Council Expected to Discuss Proposed Salary Increases

The Forney City Council will hold a Public Hearing to discuss the Proposed Fiscal Year 2015 Operating Budget this evening, and it is expected that they will vote to approve a 3% Merit Increase for Non-step Employees, a 1% Cost of Living Adjustment and a 1 Step (4%) pay increase for Forney Police and Fire Fighters.

According to the Proposed Budget, “the City of Forney recognizes that its staff is among its most valuable assets. This year the City will increase staffing levels by four full-time equivalents and will reclassify seven positions, one of which will go from part-time to full-time.”

Proposed additional positions include an Animal Control Administrative Assistant, a Communications Officer, a Water Crew Leader and a Water Equipment Operator.

Reclassified positions include three Fire Driver/Operators who will be reclassified to Fire Lieutenants, three Fire Fighters who will be reclassified to Fire/Driver Operators and a part-time Communications Officer who will be reclassified to full-time.

There are 130 salary positions and each of these valued employees will receive between a 3-5% salary increase should the employee not “be on step”, which is defined as having a disciplinary warning or write-up within their employee file.

The City Organization Chart clearly depicts how all employees of the city are under the managerial supervision of City Manager, Brian Brooks. The City Manager in turn reports only to the City Council and the City Council answers directly to the Citizens of Forney. It is therefore the Council who dictates the job description and level of performance that is to be expected from the City Manager’s position.

And it is the Council who is responsible to supervise, guide and instruct the City Manager in all “authorized negotiations”. And lastly and most importantly, it is the responsibility of the Forney City Council to hold the City Manager responsible for his actions and decisions. The City Manager’s performance and public image is a direct reflection of their supervision and both Mayor Wilson and several Council Members have publically stated that they want to be both transparent and accountable to the citizens who elected them.

The City Manager’s Department is expected to cost the taxpayers $579,990.00 in the 2016 Fiscal Year, and $553,012.00 is strictly salary and benefits for the department’s four full-time employees.

According to the proposed budget, “during the Fiscal year 2015, the Assistant City Manager position was vacated, resulting in a 13% decrease in salary and benefits expense for the year. Funding for the position remains in the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2016.”

Former Asst. City Manager, Gina Nash, left the position in May 2015. A search for her replacement has yet to commence however Finance Director, Leigh Corson, was quietly promoted to Interim Assistant City Manager on the recommendation of City Manager Brian Brooks.

It can be stated that City Manager Brooks is the highest paid employee working for the City of Forney, and that this statement may hold true for most municipal governments. However rarely, if ever, does an employee of any city, corporation or business make a multi-million dollar decision that results in the loss of millions in potential tax revenues and his does not get fired, reprimanded or even openly questioned.

According to the Proposed Budget, which is written by City Manager Brian Brooks, listed quietly under “Financial Information and Fund Summaries” is one very revealing, very descriptive fund summary. It reads “Payment in-lieu of Taxes” – The City of Forney receives a negotiated annual payment from NextEra Energy. The payment for Fiscal Year 2016 is $2,450,000. This is a reduction of 7.5% from the prior year.”

Forney Post readers will remember that it was revealed during the recent Mayoral election that City Manager Brian Brooks had “negotiated this contract without prior consent of the Council” and that he negotiated it at a considerable loss in tax revenues due the citizens of Forney.

What employee anywhere would not be held accountable for costing their employer millions of dollars in potential revenue?

City Manager Brooks is not a new employee. He holds a Master’s Degree in his field and he has been negotiating on behalf of the Council and therefore the citizens of Forney for years now. And the Council doesn’t think this is error enough to even reprimand him? Instead he gets a merit raise for his performance like all the other hard working employees of the City of Forney.

The citizens need to ask Mayor Wilson and the Council if they have held their City Manager accountable for this 7.5% reduction in negotiated revenues. And without violating the employment rights of Brian Brooks, the Council needs to be true to their word and be honest, transparent and accountable to the citizens about the job performance of the City Manager.

The Forney City Council will hold their required Public Hearing for the Proposed 2016 Fiscal Year Operating Budget, at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday evening September 1, 2015, at Forney City Hall.

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