Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Lisbon Maine's Road to Bankruptcy --- Part 2 -- Cola Increase





I was surprised to see Lisbon's proposed budget included an across the board  2% COLA (cost of living allowance) for all employees. 


For 2017 Retired Social Security Recipients receiving the average benefit of $1,355 will get a measly 0.3% COLA raise, starting in January of 2017.  This equates to $5 more in their Social Security checks.

Why is Lisbon giving all employees a COLA percentage rise almost seven times  higher than what our seniors will receive in Social Security COLA? 

  A Lisbon employee making $50,000 a year (many of our employees make more than this)will get $1,000 dollars or 20 times that of the average Social Security recipient.


Giving a 2% cola increase isn't just a 2% raise in employee salaries it is also an increase in all the costs associated with those salaries. (FICA,  retirement, unemployment insurance, workers comp.  etc) 

These COLA payments also compound.  If we  pay a 2% cola this year, it will be 2% on last years income which includes last years  2% COLA.  Ten years of 2% colas  isn't a 20% raise it is almost a 22% raise in income.


Is it morally right to demand retirees, that ONLY get a 0.3% COLA, pay for a 2.0% COLA for all Lisbon employees? Remember some of our employees, when including benefits, make a six figure income.  

 COLA increases were meant for rank and file employees not department heads or salaried individuals.

In conclusion: If we must give a COLA then that raise should be tied to the increase in the cost of living not some arbitrary number. If our seniors get 0.3% COLA raises lets give the same to Lisbon's employees. 

Call your Councilors and ask them if this is fair?

Respectfully
Joe Hill

INCOMPETENCE IN GOVERNMENT – PART 3 --- by Larry Fillmore

Image result for you can't fix stupid
This all started when the Town Manager, Diane Barnes’, with the help of Lydia Colston, Finance Director, conned the Town Council into amending the Fund Balance Policy on March 7, 2017.  This reduced the requirement to maintain an Unassigned Fund Balance on hand from $2.85 million to $1.74 million.  This freed up approximately $1.11 million of our tax dollars.

This left Mrs. Barnes and the Town Council with a problem of what to do with our tax dollars.  It did not take them long to decide to spend these dollars on things like replacing two new cruisers; upgrade the unnecessary communication center; purchase a wheeler; a paint spreader; a new trailer and a salt shed just to name a few items.  All of these items are going to add to the amount of money it takes to operate this town.  You do realize the tax dollars are determined by the amount of money it takes to operate the town.  With these additions our taxes will continue to rise to cover these costs.  However, the purchase will be made by the Unassigned Fund Balance for this year but on the years out taxpayers will have to cover the maintenance and operating cost with more tax dollars.

Here is a concept that Mrs. Barnes and at least four of the Town Council do not want to hear.  Since these funds are our tax dollars, why not use them to reduce the current operating cost of the town and reduce our taxes for a change.  Can anyone remember a year when our taxes did not go up?  It certainly has been a while.  We know that Councilors Ward, Brunelle, Crafts and Albert are not interested in reducing the operating cost of the town because they had a chance to save the taxpayers $200,000.00 this year by closing the communication center and did not.  Saving taxpayer money is a concept these individuals cannot handle.  This is our tax dollars so why not use it where it will help the taxpayers the most.

Reducing the operating cost would reduce the requirement for more tax dollars. Mrs. Barnes and these members of the Town Council cannot figure out; that you have to reduce spending to reduce the operating cost of the town.  Their answer to everything is to spend, spend spend.

YOU JUST CANNOT FIX STUPID!!!!


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

INCOMPETENCE IN GOVERNMENT – PART 2 --- By Larry Fillmore

INCOMPETENCE IN GOVERNMENT – PART 2
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For years now, I have been telling the community that E. Ryan Leighton has no credentials but is receiving a very large salary.  It is amazing that the Town Manager, Mrs. Barnes, has not assisted Mr. Leighton in obtaining the necessary training.  Everyone, including the Town Council, has let Mr. Leighton slide on everything.

This goes back to when he was impersonating an Engineer.  The state had to step in and tell the town that he was not a qualified Licensed Professional Engineer.  Then there was the Environmental Protection Agency fining the town for several problems and one of these was the sewer department did not have Standard Operating Procedures.  This is a basic action all professionals know to do when taking over a new job.

If you have ever watched a Town Council meeting, you should have noticed that almost every time Mr. Leighton presents anything there are more items unknown than known.  However, the Town Council allows him to slide almost every time.  You would think that someone would try and educate Mr. Leighton so it would improve the quality of the process.  Look and see how Request for Procurements (RFP) is processed without controversy. 

If the town is going to keep employing Mr. Leighton, it is only fair that he receive training.  It is Mrs. Barnes’ responsibility to ensure your town employees are qualified to perform their duties.  She has been allowing this shoddy work to continue without getting Mr. Leighton assistance.

If you doubt anything I am saying go to the Town Council video for April 11, 2017 and start a 2 hours and 31 minutes and listen to the dialog pertaining to the Salt Shed.  Play close attention to how many questions Mr. Leighton cannot answer without the help of the Town Council.  He is asking for $250,000.00 based on a guess because Lewiston salt shed cost $200,000.00 several years ago.  I am sure that we do not use as much salt as Lewiston; so our requirements would be different. Also, try to find out where Mr. Leighton plans on locating it; the size, or even the size of the current salt shed.  There are so many unknowns so how can anyone make a sound decision.  The video is 3 hours and 12 minutes and the Council has more unanswered questions then answered. 

Shouldn’t we expect a Department Head to know everything about an item when they are presenting them?

Larry Fillmore 


Monday, April 17, 2017

Lisbon Maine's Road to Bankruptcy --- Part 5


Why has Lisbon chosen to ask for a 19.2% increase in the town budget when they could have easily saved $250,000 thousand dollars and increased Lisbon resident's safety--by eliminating the Dispatch Center?

Why did 4 of our Councilors vote to keep the Dispatch Center when it is clearly harmful to Lisbon Resident's safety and is also financially disastrous for Lisbon's future development? 

            This decision is not logical.

Usual reasons for bad government decisions:


  •      Money   ---- Someone or group of people are making money either directly or indirectly by averting costly personal or business changes.

  •   Blackmail ---  In this information age people are more vulnerable to blackmail.  The last election cycle has shown us how blackmail is a factor in government decisions.

  • Fear:---          
                     1.   Of the unknown  
                     2.  Of the size of the change


The fact that 3 of our Councilors voted to upgrade our Emergency Communications by going with the County Dispatch speaks volumes.   These Councilors saw the truth and refused to take the easy vote.   They should be commended. 

The truth always wins in the end. Eventually, we will know why the "4 Good Old Boys" voted against Lisbon.

If someone dies because of delayed medical service this bad decision, made by "Lisbon's 4 good old boys", will come back to bite us in the pocketbook.  

Respectfully
Joe Hill

FACEBOOK SHUTS DOWN PRO-LE PEN POSTS AS FRENCH ELECTION NEARS

Just as Mussolini made the trains run on time in Italy, FB is making the news run on time
Jon Rappoport | Infowars.com - APRIL 17, 2017 34 Comments



Well, sure. Wouldn’t you? The woman is running for the presidency of France. She wants to reverse the tide of immigration in her country, so she must be a racist, and whatever she says or whatever anyone else says in support of her is, automatically, fake news, mindless, evil, and the population must be protected from that infection. This is how free speech works. It’s free unless it could do harm, unless certain minds might be taken in by it, and apparently Facebook is stepping up to the plate. Mark Zuckerberg is long overdue for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Zero Hedge: “The first round of French elections will be held on April 23rd, prompting Facebook to shut down pro Le Pen accounts, which they deem to be ‘fake’.”

“In addition to outright bans, the company [Facebook], in conjunction with French media, are running ‘fact checking’ programs — designed to fight ‘fake news’, heightening their efforts around the elections — which spans from 4/23-5/7.”


France must be purified. Only then can media function.

Immigration, you have to understand, isn’t an issue. There is nothing to debate. Immigration is a fact, wholly beautiful, and anyone who wants to limit it is speaking against love, flowers, and the proposition that the sun rises every morning.

Facebook is providing a public service. Just as Mussolini made the trains run on time in Italy, FB is making the news run on time—the real news.

Fake news should be shut down. Free speech only concerns what isn’t fake. Yes, I’m beginning to see the light.

After fake news is purged, then we can have free speech.

Aha. Yes.

Somehow, I must have missed this when I studied the 1st Amendment. James Madison, who wrote it, made this note: “Except for fake news.”

The guiding principle should be: if you’re not sure whether an item or issue or report is fake, don’t talk about it, don’t write about it, don’t express an opinion about it, until the authorities have cleared things up, until they’ve decided whether it’s fake or real.

Mark Zuckerberg is providing us with an easy way to check. If he and his people censor a post, it’s fake. Ignore it. Remain silent.

And if you’re French, don’t vote for Le Pen, unless you want a faker as your president.

Things are basically simple. They really are. If you know how to follow the signs and the warnings and the people in charge.

For example, right now I can sense an errant thought creeping into my mind: a corporation based in the US is colluding with the French government to influence an election in France. But I reject that thought. I denounce it. I urge everyone to denounce it. Pretend I never uttered the thought.

Please. I beg of you.

It’s fake.

This article first appeared at NoMoreFakeNews.com.

GOOGLE ROBO-TOOL FLAGS CONSERVATIVE COMMENTS AS “TOXIC”

AI biased in favor of establishment talking points
Kit Daniels | Infowars.com - APRIL 17, 2017



The Google AI tool used to flag “offensive comments” has a seemingly built-in bias against conservative and libertarian viewpoints.

Perspective API, a “machine learning model” developed by Google which scores “the perceived impact a comment might have on a conversation” in the comment section of a news article, ranks comments based on their “toxicity.”

But when testing out its algorithm, Perspective generally scores conservative and libertarian comments as more “toxic” than establishment talking points.

For example:





As we reported throughout the election, Google preferred Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump, a preference that apparently hasn’t changed:





And the abortion debate between conservatives and liberals:





Perspective has been used by establishment news outlets including the Guardian, the New York Times and the Economist.

“News organizations want to encourage engagement and discussion around their content, but find that sorting through millions of comments to find those that are trolling or abusive takes a lot of money, labour and time,” said Jared Cohen, president of Jigsaw, the Google affiliate behind Perspective. “As a result, many sites have shut down comments altogether, but they tell us that isn’t the solution they want.”

Of course that’s not what they want; the public is increasingly more interested in reading the comment section than the article itself, and if they shut down the comments, readers will flee to another news site covering the same story but with a comment section.

So what better way to control the narrative than by promoting pro-establishment comments while burying conservative and libertarian counterpoints?

Twitter was already doing just that by pinning criticism of President Trump as the top responses to his tweets.

And even before using Perspective, the New York Times would promote “Editor’s Pick” comments which, not surprisingly, agreed with the Times’ narrative.

But for controversial articles, the Times tends to just shut down comments altogether, which of course makes the article look less credible – and this likely explains the establishment media’s interest in Perspective API.

Additionally, Google has hired contractors to bury or outright ban Infowars.com from its search engines, according to investigative journalist Mike Cernovich who was given leaked documents.

“There are a number of controversial, often debunked claims that the site regularly promotes,” the document claims.

GREENFIELD: FREE SPEECH DIES IN BERKELEY

Mainstream media oversees death of free speech at its 'birthplace'
Daniel Greenfield | Frontpage Mag - APRIL 17, 2017 

Berkeley was renowned as the home of the free speech movement, but those leftists who believed that free speech was an effective tactic for their cause have long since been upstaged by those who believe that dissent must be silenced by any means.

The latter always existed, but their views have become dominant and mainstream. There is little opposition among liberals to their rhetoric and even their tactics. And there is a great deal of support.

View image on Twitter



Once rhetoric is translated into reality, that means forcibly silencing people you disagree with. That is what we once again saw at Berkeley. As with BLM riots, the media describes violence as just “breaking out” as if it were a force of nature. It is hesitant to assign blame, which all but tells you who the perpetrators were. Hidden among the passive phrasing is the stench of complicity.

Read more

Sunday, April 16, 2017

INCOMPETENCE IN GOVERNMENT – PART 1 by Larry Fillmore

INCOMPETENCE IN GOVERNMENT – PART 1

It is amazing that the Town Manager and the Town Council are working extremely hard to increase the operating cost of the town.  This is why our taxes continue to go up. 

The Town Manager and the four members (Ward, Brunelle, Crafts and Albert) of the Town Council refuse to try and lower the operating cost of the town.  These individuals are devising ways to increase spending instead of looking for ways to lower our taxes. 

There are so many examples of this it is not funny.  The first example is the Lisbon Communication Center.  These people had a chance to save every year approximately $200,000.00 tax dollars a YEAR and did not.  Another example is we have a Department Head who has NO credentials.  He also has NO managerial skills or common sense.  I am talking about E. Ryan Leighton our Public Works Director and Superintendent of Sewer.

There are so many examples of how very incompetent he truly is but I will so in a three part explanation. The first one is his excessive spending and how the taxpayers are force to pay for his lack training. 

 Remember when he had to have a 4-ton Asphalt Reclaimer (Hot Box).  So the taxpayers purchased the equipment so that the town could improve our roads.  How is that worked out for us?  Our roads are a total disaster including the access way at the Public Works Garage.  I do not remember having these kinds of problems when Button Beale was in charge of Public Works.

Another example is the chipper we purchased.  During the last Town Council meeting the Town Council voted to approve a contract for an outside company to come in and do the trimming and chipping.  The reason give is the volume was too much for Public Works to do and Public Works did not have the manpower to do it themselves.  Why did we purchase it if we did not have the manpower?  The same as the “Hot Box” required a Class A license and Public Works does not have enough Class A licensed individuals to operate the Hot Box”. 

These are just two pieces of equipment sitting in the Public Works garage area the taxpayers purchased that are not being utilized as needed because Mr. Leighton has no managerial skills.

Also, since the Town Manager, Diane Barnes, arrived she has been covering for him.  She encourages him to purchase more equipment and supports him with the Council.  Mrs. Barnes has absolutely no desire to make Mr. Leighton get training or stop him from wasting our tax dollars.


Larry Fillmore   

Friday, April 7, 2017

Stealing Tax Dollars In Lisbon --- by Larry Fillmore

STEALING TAX DOLLARS IN LISBON

The town of Lisbon is stealing tax dollars in the name of COLA.  What is a “Cost-of-Living Adjustment – COLA?  An adjustment made to Social Security and Supplemental Security Income to counteract the effects of inflation.  Cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) are generally equal to the percentage increase in the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W) for a specific period.  This definition can be found at http://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/cola.asp

The Town Manager is responsible for establishing the percentage of COLA which has been paid to town employees for the past five to six years.  However, her recommendation to the Town Council is illegal until the Town Council approves the budget and then it becomes legal.  There has not been a 2% increase in the consumer price index in longer than six years.  Also, instead of the adjustment being paid to wage earners and clerical workers; it is being paid to management too.  It is also in the Town Manager’s contract that she gets any increase paid.
                                                                                                                                           
So now let’s take a look at Mrs. Barnes decision to pay COLA to ALL employees.  Under the Federal system, the consumer price index is utilized to determine the percentage based on inflation.  These past six years, there has been NO increase in inflation so why are the town employees being paid COLA.  What can be the measuring device used to justify the payment of COLA?
1.    Must be a town employee.
2.    Must be breathing or at least have a pulse.

There is absolute no other justification for a COLA increase every year.  So let’s look at the impact:  an employee being paid $30,000.00 after five years of 2% COLA is now $33,123.42 and an employee being paid $90,000.00 after five years of 2% COLA is now $99,367.27.  Remember, these are our tax dollars being spent by the Town Manager and our Town Council.  So what is the town getting in return, nothing?  Employees are being paid a salary to do their jobs; so what are these tax dollars being paid for with no inflation?

The Town Manager uses a lot of terms to confuse the Town Council.  I will explain what I am talking about.  The term “Undesignated Fund” is now “Unassigned Fund Balance”; “COLA” is being used instead of “wage increase” and in the Town’s Annual Report the Town Salary Report reports the “Salary” which is far from the truth.  The “Salary” in the Annual Report is the amount paid to that individual during the year.  This includes overtime and any additional payments so it is NOT a salary.  This tactic is how the Town Manager keeps everyone confused.  There are so many terms used in our town that has other title in other areas but they are the same.  This is how the Town Manager gets things by the Town Council.

I love our employees and think they work hard for us for the most part but paying COLA for doing their job and being compensated very well.  They also receive longevity pay also. 

I think if you are receiving our tax dollars, the town should receive something in return.  The Town Council should never have approved COLA for the past five or six years and they should not approve it now.  To take tax dollars with no return is stealing.

Call your Councilors and voice your concerns because it is your tax dollars.  You should have a right to voice how you want to spend it.


Larry Fillmore 

Neil Gorsuch confirmed as Supreme Court Associate Justice.


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We have a new Associate Justice on the Supreme Court ---Neil Gorsuch-- Vote 54 yes to 45 no.