Budget Idiocy From Shirley Franklin

The Mayor of Atlanta has once again shown her total lack of ability to prioritize those jobs which are critical to the city, as the AJC is reporting.

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin’s staff wants to eliminate most of the jobs in the solicitor and public defender offices and cut their budgets by up to 60 percent — an idea some City Council members oppose. The solicitor’s office staff would be reduced 72 percent, from 54 employees to 15, according to documents obtained Tuesday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The public defender’s office would be reduced 61 percent, from 28 to 11 employees.

The City Solicitor’s Office prosecutes roughly 200,000 cases a year. Brilliant place to cut staff from! Plus, WGST is reporting this morning that pink slips are already going out to Atlanta’s Fire Department.

9 comments

  1. StevePerkins says:

    I actually kind of agree with Rogue here, generally speaking (I don’t know enough about the specifics to say if any of these areas were overstaffed or had filler in the budgets).

    However, it’s nothing short of SAD to see some of the posts that have been made this week regarding spending. A few days ago, Erick actually found some minor art/culture line-item on a budget that he (begrudgingly) thought could be cut… and he referred to this opinion as part of “his libertarian streak”. Now Rogue, probably the most belligerently partisan Republicans with front-page privileges, posts a rant actually chastising the mayor for cutting the size of government.

    What the hell is going on with Georgia Republicans? They don’t even PRETEND to be about smaller government and fiscal restraint anymore (just tax schemes that shuffle burdens around from one person to another). The things that they used to talk about back when they were the permanent-minority party are the exact same things they’ve BECOME today (with Libertarians basically toeing the 90’s Republican line). In Georgia government, the labels may have changed a lot over the past ten years… but things overall really haven’t.

  2. Chris says:

    Steve,

    I assume you and I both agree that Government has a few legitimate functions, those are to protect life, liberty and property, provide for the common defense, and to act as a neutral arbriter of disputes. Can we agree on that?

    Ok – so. Franklin’s cut in government eliminates Firefighters (who protect life, property and it could be argued provide for common defense), and solicitors/public defenders who are charged with prosecuting/defending those individuals in society who attempt to violate someone’s life, liberty and/or property.

    Where in all the valid functions of Government does an art museum show up?

    Franklin is cutting the city budget in the two places where Government has a proper role.

  3. StevePerkins says:

    Farris, I hope you know me well enough to know that I’m not from the anarchist fringe. Re-read the very first sentence in my comment above. While I’m honestly not knowledgeable enough to know how much if any fat is in those departments… I do support government’s basic police power with regard to public safety (i.e. firefighters). I’m also not one to favor throwing lawyers out of work. 🙂

    That said, I still think it’s pathetic that ONE elected official actually calls for balancing a budget through spending cuts rather than tax or fee hikes… and not only is it a “Blue City” Democrat, but it’s the “Red State” Republicans pouncing on her for it.

    There’s a $140 million budget deficit, with infrastructure crumbling and the sewage system so bad off that it makes national news. The economy is slowing, and the affluent white suburbs are incorporating to pull themselves out of the tax base (“We want to live next to a city for the jobs, but we don’t want to be impacted by the city in the slightest. It should just magically exist like a natural resource.”) Apparently, under the mayor’s proposal even the best-off departments will have to face 25 percent cuts.

    Should THIS department get cut more than THAT department, or vice versa? I don’t know, but SOMETHING has to give… and no option will be popular. Either dramatically cut spending, or dramatically hike taxes/fees. Of course, if the city does the latter, then suburban Republicans will jump all over the mayor for that too. Pathetic… fiscal responsibility my #$%.

  4. Rogue109 says:

    Now Rogue, probably the most belligerently partisan Republicans with front-page privileges, posts a rant actually chastising the mayor for cutting the size of government.

    Steve: Interesting point. My problem with this is that it is going to cripple the prosecution of misdemeanors within the City of Atlanta. Instead of going after the more than 2,000 other employees that Franklin has brought in during recent years who are working in community development, etc., she cuts the legs out from the office that is prosecuting DUI and traffic offenses.

    This is the surest way to keep the roads more dangerous for the people. Of course, it also means that if you get a DUI in Atlanta, you’ll be just fine.

  5. StevePerkins says:

    As a minor point, I would note that she’s proposing almost equal cuts to the Public Defender’s office (which Peach Pundit posters have been screaming to see cut for awhile now). This would mean that affluent people might catch some slack on a DUI, but poor people would not. I’m (pleasantly) surprised that anyone here would have a problem with such a notion.

    More importantly though, I’ve repeatedly said here that neither the Solicitor’s nor the Public Defender’s should be the first place to look for the deepest cuts. I would prefer starting instead by not robbing education funds to build a beltway that probably only a few tourists would use. Regardless, $140 million dollars is a pretty huge shortfall… and I doubt that enough art exhibits and other Republican-favored targets could be found to plug that hole entirely. Plus, this is the first time that anyone’s even suggested anything else that could be cut instead. Even though we probably agree that the priorities are out of whack here, I still bristle at the fact that she’s basically being criticized for wanting to go the spending cut route at all… when she would no doubt likewise be criticized by going the tax increase route. Even without 100% agreement, I’m just dumbfounded in a positive way that any Georgia politician has the nerve to propose cutting anything at all.

  6. Rick Day says:

    if they quit prosecuting people for minor possession of drugs, there would be no need for this.

    \priorities.

    From Ireland, \i am

    Rick Day

  7. Rogue109 says:

    While I’m honestly not knowledgeable enough to know how much if any fat is in those departments…

    Steve: That is fair and perfectly understandable. I’ve been in these courts from time to time (no, not as a defendant) and can tell you with certainty that this will cripple the system.

    See, I’m not THAT belligerent!

  8. OleDirtyBarrister says:

    Well, the really important thing is that she is maintaining the departments and jobs that count, like the Bureau of Cultural Affairs, the Diversity Coordinators, and the people that handle affrimative action/disadvantaged business contracting to ensure nothing ever gets done at fair market value.

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