Archive for August, 2013

How Much Annual Sick Leave Does Your Employer Give You?

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

August 29, 2013

This review of the Shelby County Efficiency Report is fascinating and reveals many areas of substantial savings that are possible not only in county government but immensely more in the less efficient City government and the school system.

Here are the facts that are revealed in the report.

Median sick days per year

Private sector                                                                    6 days per year

State and local governments                                      12 days per year

Shelby County, City of Memphis, MLGW               12 to 30 days per year depending on longevity

Like any kind of paid leave, sick leave can drive overtime expenses by creating vacancies that must be filled or work backlogs that must be reduced by employees working overtime. Also they allow unlimited carryover of sick leave from year to year. A revised policy of use it or lose each year would save a huge amount of money. This is what most of the private sector does. Why should the public sector get something that is not common in the private taxpaying sector?

Looking at the County overtime expenditures in 2012, it amounted to almost $12 million dollars. It is time we put an end to this sick leave boondoggle. All local governments should go to a paid time off approach (paid time off to include vacations, holidays, sick days, personnel days etc.) that matches the private sector average, not the inflated public sector model.

Over $3 Billion In Unfunded Retiree Health Care Costs

Monday, August 26th, 2013

August 26, 2013


Continuing my review of the Shelby County efficiency report provided by the PFM group, retiree health care costs known as OPEB (other post employment benefits) gives a great contrast between the City and the County. Consider these facts.


The unfunded liability currently reported is as follows.


Shelby County:                      $232 million

City of Memphis:                 $1.25 billion

MLGW                                         $420 million

Memphis School System     $1.16 billion


Clearly there is a problem with all these systems but the county is in much better shape than all the rest.


Shelby County funds retiree medical and life insurance benefits as well as long-term disability benefits (collectively, known as Other Post-Employment Benefits, or OPEB) for retired County employees.  In FY2012, Shelby County contributed approximately $31.9 million to its OPEB trust, with the vast majority of that sum contributed toward retiree health insurance.


Nationally, many state and local governments have delayed pre-funding their OPEB expenses and have too little (or no) money set (more…)

Shelby County Efficiency Review

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

August 22, 2013

Recently I asked Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell for a copy of the new Shelby County Efficiency Review which was promptly furnished. This was performed by the PFM group with offices in Memphis, Chattanooga and Philadelphia. The purpose of this review is to continue a great record of fiscal management (especially compared to the City of Memphis Administration). I have attached the introduction statement to the report. Over the next few weeks I will be commenting on the report and the recommended changes. The first recommendation is to lower the cost of health care premiums. This will save up to $2.9 million next year and more in the future. No one knows for sure with Obamacare coming down the road but this is a start.


CC01. Lower cost of health care premiums
Target outcome: Reduction in claim amount, healthier workforce at lower cost
Potential Financial Impact: FY2014: $2.4 – $2.9 million in savingsAdditional savings in later years


Shelby County is self-insured for health insurance – meaning the County pays claims for its employees directly – and utilizes a Third- (more…)

Strange But Important Items On The City Council Agenda

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

August 20, 2013


Several interesting things are on the City Council Agenda today.

I previously made a comment about smart meters and was squarely in the middle of the two sides. One of my readers said that my comments were similar to the famous Whiskey speech by Judge Soggy Sweat. I plead guilty to listening to both sides of the debate and each side has a point. I think it should be approved but without time of use rates. It should be defeated if time of use rates are also approved.


Anne Grosvenor’s Thoughts On Pilots

Monday, August 19th, 2013

In an article published in the Commercial Appeal on Sunday discussing the recently passed property tax increase for Shelby County ( County Commissioner Henri Brooks takes aim at the Memphis-Shelby County PILOT program.  Brooks objects to PILOT programs taking resources that, in her view, would be better spent on education than the business community.  The PILOT program (Payment-In-Lieu-of-Taxes) provides relief of 90% of Memphis property taxes and 75% of Shelby County taxes to qualified businesses.  The program is administered by EDGE (Economic Development Growth Engine) in Shelby County.

The PILOT program seeks to grow the economy of Memphis and Shelby County by making it more attractive for companies to locate here.  PILOT grants are given to companies and projects that meet the goals of EDGE, but there is no obligation to give PILOT money to (more…)

A Woman’s Perspective On The Achievement School District

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

August 8, 2013

My name is Joe Saino and I am President of, a 401c3 non profit dedicated to keeping the public here in Shelby County informed and keeping public records open to you, the taxpayers. It is a big job and I am always looking for help. Well I have made a connection with an outstanding young woman and I will let her own CV speak for her.

Anne Grosvenor

I am originally from Indiana and moved to Memphis area in 2000.  I have BS and PhD in Chemical Engineering and work locally in a sales role for a manufacturing company.  I am married with two children.   Protecting the future of my children and their peers is the foremost reason for my interest in political issues and fiscal policy.  I hope to encourage people to be more involved and better informed on how their government operates and how it affects them.    Ultimately, we need to understand that if we want the kind of freedom that America has promised citizens and immigrants for generations, we have to work for it.

Here is her first article on and I hope for many more. Thanks Anne.


Smart Meter Critique

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

August 6, 2013

I have commented several times on the question of smart meters. Generally I have been against buying and installing 1.3 million smart meters for a price of $215 million starting with the upcoming decision on 60,000. I have heard two presentations by the IBEW union, two by the public activists and two by Jerry Collins, President of the MLGW. Of the three parties, I must conclude that Mr. Collins makes the most sense and has the most points in favor of smart meters.

Here are the favorable points in favor of smart meters.


  • To have the MLGW alerted automatically when power fails. The failure information will help speed the restoration effort.
  • To eventually do away with the need for meter readers saving overall in operating costs due to less personnel required and saving the hassle of locked gates and pet problems.
  • To have the availability of pre-pay service wherein customers can pay as they use the utilities and to automatically notify customers when they are running close to their prepayment amount. Customer cutoffs and reconnection can be done without a visit to the site.


Do You Recognize Your Country Any More?

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

August 2, 2013

Yes, I received this gallant statement from Carlos Danger recently. The possible next mayor of New York is undaunted and unafraid. (I have to have some fun from time to time).

Cyrano Weiner, The Brave Cavalier

What would you have me do? Seek for the patronage of some great man,
And like a creeping vine on a tall tree Crawl upward, where I cannot stand alone? Yes thank you! Dedicate, as others do, Pics to hotties? Be a buffoon in the vile hope of teasing out a smile On some cold face? Yes thank you!

 Eat a toad for breakfast every morning? Make my knees Callous, and cultivate a supple spine, ~ Wear out my belly groveling in the dust?
Yes thank you!

Scratch the back of any swine That roots up gold for me? Tickle the horns
Of Mammon with my left hand, while my right Too proud to know his partners business, Sexts out my pictures? Yes thank you! Use the internet Al Gore gave me to hunt for chicks all day long
Yes thank you!

Publish pics at my contributors Expense? Yes thank you!

Be the patron saint Of a large group of New York voters Who wine together every day? Yes,
I thank you!