I will identify & eliminate the “systemic waste” in the City and Education budgets by ascertaining non payroll expenditures related to policies, procedures and programs that are wasteful, inefficient duplicative or below standard. I will implement better, modern and technologically appropriate methods to streamline operations.
By doing so, real estate taxes can and will be reduced within four years and I affirm that I will not seek a second term if I fail.
I will improve the educational quality of our schools, fight crime aggressively and provide more courteous, efficient delivery of services.
The following is a summary of some of the programs and policies which I intend to implement as Mayor of Yonkers to carry out this general policy.
1. I will bring a New Administration to City Hall and Commissioners will not be paid excessive salaries.
I intend to install a new slate of Commissioners for most departments as a first order of business.
On the basis of dealings with different departments, both as an elected official and as a businessman or citizen, it seems to me that many of the departments are in need of new leadership.
The leader among these is the Building Department. Without fail when mention is made of dealings with this department, virtually every person relates a horror story such s waiting months or even years for permit processing. The current commissioner seems to place obstacles in the way of many applicants and has hurt small business by making it extremely difficult to deal with the department.
In any event, in order to accomplish the elimination of “systemic waste” I will require a fresh, loyal, top notch slate of commissioners. The “public service” attitude is missing in many departments and I will restore it with the best qualified hard working commissioners.
Commissioners earning $170K will be no more. We’ll pay decent, not excessive salaries.
2. Incentives for Commissioners & Employees who can save our Money
As in the private sector, any commissioner who can operate his or her department below annual budget will be rewarded for saving our tax dollars.
In addition, any employee who makes a cost saving suggestion that is implemented and which does result in savings will also be rewarded.
The details of the incentives or rewards will be determined as the policy is developed.
Imagine commissioners pushing employees to find ways to save tax dollars so they could earn their incentive and employees competing to find ways to save money.
When I worked in City Hall, 1975, the only people who had cars were the building inspectors, street inspectors, the Mayor & City Manager. Now almost everyone has a car & a cell phone too.
Reimbursement on a mileage rate is a better way to go. That’s what I will implement for most employees who use their own vehicle for city work.
Currently, several vehicles are “taken home” to distances as far as Dutchess County. No city vehicle will be permitted to be taken home, beyond a limited distance and none will be allowed for personal use. GPS monitors will be considered if circumstances require them.
There will be no more big SUVs or an open gas pump for employees. I happen to like the new Fiat 500 (40mpg or so and it’s a solid car) or something like it, instead of the SUV. This is one way to “go green”.
Cell phones will be given when it is essential for an employee to have one and personal use will be discouraged.
Control of the City’s gas pump will be obtained and tight controls implemented.
4. The City’s Checkbook & Overtime Control
In my private business, I know where every dime is spent. All invoices are reviewed and verified before paid.
As Mayor, I will direct our “check writers” – the finance department to obtain my approval before writing checks other than payroll.
With respect to payroll & overtime I will require each commissioner including the finance department to provide a periodic running total of each employee’s wages, to date, and how that compares to their budgeted salary at the time of the report.
By doing so, identification of employees being paid excessive overtime will be obtained and determination made as to the necessity. That’s called “real” overtime contro
5. Red Light Cameras to be Eliminated- Better Traffic Enforcement
The new red light cameras are aimed at revenue more then enhancing safety. 40,000 tickets were given out in the first two months of the program. I don’t know too many people who haven’t gotten one of these tickets except me (I hope I don’t jinx myself).
The cameras can also present a danger. Some people may speed up or jam on their brakes to avoid the ticket. Several states around the country have done just that – eliminated their red light camera programs. My approach to ensure safety at a trouble intersection is old fashioned – greater police presence where necessary.
Drivers running red lights are not the only dangerous driving habit we experience. Speeding, reckless driving, blowing through stop signs and aggressive driving are very common.
We could apply more police resources to traffic enforcement to deal with all of these dangers, remove bad drivers from the road or straighten them out, and perhaps also generate the revenue associated with fines for those serious violations.
I’d like to explore dividing the City into four quadrants – four sub-school districts with their own school boards, but one central office reporting to the Mayor for budget purposes.
This could provide more localized control, more involvement of parents in their local, smaller school district. More people would be involved simply through the appointment of more individuals to the sub district school boards. Those people might be able to better control the effort to save money and to get more of the $20,000 per student into the classrooms. More eyes on the goal line could get us there quicker.
The State school aid formula might change favorably since some of the sub districts might qualify for greater state aid since they might not be considered “wealthy” districts as the overall City is now.
In addition, this might provide us the benefits of “neighborhood schools” and potentially millions of dollars in busing costs could be eliminated.
I’ve heard too many stories from teachers who are forced to buy their own classroom supplies while we spend $20,000 per pupil. We also need to identify & remove non-resident students from the system. I have a plan for that.
7. Crime & Police
After eliminating enough “systemic waste”, I’d like to hire at least 100 new cops to fight crime aggressively.
My offer is to hire at NYPD starting salaries of about $44,000 as opposed to the current $57,000 YPD starting salary. No existing officers would be hurt by this & there’s sure to be plenty of job seekers.
After January 1, 2012, the new Police Commissioner would be expected to quickly devise a deployment plan that gets more cops on the streets to establish a greater police presence.
I would also direct that an outbreak of crimes or attempts in any area of the City be disclosed to the residents. Awareness would breed vigilance and help the P.D. deter and apprehend. Currently, there seems a greater administrative interest in making crime statistics seem low, by non disclosure or under-reporting or misclassification of events.
8. Code of Etiquette for City Employees
While we have many courteous workers in this City, some of our “public servants” may have forgotten that they serve the public.
There is no need or excuse for rudeness from a City employee.
We’ll develop and implement vigorous guidelines for proper interaction with citizens
9. Environmental & Energy Matters
We will study and implement, where practical, solar energy systems in public buildings.
I also will examine the cost effectiveness of installing energy saving bulbs in streetlights and in all public buildings. The determining factors as we compare new energy saving bulbs to incandescent bulbs would include quality of light and safety as well as cost effectiveness.
Perhaps, this could be accomplished with grants or agreements with manufacturers, suppliers or installers to reduce the cost of investment.
10. Snow Removal
I have done snow removal work, myself. I know what is involved and the best ways to accomplish it.
We do have some good hard workers in DPW who would be glad (perhaps even proud) to accomplish a better snow removal effort. Working hand in hand with the DPW Commissioner, a better system can be developed.
A snow melting furnace, ala Rudy Giuliani’s New York City plan for commercial areas might be a good idea. In any event, retail and commercial neighborhoods should be cleaned “curb to curb”.
Snow removal work cannot stop after one pass on the day of the storm. It should continue after the storm and remain a priority until streets and sidewalks are as clean as possible.
Carlo Calvi is candidate for mayor of the City of Yonkers vying for the Republican Party designation in the Republican Party Primary and also vying for the Conservative Party designation through a Write-In effort in the Conservative Party Primary. All primary contests are to be held on September 13, 2011.
Learn more by visiting the Carlo Calvi for Mayor of Yonkers Internet address: www.CarloCalvi.com