By Sara Brown -
The Ways and Means Committee will report to the city council as a whole to allow $15,000 for a new revolving fund to help city workers get advance training.
Members of the subcommittee seemed hesitant at first about the account which will primarily be used to reimburse city workers who attend trainings and seminars.
“There is no account for training employees. That’s the main reason we want the revolving account, so they can improve their skills to serve the public,” Director of Finance George Anzuoni said.
Money from the account will also be used to reimburse mayor dan rizzo for toll and mileage expenses for travel around the state.
The money from the account is coming from the money MetroPCS pays the City. Originally, the account was slated to be $30,000.
“I don’t know if this is a good idea,” Councillor-at-Large Bob Haas said. He wants to make sure the money is going specifically to job training.
“I want to make sure we aren’t paying for people to get degrees, just on the job training,” he said. Anzuoni assured him that was the case.
Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso said he would like to see a specific breakdown of what the money will be used for in advance. Councillor-at-Large Jessica Giannino agreed and said that instead of creating a separate account, there should be separate line items in the budget within each department.
Anzuoni said it would be difficult to know what seminars and conferences employees will attend, because they don’t usually know what conferences are happening until a month in advance.
“I think in a perfect world and a perfect economy everyone would love to have money for training but right now I don’t think it’s essential,” Giannino said. “It’s not on a need basis; it’s on a want basis.”
“It’s just a very vague account, there are other ways to break it down,” she added.
Ward 5 Councillor John Powers wanted to see a specific amount for what will be used for mileage reimbursement.
“I think to just throw $30,000 in there to use for anyone’s discretion, including the mayor, is not good budgeting,” Powers said. “I have no problem giving the mayor an adequate amount to cover his expenses. I think that’s acceptable. But I don’t think it’s okay to just leave a blank amount for this mayor or any mayor in the future.”
Anzuoni said the mayor will have to show receipts for tolls and mileage just like any department head has to do, according to a union agreement.
Councillor-at-Large Brian Arrigo asked for monthly reports on the account, “So we know what’s going into the fund and what’s going out. If we can see some reports on it and see transparency, I don’t have a problem with this account.”