Letters to the Editor
November 16, 2011

To the Editor:
There Should be No Rush to Appointment of Replacement for Patti Walker
I want to get right to the fact that I do not live within the city limits of Fillmore, but I do live in the area influenced by the decisions of the Fillmore City Council! I shop and recreate inside of the Fillmore city limits and because of, like Patti said, my zip code and mailing address is the City of Fillmore I benefit from it's successes and I suffer the embarrassment of the CC Council's actions! I would also like to point out that Gary Creagle does not live inside the city limits of Fillmore, but I would add, he has a lot to say about the City's business and the Fillmore City Council seems to be influenced by what he has to say! I would also guarantee you that Patti Walker will also have an ear of one or more councilmembers and, in fact, Councilmember Sipes said publicly that he would be calling upon her for future advice! So with that behind us...
I did watch the regular meeting of the Fillmore City Council on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 on Channel 10. I was not surprised by Patti resigning from the CC since it appears she will soon be one of my neighbors, but I am surprised she did not resign long ago when she sold her house, rented another and entered into escrow on the home she will soon move into. Of course I don't have the time-line of her home selling and her entering into the purchase of the home in my neighborhood, but the rumors had been flying around for at least two months that she was the buyer and she has been seen often going up and down the driveway to the newly purchased home which was vacated at least two weeks ago by the sellers! I would assume since she intended to move outside of the city limits at least two months ago she should have mentioned that to her fellow CC members, City Manager and the City Attorney so that her vacant position could have been placed on the ballot for November 8, 2011. She must not have said anything for I am sure if she had the City Manager and City Attorney would have given Patti and the CC some different advice on how to fill the pending vacancy!
Well as they say that is all “water under the bridge” now to the purpose of my letter! I want to commend Councilmember Conaway for his awareness of the law and his courage to call the decision of Mayor Washburn to rush a meeting to discuss the appointment to replace Patti. I agree there is no rush for a replacement on such an important issue at such a critical time in the history of the City of Fillmore. My hope is that the CC sees the need for sincere thought on this topic and that those citizens who can vote on City matters speak out at the December CC Meeting where this will be discussed.
Richard A. Diaz

To the Editor:
Re: Letter from Doug Tucker on November 2, 2011
The statements made about fiscal irresponsibility are unfair and incorrect
I am familiar with our budgets and financial statements and have spent several years analyzing them. I serve on the Finance Committee and have prepared budgets and financial statements for several business and nonprofit entities As a citizen and taxpayer of Fillmore, my goal is to see that services are provided in an economically efficient manner. I believe that all on the Council have the same commitment.
I have contacted Doug Tucker to request clarification of his statements for the benefit of the public but have not yet received a response.
He stated that "…the CITY SPENT MORE IN 2010 and 2011 THAN IN 2009, this increase in spending was more than 3 million for both years…"
He also incorrectly stated "it would appear that they did not realize the country was in a recession and just kept spending our money recklessly", and, "the city doesn't do a mid – year budget audit to determine adjustments to the budget based on the city’s financial status", and, "the City Manager has the power to write her own contract". Facts: 1. Nobody is spending money recklessly. 2. We do a mid-year budget review every year. 3. The City Manager has no power to write her own contract.
As far as the 2009, 2010 and 2011 financials, here are the documented numbers. (There was nothing specific in the letter, so I am assuming he is referring to the General Fund)
2009-$5,621,522; 2010-$6,939,707; 2011-$7,213,216; 2012-$5,887,559.
Yes, spending increased in 2010 and 2011, but was not irresponsible. The total increase is $1.3 million. The increase in 2010 is due to $325,000 for insurance on the sewer plant, 2 Rivers Park and swimming pool. An additional $375,000 was for sales tax agreement and other litigation fees. The City also had to shift costs from the RDA to General Fund and fund paramedic stipends. As far as spending, most of our expenses go to salaries and benefits. We have cut those expenses in the last two years with layoffs and pay cuts. We have asked employees to pay part of their pensions and health care insurance that will generate savings now and in the future.
There is a lot of information presented at the budget workshops and we ensure that all budgets and financial statements are available to the public on the city website. If you would like to see a spreadsheet with those years of expenses please email me at gaylewashburn@sbcglobal.net for a copy. The Council welcomes input and analysis from all citizens and we and staff are available to provide clarification or answer any questions. We ask that you seek the facts from the city before writing incorrect and misleading letters and false accusations.
Gayle Washburn