I posted follow-up questions to Jason's response well over a week ago. Why did my questions not receive answers? Does the City truly condone City employees making jokes about the freebies they get at our expense, literally?

(Some material in this post has been editied as it contained commentary rather than questions.)
 

Jason Gray, Interim ACM (Jason)
Posted on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 - 10:10 am:   

Dear Anonymous-
We have not received any posts on this topic within the last week, please re-post and I will be happy to answer the questions.

Regarding your second question, I believe that the answer is provided in my first response-the materials that you mention we provide to the employees is equipment that we provide so that they may safely perform their job functions. As stated above, if you have specific instances where you believe that the City is spending money innefficiently, please let me know and I will look into it. Again, my office phone number is 972-335-5551 x125, my email is jgray@ci.frisco.tx.us - but I cannot review the areas that you may have questions about without knowing specifically which areas or materials you are talking about.

Respectfully-
Jason Gray
Interim Assistant City Manager
 

Anonymous
Posted on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 - 04:05 pm:   

Here are the specifics:

1.) Why are Wrangler blue jeans and regular, non-reinforced, no fire nor material protective jackets considered "protective" gear? I don't understand why we are paying for their everyday clothing. Steel toe boots I can understand being considered protective and very necessary, but why plain, regular blue jeans? Do the employees not need this regular clothing to go in public anyway? How does your response provide the reasoning of blue jeans being considered necessary? Are college degrees not considered requirements for the accountants, lawyers, and engineers? I don't believe the City repays the costs for this requirement, so why are blue jeans a regular, everyday cost we pay?

2.) Why are City employees permitted to use their City cell phones for personal use to call their friends and family? I understand "on-call" employees (firefighters, police, public works employees) being required to keep their City cell phone with them in case of emergencies, but why secretaries and file clerks where they make personal calls?

3.) Why would the City going through budget approval with the City Council "create" (term used by the woman) a position a few months from the end of fiscal year so the employee could reach a 10-year retirement level? The employee already gave notice as to her resignation, so why spend our money so she could receive extra benefits when it was her choice to leave her position?
 

Jason Gray, Interim ACM (Jason)
Posted on Wednesday, September 11, 2002 - 10:44 am:   

Dear Anonymous-
1. The City of Frisco purchases uniforms (including blue jeans in some cases) for employees when it is deemed that because of the function of their jobs it is appropriate. This is in line with what many other service companies provide, including every other surrounding city. You apparently do not agree with this practice, and I am probably not going to convince you by stating anything further.

2. The City uses a pooled minutes program for the main portion of it's mobile phones. Limited private use is allowed and in any case where the pooled minutes are exceeded (thereby costing additional money over and above the basic plan), employees are billed for their amount of overage caused by personal use. Regarding your question of secretaries and file clerks-your information is incorrect-no secretaries or file clerks have city-issued mobile phones.

3. I have asked you in my previous post to contact me directly with more information on this allegation. You have not, so I have not investigated further. Regardless of that, your information is wrong in that our retirement system has a five year vesting period, not a 10 year vesting period. Anybody within a "few months" of 10 years would already be vested. As I have been involved with just about every aspect of the budget process over the past three years, I think that I would be aware of this situation, but I am not, so if you truly have more information, I encourage you again to contact me directly at 972-335-5551 x125 or by email at jgray@ci.frisco.tx.us so that I can review the allegation.

Thanks-
Jason Gray
Interim Assistant City Manager

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