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Should Bus Drivers Get Bonus for Just Showing Up? Councilman Says No Way.



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Another union representing Fresno municipal employees could earn extra money just for showing up to work. And, councilman Garry Bredefeld has a problem with that.

At Thursday’s council meeting, the body is scheduled to vote on approving a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and the Amalgamated Transit Union, representing the bus drivers.

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David Taub

The two-year contract calls for a 2.5% yearly raise for the drivers on top of a $225 lump sum payment; adding student drivers as members of the union; and adding an Employee Incentive Time Off program.

The latter means that for every 11 weeks worked, employees would receive eight hours of leave time.

“This is one of the most wasteful, misguided and financially reckless programs ever established at City Hall.”Councilman Garry Bredefeld

“This is one of the most wasteful, misguided and financially reckless programs ever established at City Hall,” Bredefeld said.

According to Bredefeld four other unions representing city workers have something similar built into their contracts. He doesn’t want the program to expand.

“It is incentivizing people to show up for work. If you show up to work, you get to keep your job in most places. Not at the city of Fresno,” Bredefeld said. “It is the picture and personification of City Hall waste.”

Sam Frank, president of the Fresno City Employees Association which already has the incentive program, says it’s about making scheduling easier.

“Only those people who show up when scheduled to show up are going to qualify.”FCEA president Sam Frank

“This is an incentive for employees not to use sick leave. If they are using a lot of sick leave, they are not going to qualify (for the extra benefit). Only those people who show up when scheduled to show up are going to qualify,” Frank said.

Bredefeld, however, doesn’t blame the workers.

“I blame the elected leadership to responsibly manage taxpayer money. They are the culprits in city waste,” the District 6 councilman added.

In his 2016 election, ATU’s political action committee contributed $1,400 to Bredefeld.

Public Safety Boost

The council will vote on two items beneficial to Fresno’s public safety.

After debating on how to spend the proceeds from $1.9 million from the sale of the parking lot across the street of Chukchansi Park to the Fresno Grizzlies, the council plans approve the hiring of eight police dispatchers.

Police Chief Jerry Dyer has long made the argument, especially during the Measure P debate, that the city lags behind standards in answering 9-1-1 calls within fifteen seconds.

“The addition of eight officers will make a significant impact on our ability to answer 911 calls in a more timely fashion.   This will bring our total compliment of dispatchers to 95 which is the same number we had in 2009 prior to the recession,” Dyer tells GV Wire. “Although citizens will not feel an immediate impact due to the time it takes to hire and train these dispatchers, they will be in place prior to the summer months when emergency calls to the police department increase.”

Funding for the dispatchers will come from proceeds of the asset sale reserve fund. In the future, it could come from “other budgetary measures” councilman Garry Bredefeld said.

Also, the council will vote to purchase a 67,000 square foot plot of land on Clinton Avenue to relocate Fire Station 10.

The purchase price is $300,000 from the Rocha Revocable Living Trust. The current fire station is located at Fresno Yosemite Airport. The move takes it 1.6 miles east on Clinton, near Armstrong Avenue.

“The construction of the new fire station will be centrally located in the southeast area, so response times should be quicker resulting in less fire loss and higher customer satisfaction. Due to the rapid development within this fire station service area, it is critical for the City to acquire a suitable fire station site at the present time,” Deputy Fire Chief Theodore Semonious wrote in a staff report.

Fee Change

Council will vote on updating the master fee schedule. Some notable changes:

—Establish a $25 per scooter license fee once the city develops and approves a program to allow mobile scooter companies (like Bird and Lime) to operate.

—The price to rent spaces at city hall will change, with some going up and some going down. For example, to rent the chamber for a two-hour minimum decreases from $75 an hour to $55 an hour. However, the price to rent the lobbies or the plaza in front of City Hall will see increases ranging from $15-$45 an hour. Those fees do not apply for normal government uses or First Amendment protected activities (rallies, protests, etc.).

—The city is proposing a more comprehensive CPR and first aid training for lifeguards, and the increased fees reflect that. Instead of a one-day classroom training, the course would now be two-and-a-half days in the class and at the pool. That goes from $40 to $200.

—For the relatively new rental home inspection program, rental homes that need to be re-inspected will face additional charges of either $50 or $100.

—Other fee changes include new rates for parade route policing and various fees for public utility and public works needs.

Will Four of Seven Council Members Prefer Pepsi?

Before the council pulled the trigger last month and awarded Pepsi an exclusive non-alcoholic beverage provider contract at the convention center, they wanted to know how the company’s offer compared to Coke’s proposal.

The results are in, and Pepsi’s deal is better.

Both beverage companies offered a $20,000 base contract. However, with various incentives, Pepsi’s deal increased to $36,400 per year. Coke’s plan with incentives would only go up to $24,000 a year.

The deal runs through 2027.

Council members also wanted to know how the deal stacks up with Pepsi’s agreement at the Save Mart Center. SMG manages both the downtown properties and the SMC. However, city staff says those numbers are confidential.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email