Employees’ Bonus Causes Deficit Spending

Deficit spending not authorized by council, city charter or state law

DUNCANVILLE, TX – An “Employee Appreciation Bonus” was distributed to all full-time Duncanville city employees inversely proportional to their salaries. Those earning the least, received the most bonus amount. The bonuses ranged from $1500-$1250. Those employees with less than a year of employment but greater than 6 months received 1/2 of their bonus amount. Greg Contreras Interim City Manager received $1250.
The City Council authorized $300,000 from the General Fund for the bonus in the 2013-14 Budget. Contreras distributed $350,000.00. Mayor Deborah Hodge discovered Contreras exceeded the amount authorized when she was presented the Budget Ordinance that reflected a $350,000.00 amount for the bonus; a $50,000.00 increase from what was authorized by the Council. Mayor Hodge did not sign the altered Budget Ordinance.
The Mayor went back once again to sign the corrected Budget Ordinance. At that time she was informed that the bonus had been paid to the employees. Email correspondence of the Interim City Manager, Finance Director and Personnel Director obtained by this paper show that disbursements were not only taken out of the General Fund as authorized but were also taken out of the Utility Fund, 4B Fund, Drainage Fund, Solid Waste Fund, Red Light Camera Fund, and Grant Fund without authorization.
Councilman Boyd, District 1, when asked about the $50,000 unauthorized expenditure said that it was “nit-picking”. When asked about his concerns that the City Charter allows the Budget to be changed only for dire circumstances, Councilman Boyd stated that the charter needed to be changed because the process mandated by it has the workings of the city “constipated”.
Councilman Dr. Stephen Jones, District 2, provided the following: “The City Charter should be followed to the letter. It is the foundational legal document voted on by the citizens of Duncanville that allows them to dictate how their city government is organized and how their municipal affairs are conducted.”
As of this date the Budget Ordinance has since been corrected and signed by the Mayor.
City employees received a 3% raise 2 years ago. Last spring the city council voted to absorbed the health care increase that amounted to a 3% raise.