Friday, November 25, 2011


Louisville Metro Merger Success or Failure?
When merger was passed, though I have yet to find anyone who would admit to voting for merger, many things were promised. Primarily we were promised this would streamline the process for attracting new jobs, we would have a smaller more centralized government, and of course the whole transparent government as well.

Merger has been a dismal failure in ALL areas and the way it has been handled is exactly why I voted against it.

The democratic mafioso in this town would, I knew, take the potential benefits of what merger could be and use it to line their pockets. The sad part is Abramson as the biggest public face of this rape continues to get elected.

How dumb are we Louisville to elect this man to a Lt Governor job so they could try and install him as Governor in the very near future?

In 2008 I started outing the fallacies of merger and comparing us to another City with a similar land mass but 1.5 times the population. San Diego previous stories

Using this model I put out a basic guideline that would save $1.8 million of our tax dollars just by downsizing the over bloated Metro Council on salaries alone. One Council member and one aide I stated then would save this money.

The Courier Journal recently put out an article saying merger was a failure Courier thanks to a commissioned report by Darryl Owens. Admittedly, Owens and I have no love lost for one another and I rarely, if ever, agree with him on anything but this report is meaningful in many ways.

From the CJ:   The 2003 merger of Louisville and Jefferson County governments has failed to bring more jobs and economic development to the city, according to a University of Louisville report published this month.

The city-county merger also has failed to bring a more efficient government to residents, according to the report, by urban and public-affairs professor Hank Savitch. The report claims economic development “has not accelerated but moved downward” and that the decline cannot be blamed on the economy.

While Abramson and the Democratic mafia have been intent trying to blame the economy for the economic problems, clearly this is not the case.

“The decline is not just a product of the national recession that began in 2008, but had beset post-merged Louisville while the nation was in the midst of economic growth,” the report says.

Savitch goes on to state that......." promises of a more efficient government also fell short. He writes that the cost of running metro Louisville is not substantially different from the combined costs of running separate city and county governments."

And of course the obligatory downplaying to set up the denial by a well known democrat insider who was put in place solely to get merger with his republican counterpart Rebecca Jackson:

Dave Armstrong, a former mayor who co-chaired Fischer’s merger task force, said the report addresses issues that the mayor did not ask the task force to consider.

“It’s all stuff that (Savitch) and Darryl would like to see,” Armstrong said. “I don’t know where they’re coming from. Hank sat through all our meetings and never brought up these issues at all.”
No Mr. Armstrong you brought us this mess and it is something we the people would ALL like to see addressed.

Savitch contends that “modest” reductions in the government’s workforce have been offset by higher personnel costs, and that it has been “difficult to identify enhanced service performance.”

And how was this discovered?

He said a document given to the task force called “Merger by the Numbers” claimed personnel had been reduced by 1,724 people between fiscal year 2002-03 and last fiscal year. But Savitch said that number is inflated because temporary and seasonal workers who are not entitled to benefits were included in the pre-merger total.

 “There are considerable flaws in information that has been provided to the task force,” Savitch wrote, adding that other important information such as cost per employee, trend lines and adjustments for inflation were omitted.

Most of us knew that already as the task force was nothing more than political hacks running the show to justify their existence. In this case thanks must go to Owens for going beyond that.

Savitch said an accurate comparison of employee numbers shows 242 fewer full-time employees from the last year of pre-merged government to fiscal year 2009-10. But the cost of the remaining workforce has gone up substantially, according to the report.

According to Savitch’s report: The cost per employee in the year before merger was an average of $64,177, when adjusted for inflation. Last fiscal year, that cost was $72,195 per employee.

My favorite part?

“Whatever might be said about Metro Louisville’s performance, it would be difficult to claim that merger saved the new government any money,” the report says.

Savitch said that during the eight years of merged government, information about the cost of those services in the old city limits has never been released. The report says Louisville is the only major consolidated government that doesn’t make the information available — Lexington, Nashville, Jacksonville, Indianapolis and Charlotte all do.

So much for transparency huh?

So here is the deal. I started questioning this years ago right here at LNP. While lamestream had the opportunity to get involved they chose to remain silent presumably to protect Abramson as always. These stories could have been out during the recent Gubernatorial election but were not. IMO intentionally so.

Here are some real numbers you can sink your teeth into.

Using San Diego's model alone, we can eliminate 18 council members and their LA for an immediate payroll savings of $1.8 million. When you include the discretionary funds they control ($225,000 per member) the total rises to $5.85 million.

Factor in health care, pensions, support staff, and everything else that goes along with this bloated government that number easily exceeds $20 million.

Abramson continued lying to us about having shortages of $15 - $20 million each year during recent budgets. This plan eliminates that.

Want to keep merger intact? Address the issues brought forth by Darryl Owens and downsize this unnecessary over bloated Metro Council and we have the savings necessary to move forward.

Personally I prefer rescinding merger and go back to a government that actually worked for the County residents but I am flexible if we get control of what we have.

One thing is for sure though.

We need to get rid of these established lifelong politicians and begin anew. Throw the incumbents out. start with the Democratic mafia that allowed Abramson to do this in the first place.

See you next time.
Listen daily from 7-8pm at The Ed Springston Show. Also visit Louisville Politics for more details and in depth coverage of local political and news issues.

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Ed Springston


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