Craddock lashes out at proposed Metro fleet reduction

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 2:31am

The Metro department charged with keeping most of the city’s buildings and vehicles running will cut many of the services it offers to other departments as part of a $7.2 million budget cut for the next fiscal year.

At its budget hearing Monday, the General Services Department, which includes building maintenance, security services and fleet management, said the cuts to services provided to other departments will save about $3 million.

“Maintenance staff will no longer be completing small projects such as tiling, carpentry, plumbing and painting that we’ve done in the past,” General Services Director Nancy Whittemore said. “We will go to our reduced lighting after hours at 6 p.m.”

They are also planning to cut 412 cars from the city’s fleet.

“I think it’s absolutely nuts for us to get rid of all of these vehicles. They’re bought and paid for,” said Councilman Michael Craddock. “You know, when the economy turns around, we’ll go and buy more vehicles to replace what we sold for nothing, and it’s just insane that government does these kinds of things.”

However, Craddock has been critical of the maintenance costs of some items, including lawnmowers in the sheriff’s office which can cost over $3,400 to run and maintain each year. Many cars cost in the neighborhood of $2,000 per year.

The remainder of the cuts will come from 29 slashed positions — 17 of which are filled —under Mayor Karl Dean’s proposed budget.

Music City Center moment

A pair of Council members took a few minutes out of the Convention Center’s budget hearing Monday to discuss the benefits of the new center proposed for downtown. 

At-Large Councilmen Ronnie Steine and Charlie Tygard had the director explain economic benefits from more tourists heading into downtown Nashville.

Director Charles Stark said the current facility is doing a better-than-expected job at reducing its dependence on the city. Its subsidy was budgeted for about $814,000, but he says the center has made enough money it will only need about $400,000 from the hotel/motel tax this fiscal year.

The Finance department will lose one employee next year and is eliminating 8 other vacant positions.  It will, however, pay the salary for one employee out of the tourism taxes intended for the new convention center who will oversee the administration of those taxes and the other financial arrangements for the proposed project.

6 Comments on this post:

By: arkay61 on 6/10/09 at 7:40

You know, I think Metro should redesign it's gov't seal. I should be a single wide trailer surrounded by an assortment of discarded appliances and plumbing fixtures with a Cadillac Escalade parked in the driveway. It would be pretty metaphoric of Nashville; crappy roads, crumbling sewer and water infrastructure, emergency services operating with insufficient staffing and a public works department that has been cut back until it is almost non-existent. Instead of shoring up our foundation, we keep buying new toys to park in the front yard so that everyone will think we are somebody. Isn't the old "keeping up with the Joneses" financial policy supposed to be passé?

BTW, I thought the old CC was now self sufficient. If it is paid for, why are we bailing it out? Are we going to continue to bail it out after the new one is built? What are we going to bail it out with when the hotel/motel taxes are taken away from it to pay for the new CC? What about the other Metro entities that are currently getting a piece of the hotel/motel pie? Where is Metro going to get the money to keep bailing them out? When I ask our esteemed leaders, all I hear is crickets chirping.

But now that I think about it, I'm not sure if Metro's financial policy is more white-trashy or if we are just on our way to becoming a micro-version of California.

By: JohnR on 6/10/09 at 8:31

Oh no, no more carpentry, what will Nancy Whittemore do. When she moved into her new office in the courthouse she decided she did not like the cabinets in her personal bathroom so she and Diana Stevens her second in command, had the general services cabinet shopp build new ones. Well she did not like those either so, she went out and bought custom cabinets to install at our expence.

And oh one other thing, since they are getting rid of the maintanence guys I guess they won't be going to Diana Stevens house in Metro trucks to do work on her house anymore. What a shame.

By: Kosh III on 6/10/09 at 8:53

412 cars? Why does Metro need so many? Let employees drive themselves to work. or take the bus.
If they need a vehicle for work-related travel, they can do like others and get reimbursement for use of their own vehicle.
I realize that some few vehicles are necessary but 412???

By: Tall_Fella on 6/10/09 at 9:29

"You know, I think Metro should redesign it's gov't seal. I should be a single wide trailer surrounded by an assortment of discarded appliances and plumbing fixtures with a Cadillac Escalade parked in the driveway. It would be pretty metaphoric of Nashville; crappy roads, crumbling sewer and water infrastructure, emergency services operating with insufficient staffing and a public works department that has been cut back until it is almost non-existent. Instead of shoring up our foundation, we keep buying new toys to park in the front yard so that everyone will think we are somebody. Isn't the old "keeping up with the Joneses" financial policy supposed to be passé?"

Classic! This city's priorities and decisions are basically dictated from west of I-65, south of the Cumberland River, north of OHB and east of 70/100. If you live outside of those boundaries, you're simply a tax-paying schlub.

By: ACitizen on 6/10/09 at 12:19

JohnR seems to have a bee in his bonnet about Ms's Whittemore and Stevens of the Metro General Services Department. Wonder why?
Could it be their lack of professionalism? Their inability to oversee their contracts for security and building services? Their failure to understand and prepare for the use of new building operations technologies? Their overuse of consultants to assist in the management of their newer buildings? Their repeated failures to safeguard the cities' buildings from damage due to fire and water leaks?
They both need to be replaced.

By: gl on 6/10/09 at 1:12

I cannot speak to all the comments made today, however I work in an office near the director’s office. Sorry John R but the truth will haunt you. Yes Nancy Whittemore had cabinets built in her office bathroom with a Formica countertop. No she did not have them replaced with custom cabinets. The ones built by the carpentry shop are nice enough. There has only been one set of cabinets in there They are used to store holiday decorations, building plans, cleansers and other miscellaneous items that would otherwise sit around the office. If you are going to make a point please tell the truth.