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City of Alameda CAFR Confirms Public Safety Staffing Down, Planning and Development Staffing Up

The recently released City of Alameda Comprehensive Annual Financial Report confirms the City’s shift over recent years away from protecting citizens to serving developers.

The table “City of Alameda, Full-Time Equivalent City Government Employees by Function, Last Ten Fiscal Years” on page 188 of the report shows that in 1999, the City employed 274 full-time employees in the “public safety” category, which includes firefighters and police officers. In 2008, that number was down 7% to 254 public safety employees. Meanwhile, over the same time period, Planning and Building full-time staff has grown 35% from 27.50 employees in 1999 to 37 employees in 2008. (No explanation from the City on the 0.50 employee in 1999…)

The news comes at a time that the City is is instituting rotating fire service “brownouts,” obstensibly to save overtime costs. But the firefighters say they don’t want the overtime, and that the City has refused to fill full-time positions in the fire department for years, which artificially creates the need for overtime. We understand that the break-even point between overtime and full-time expenses is a complement of 30 on-duty firefighters per day. For years now, the City has staffed only 27 firefighters per day, and with the brownouts, they are letting that number drop to 24.

This dramatic change reflects a City administration that has lost its sense of purpose – municipal government exists to protect the citizens at a local level and provide services to them. But the City of Alameda, by shifting an emphasis to Planning and Building, seems to think their purpose is to serve land developers, who often, not coincidentally, have made rich campaign contributions to Alameda elected officials.

Source: City of Alameda Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal year Ended June 30, 2008

Source: City of Alameda Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal year Ended June 30, 2008

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