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Tapes Show Otherwise: Mayor Denies Knowledge Of Cutback Plans.

Mayor Barry Brucker launched a publicity campaign earlier this week to dispute articles in The Beverly Hills Courier in its Oct. 24 edition reporting on contingency plans prepared by City staff to cut all City services.  

An email, addressed to the Courier, was widely distributed by the No on H campaign organization, “Citizens Right to Decide Committee” headed by longtime anti-development activist Larry Larson.  

The email apparently used a PTA email list in violation of the organization’s policy on use of its lists.  Brucker then appeared on Iran Radio station Tuesday and repeated the assertion.

Brucker told the radio audience in an interview recorded this past Saturday,

“We have never once had a discussion that we were contemplating cutting our police, our fire, out library or our senior citizen centers.”

 However, at the Oct. 14 City Council study session meeting, City Manager Rod Wood addressed Brucker and colleagues stating, “There is a question on how fast the economy might decline..we monitor it almost daily …we have for each department a plan to reduce department spending by 10 percent.”

 Wood followed, “If the economy takes a sudden dive, we will have to make sudden adjustments and we are prepared to do that.”

At the meeting, Brucker acknowledged the  comments, stating  he noticed a decline in revenue. When at the market, he said he asked an employee if sales were down, the employee remarked, people are buying hamburgers instead of t-bone steaks.

To watch this study session, and hear Wood’s comments, visit beverlyhills.org, click the government task bar, click on city council, click city meetings, click minutes, click the blue link on the bottom for archived minutes, click Oct. 14. Here you will find the Oct. 14 study session.

The comments are said in Chief Financial Officer Scott Miller’s report on potential impacts of the financial crisis.

While city positions are posted on the city Web  site as “open,” as Brucker stated, none will be filled at present.  As the Courier reported, Wood has asked each city department to reconsider each new position and compare it to existing positions to determine which can be eliminated in order to freeze city staff at current levels.

He will not fill any position until he receives those replies.  Wood confirmed to The Courier this week that its article is accurate.  Wood made the same comments about city staff and hiring to the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce two weeks ago.

Brucker’s email asserts that city finances are sound, but fails to mention the budget deficits expected sometime next year which are well-known to council members and city staff.

According to sources,   Brucker has acknowledged in open session times that the City will go into deficit based on spending levels passing anticipated revenues.  

To help provide sufficient city income to avoid deficits, Brucker was instrumental in negotiating the new William Morris Building inside the City’s Golden Triangle and voted for the zoning change which would allow the new Waldorf Astoria Hotel to be built.

Brucker faces re-election in March.

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