Notice: This is not a City of Long Beach site.

Dear Readers: Please note that this is not a City of Long Beach website and is not paid for nor maintained by taxpayer funds.

If you contact Gerrie Schipske through this site on any matter pertaining to the City of Long Beach, a copy of your contact will be forwarded to her official city email as an official public record.

Friday, September 21, 2012

An Example of LB City Employees and the Good Work They Do

I received this press release today from the Long Beach Police Department detailing the excellent work of one of our emergency dispatchers.

Folks, this dispatcher is an example of the hard work and dedication of the men and women who work for the City of Long Beach.

On Thursday, September 13, 2012, at approximately 8:11 p.m., Long Beach Police officers responded to a call of a robbery that was occurring to an electronics store in the area of Pine Avenue and Willow Street.

When the robbery began, an individual inside the store dialed 9-1-1 and reported the incident to the dispatcher, Lily DeMasi, who has been a dispatcher with the Department for 16 years, but the caller had to end the conversation when the suspect approached. Lily then called back, but the suspect picked up the phone. The quick-thinking dispatcher posed as a customer and asked questions to keep him on the line to obtain additional information while distracting him from the scared employees as police were arriving.

Police arrived to the location quickly and took one suspect in custody. A second suspect fled into the neighborhood and a foot pursuit was initiated. A perimeter was established to contain the area, and although police lost sight of the fleeing suspect, they believed he was still within the perimeter.

A K-9 unit and police helicopter responded to assist in the search for the outstanding suspect. When officers announced over the microphone that the K-9 would be deployed to search for him, the suspect quickly surrendered and was taken into custody.

The loss was recovered and both suspects were taken into custody. Due to the ongoing investigation, they are only being identified as adult males at this time.

Businesses owners and employees should be aware that landline phones can provide an added level of security should police need to respond to an emergency. Anytime 9-1-1 is dialed from a landline phone, the exact address of the location is automatically displayed to the dispatcher, and if the caller is not able to speak to the dispatcher, this call is classified as an “incomplete 9-1-1,” and made a priority. A landline phone kept in an inconspicuous place at the business can be a discreet way for employees to summon police to their location in the event of an emergency, without compromising their safety.

Long Beach Police dispatchers receive extensive training to handle a variety of crisis situations, while simultaneously relaying crucial information to the officers who are responding to the scene. The LBPD commends Lily for her great work that led to the capture of the suspects while keeping the community safe in this situation, and thanks all of our hardworking dispatchers for the incredible work they do every day.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Documents Worth Reading -- What the City Council Did When It Passed the Budget

Many residents have asked -- "What exactly did the City Council restore when it finally passed the budget? What cuts to services were restored?" So I requested a memo from City management to show the projected cuts and what actually was restored.

If you click on this link you will see that memo.

Additionally, I am linking to a memo that details the positions of the City concerning proposed state legislation. Click on this link to read the list.

As always, feel free to contact me directly with your questions, concerns and comments.

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Schipske Calls for Swift Action on Real Pension Reform -- and a Charter Amendment to Enforce It

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 28:  California Gov. ...LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 28: California Gov. Jerry Brown discusses pension reform during a news conference on August 28, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Brown unveiled what he called 'sweeping' pension reforms that cap benefits, boost the retirement age, prevent abusive practices such as 'spiking' and require new state employees to pay at least half their pension costs. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Councilwoman Schipske Seeks Swift Implementation of Just Passed Law Requiring Public Employees To Pay 50% of Pension Costs –  Wants To Keep City Council From Spending the Savings With a Voter Approved Charter Change Applying the Funds to the City’s Unfunded Liability –
“That would be real pension reform!”

For immediate release: Contact Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske 562 570-6932

September 16, 2012 --Long Beach, CA – Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske today called upon the Mayor and City Council to act swiftly in implementing the pension reforms now allowed under state law with the passage of AB 340, instead of “saber rattling” about putting a ballot measure to roll back one group of city employee salaries two years from now. 

Schipske points out that with the recent passage of AB 340, Long Beach has the power to make substantial changes in the pensions it offers and to increase the amount that the employee must contribute towards pensions. The new law mandates that by 2018, public employees will be required to pay 50% of pension costs which could amount to non public safety employees paying 8% of their salary and police and firefighters paying 12% of their salary as contributions to their pensions.

“Instead of wasting taxpayers’ money and time with a ballot measure to roll back some city employees’ salaries, we should be focusing on implementing the full pension cost sharing mandated by AB 340,” says the Fifth District Councilwoman. “Proposals such as  ‘rolling back’ some city employee salaries are a band-aid on the gaping wound of unfunded pension liabilities. Implementing full pension cost sharing as soon as possible and applying those savings to our $1.2 billion dollar unfunded liability will go a long way to fixing what ‘ails us’,” emphasizes Schipske.

“The City should not delay implementing this aspect of pension reform.  Instead of waiting 6 years and then hitting all employees with this large increase at one time, the City must begin right now on working out a gradual implementation of the employee pension cost sharing requirements with management, public safety and non public safety employee associations,” Schipske explains.

However, Schipske cautions that these employee contributions will produce substantial savings that must not be viewed as another source of revenue for the City Council to spend. Schipske reminds that Long Beach City Councils in the past have spent pension savings instead of putting the money toward reducing the unfunded liability.

“When CALPERS told the City Council it was ‘super funded’ and didn’t need to pay into the pension fund for a period of time, it took the money and spent it instead of applying it toward the unfunded portion of the pension liability.”

 AB 340 requires that any savings realized by the State because of the increased state employee contributions will be applied toward the state unfunded liability. “The City of Long Beach must do the same and require that any savings realized by increasing Long Beach public employees’ pension contributions be applied to the City’s unfunded pension liability and not spent by the City Council. If we want real pension reform in Long Beach, we need to take these savings and apply them toward our unfunded pension liability.”

Schipske added that to make certain this Council and future City Council can’t spend the employee contributions, she will propose an amendment to the City Charter that states: “Any savings realized by the City of Long Beach as a result of employee contribution rate increases required by Government Code 20516.5 (AB 340) shall be allocated first to the City’s unfunded liability.”

“I am certain the taxpayers will support this real pension reform because for the first time, we will actually start reducing the City’s long-term liability.” #30

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