The man with no plan

Tim Riordan is a man without a future. He’s already receiving his pension- and drawing a nice salary for his City Manager position. He’s holding down the fort, in a defensive position praying for an economic turnaround that’s going to save his, or his successor’s behind.

As a good faith measure, he’s taking a tiny pay cut:

Dayton City Manager Tim Riordan is volunteering to take a pay cut worth three days of his salary — $1,700 — in addition to the three-day unpaid furlough he and other management employees took earlier this year.The Dayton City Commission approved the pay cut at its meeting Wednesday, July 21.“We are asking people to make sacrifices,” Riordan said. “Before I do that, I want to use myself as an example.”

via Dayton City Manager volunteers to take pay cut.

Of course, he’s preparing to ask the city staff who got their “step increase” last yearwithout approval from the commission– to give it back.

Fighting a rear-guard war is never how you win a war.

The problem is, Dayton hasn’t identified and capitalized on what can make it a winner. We’ve been doing the Hail Mary “economic development” incentive initiative for over 15 years and seen a huge FAIL as employment has shrunk and companies have left town. We never seemed to have enough chips in our stack to play with the big boys. NCR went to Georgia for over $100 m, and the executive suite went to NYC because the Schuster Center isn’t Broadway, and the Dragons aren’t the Yankees.

Suppose we announced to the world that our days of diverting tax dollars to corporate welfare are over. We guarantee not to tax you anymore than we need to pay our infrastructure and public safety bills. We’d also set some goals for public lifestyle improvements- a plan of what we hope to achieve in the next 5 years in terms of parks, recreation, schools, neighborhoods. We’d have set goals, with set price tags and set completion points. We’d get out of the development by reaction to private whim ( a local company wants a handout to build wind turbines) and get into the proactive planned strategy mode.

Plus, it’s time to use our loss leader.

Dayton actually hiked its water costs a few years back, not listening to its biggest customers that the new prices were out of reach. The first reaction by Cargill- “we’ll just drill our own wells” which they did. Delphi ended up leaving town. We’re now running at less than 50% capacity- we also pushed everyone’s water bill up (mine tripled over the last 10 years- did yours?). This was how we gave the people “no new taxes” as politician-speak loves to go- but, unfortunately, it also took away taxes as businesses left due to the killing off of our one really competitive weapon: cheap, great water.

Suppose we started giving away our water so cheaply that the county couldn’t compete? We’d gain more water customers of course, but in exchange for it- we ask for some things like an end to incentives there as well. No more financing Teradata moving a half-mile on the taxpayers, or more money into building new subdivisions when we already have a glut of homes. Would we start to have a fighting chance? How about a single regional income tax rate- a uniform 1.5% that’s shared based on a formula calculated on population density. All of a sudden, we’re sounding like a fighter, instead of a punching bag.

Tim Riordan is probably the best person for his job- only because he knows how to play the game here and knows the players. The problem is the game we’ve been playing has been Russian Roulette with more than one bullet.

It’s time to change the game. But, we need a man with a plan.

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20 Comments on "The man with no plan"

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larry sizer
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On 06/13/2010 I had written Tim Riordan a letter about his short comings (like blaming Dayton’s downturn on 9-11, and not out sourcing, W.T.O. and N.A.F.T.A.)  as well as on Dayton Planning, Historic South Park Inc. and an inner-city dog park, with today being 07/23/2010 I have to date not had a response. So if he fails to answer a letter, how could you expect  him to be anymore than most Double Dippers.

Bubba Jones
Guest
Bubba Jones

Larry Sizer – Did the letter have any constructive content or suggestions in it or did it merely point out his “short comings”?  If there was no constructive content, exactly what kind of answer did you expect from him?  Something like this…..


Dear Mr. Sizer,
Thank you for your letter dated June 13, 2010.  I’m appreciative of the fact that you took the time to point out all of my short comings, flaws, incompetence and general lack of understanding of  the issues that I face in my job on a daily basis.  Prior to your letter I mistakenly thought that I was a pretty decent guy attempting to do a difficult job while constantly being berated and belittled by the public and the press.  But, thanks to your insightful and well written letter I realize now that I am a total loser that should not even be allowed to take one more swallow from Dayton’s abundant aquifers.  I am indebted to you for the rest of my life for making me face the fact that I am no more valuable to this reason than a pile of stinking dog squeeze.


Please, feel free to write me on a regular basis. Frequent letters from you will reinforce the realization that my job is but a futile effort to serve the region and the citizens of Dayton.


Very Truly Yours,
Tim Riordan

larry sizer
Guest

I did this just for you Bubba Jones: http://www.communicationart.net/bubba_jones.htm
I trust you have enough snap to copy/paste the link I made just for you, and cyberspace? Now there is no question of what I wrote the double dipper.

Civil Servants Are People, Too
Guest
Civil Servants Are People, Too

@ Mr. Esrati, I support your idea of a regional tax structure, but it only works if everyone gets on board – including low-tax areas like Beavercreek.     For them, a regional tax would be a dis-incentive for business.     Much of Dayton’s tax base already comes from suburban workers in the city.  Besides, Dayton’s biggest competitor is probably Kettering, and their tax rates are almost identical.
 
Beyond that, I think the other ideas above are unrealistic.    Water is plentiful but there are  huge costs to distribute it.   It would take  decades of losses to attract enough new business with subsidized  “cheap water” to recoup the investment.   Until landbanking creates new modern-size sites for them to locate, the question is largely irrelevant anyway.
 
Finally, development is only a fraction of a typical city budget compared to Police and Fire.   Cutting incentives entirely would only make the City less competitive and not do much for the bottom line.
 
@ Larry,  your letters are nearly incomprehensible and undoubtedly inappropriate.   As a civil servant, I can advise you that NO one will take you seriously as long as you continue to behave this way.   If the City of Dayton is ignoring you, they are somewhat justified and it is your own fault.
 
The Humane Society runs an outstanding dog park in the inner-city.   Have you been there yet, Larry?   Instead of leasing someone else’s land, perhaps you should just buy a property where you can implement your ideas.   Vacant lots are very affordable in Dayton.
 
If people wonder why government is not always as fast as business, it is because we have to spend time with people like Larry.   Civil Servants generally don’t have the luxury of turning people away at the door.
 
(For the record I have no stake in this and no prior knowledge of this situation in Dayton)

FTLOD
Guest

I think you’re too harsh on Riordan.  He has a lot of good experience and I’ve never been disappointed by what he has said or done.  I recognize your frustrations though.
But remember how long Riordan has been in charge too.

Bruce Kettelle
Guest
Bruce Kettelle

I think we are in pretty good shape compared to some other communities in this country.  Take Bell California for example.  The city manager making $800,000, part time council members paid $100k each makes the pay structure in the Dayton area appear reasonable.

http://www.newswest9.com/Global/story.asp?S=12860386

Insider Info
Guest
Insider Info

” We’d also set some goals for public lifestyle improvements- a plan of what we hope to achieve in the next 5 years in terms of parks, recreation, schools, neighborhoods.”

David…..have you seen the city’s parks lately?    In 5 years time, you won’t be able to see the difference between a city park and a vacant lot.

larry sizer
Guest
To…Civil Servants Are People, Too: Since I wrote the letter to Tim Riordan, the Mayor had called me on the telephone, and at that time I explained that I just have a great idea about a Dog Park and that I was collecting signatures for a Petition for the city to build an inner-city dog park, and that I would be go going to the City Commission meetings and exercise my three minutes and appeal to the voting dog owners of Dayton, that we need an inner-city dog park.   I have no intention of leasing land, buying land, or any adventure other than stimulate the Voters of Dayton that are dog owners, if the City Commissioners fail to provided a dog park, lets vote them out of office. Here is copy of my petition… Petition for Inner-city Dog Park We the undersigned are concerned citizens who urge our city leaders to act now to establish a fenced-in, off-leash dog park where well-behaved canine citizens of the City of Dayton can exercise in a clean, safe environment without endangering or annoying people, property, or wildlife; to develop a beautiful, well maintained space open to all dog lovers and friends willing to uphold the park’s rules and restrictions; to view this park as a community project, in partnership with the City of Dayton, designed to satisfy the needs of dog owners and non-dog owners alike. We propose that the dog park be located in the core of the city to the rear of Emerson School, bridging the inner-city, the Oregon and South Park Historical Districts, as well as walking distance to the University of Dayton and the many inner-city dwellers, with ample parking for automobiles along Buckeye Street. In progressive communities across the U. S. of A., dog parks have proven to be a joy for the dog owners, allowing them to watch and interact in a safe, contained environment with their dogs, a pleasure otherwise not possible within a city environment. The area also has tennis courts, basketball court, slides and playground for the young children, and a shaded roofed… Read more »
David Lauri
Guest

I think we are in pretty good shape compared to some other communities in this country.  Take Bell California for example.
 
An interesting quote from the story about Bell, California, to which you linked, Bruce, is:

its officials boast of the city’s $22.7 million budget surplus, its well-kept parks, clean streets and programs at the community center for people of all ages.

 
Compare and contrast to Dayton’s budget woes, as discussed earlier in at least one Esrati.com post.

Bubba Jones
Guest
Bubba Jones

>>> I did this just for you Bubba Jones: http://www.communicationart.net/bubba_jones.htm
I trust you have enough snap to copy/paste the link I made just for you, and cyberspace? Now there is no question of what I wrote the double dipper. <<<
 
I’m offline for 60 hours and log back on to Esrati.com to start my week and see that Larry calls me an name (edited).  NICE stuff, Larry.  You sure are a classy guy!!   Obviously you’re smart too!  I can see that you’ve taken lessons from the DE’s handbook on how to influence people to get things done.  You call people names on a public forum and then get upset because they don’t respond in a favorable manner to your requests.  Good luck getting that dog park! :)

larry sizer
Guest

To start with Bubba Jones, I use my real name in place of a Pseudonym, also most thinking people that have an opinion also have a rear end (edited), are you the exception. As for the dog park, it is only an idea I have to have an inner-city dog park, like most progressive cities do. Hello Dayton…You sound like a cat person? Oh ya, I have a web site and not a public forum, as I don’t like to interact with people, as I have to tend to people like you. Enough said…  

Bubba Jones
Guest
Bubba Jones

>>> Enough said…  <<<
 
You are quite right about that!!  And, Larry, I just like to say a big THANK YOU for once again contributing the esrati.com community in your usual illiterate, grammatically incorrect manner.   Since we both agree that it’s “enough said”, you can go away now.

Civil Servants Are People, Too
Guest
Civil Servants Are People, Too

@ Larry, once again, allow me to point out that Dayton already has a dog park, and there is another one just outside the city limits in Harrison Twp.      If you want to be taken seriously, maybe you should be asking for ANOTHER dog park, instead of acting like those two parks don’t exist.
 
 
@ Mr. Esrati, your analysis missed my point – the City should be doing everything to make Dayton a better place.   Perhaps the Water idea has merit, but to kill an effective program to pay for it is not sensible.
 
I have yet to see proof (beyond anecdotal evidence) that the programs you despise don’t work.    I agree in theory “corporate welfare is bad” but the fact is that it’s done everywhere because it works.
 
Show us the “donations to large companies” that outweigh the small businesses receiving assistance.   That’s not to say large companies don’t sometimes benefit, but it seems that is the exception to the rule on the local level.   We don’t have very many large companies left!
 
Perhaps you should at least distinguish between state and local-level programs?   That kind of change needs to be top-down from the Feds or the city that quits the game first will be the loser.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Shortwest Rick
Guest
Shortwest Rick

@ larry sizer – perhaps you are barking at the wrong tree, so to say.  It would make sense to me if you want another dog park you should maybe work with the animal shelter toward that goal, a county entity. A hike in annual dog tag fees to fund it so the people actually using it pay for it?

larry sizer
Guest
@ Shortwest Rick: I have been stating an inner-city dog park, a park in the core of the city that would tie and link neighborhoods together, maybe that has not come across. I go regularly to the dog park on River Road and love it, and have meet some rather neat people and dogs on my trips there, the one out on Webster Street is just to far away. Since I live in the inner-city I would love to walk to a dog park, maybe that is selfish on my part, but I also am thinking of what value that would add to the properties. With over 69% of the homes with a dog or pet, or so Google says, people looking to buy a home would consider inner-city a tad more if there was a dog park within walking distance. I just have this idea that has grown into a fever over an inner-city dog park, do you have any idea how difficult it is to catch two squirming jumping Jack Russell’s too get their leads on, that is the easy part, the drive over with each fighting to see who can get who’s nose out of the window the longest. Then when you get in the parking lot, they are climbing all over you before you even get the key out of the car. The leads gets caught every time, from the cork screwing and jumping of seeing who can get out first. Then when I get out of the car, they have spun me into a cocoon from their flamenco dance around me with out the castanets. After I un-twine myself and get them within the fenced area, I am wore out. I just want to get their leads on and walk to the dog park, and they will both be doing a nose to the ground, walking straight at leads length. When I start going to the City Commission meeting and present my idea of an inner-city dog park, I am also going to mention somewhere on the Miami River a fenced in area where they… Read more »
jstults
Member

CSAPT:

I have yet to see proof (beyond anecdotal evidence) that the programs you despise don’t work.

When did you prove that they worked?  Who is the burden of proof on here?  Shouldn’t it be on the people who are spending the money?  All the empirical work I’ve been able to find says that the multipliers tend to be less than one (translation: it’s not a good investment).  Can you point to anything that shows they’re not?  I think that would be really informative.

I agree in theory “corporate welfare is bad” but the fact is that it’s done everywhere because it works.

Sure, it can’t be crazy if everyone is doing it…
 
(and not everyone btw)

nka
Guest

OK everyone, let’s take a deep breath.  We have had plenty of disappointments as those of us who love Dayton have waited for our “White Knight”–blaming Tim Riordan, who is one of the good guys is a dog that just won’t hunt. 

Tim came back to Dayton to take on a thankless task because he loves this town.  During a recent Executive Committee meeting he laid out the City of Dayton budget and pulled no punches.  There are very tough decisions to be made and he has the unfortunate task of being the bearer of bad news.
It’s really easy for those with no responsibility to hurl insults and criticisim.  He’s the real deal–give him a break.

Jeff Dziwulski
Guest
Jeff Dziwulski

You could put a dog park in that big park off Buckeye Street.  It doesnt seem to be used much.n   Or over by the Job Center. 

larry sizer
Guest

@ Jeff of Louisville:
Thank you very much, as this is where my Petition for a dog park is listed at…
Petition for Inner-city Dog Park
We the undersigned are concerned citizens who urge our city leaders to act now to establish a fenced-in, off-leash dog park where well-behaved canine citizens of the City of Dayton can exercise in a clean, safe environment without endangering or annoying people, property, or wildlife; to develop a beautiful, well maintained space open to all dog lovers and friends willing to uphold the park’s rules and restrictions; to view this park as a community project, in partnership with the City of Dayton, designed to satisfy the needs of dog owners and non-dog owners alike. We propose that the dog park be located in the core of the city to the rear of Emerson School, bridging the inner-city, the Oregon and South Park Historical Districts, as well as walking distance to the University of Dayton and the many inner-city dwellers, with ample parking for automobiles along Buckeye Street. In progressive communities across the U. S. of A., dog parks have proven to be a joy for the dog owners, allowing them to watch and interact in a safe, contained environment with their dogs, a pleasure otherwise not possible within a city environment. The area also has tennis courts, basketball court, slides and playground for the young children, and a shaded roofed shelter area nearby. We are asking the city to provide a site, fencing, and funds for an inner-city dog park.

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