The Crunchers. A tale of the poor budget managers who must crunch the numbers at City Hall

What is a Wellness Room at Work? (Can They Boost Productivity ...
Among the many amenities and benefits employees at Elk Grove City Hall enjoy is a taxpayer-funded Wellness Room. | 

By DJ Blutarksy | 

As the Elk Grove number crunchers sit huddled in the converted Wellness Room, all is not well at City Hall;

Pencils and Red Bull arrive to the Wellness Room by the caseload, as the Crunchers prepare to sharpen their pencils day and night to help rescue the City Council from their spending habits;

Working by candlelight to save electricity, the Crunchers have declared DEFCON 5 as the latest economic news trickles in from their global satellite feeds;

The Crunchers, tasked with sharpening the City's budget pencils to keep the ship afloat during this fiscal pandemic, are the City's first responders and last hope of keeping the free-wheeling finances in order;

News alerts flash across the screens eliciting more audible gasps from the Wellness Room. "Newsom plans to cut State salaries 10 percent"..."April retail sales crater by a record 16.4 percent"..."J.C. Penney to file for bankruptcy today."..."Plunging sales reflect an economy falling into deep recession"...

The Crunchers sit mortified as they stuff pencil after pencil into their budgetary pencil sharpeners, shavings turning into sawdust, empty Red Bull cans being tossed,  the floor looking like a Bakersfield honky-tonk bar on Friday night; 

The Chief Cruncher yells to his PR Cruncher, "start up the printing press, put out the word that we want everyone to order takeout six times a week and to buy a new car stat!";

Suddenly as if on cue, the whirring pencil sharpeners all grind to a halt and silence envelopes the Wellness Room. The last Red Bull can slips off the edge of the table onto the sawdust-covered floor, resembling a diver gracefully leaping from the Aquatic Center diving board...splash...;

The Crunchers all reach into their emergency duffel bags and dig out red Sharpie pens...they approach the big map of the city hanging vulnerably on the's cut time;

One by one, the Crunchers approach the map and place a big red "X" on their cuts and closures needed to help rescue the city from the fiscal pandemic;

X goes the empty soccer field; X goes the Animal Shelter Hilton; X goes the promised funding towards the old red brick building; X goes the City-match for the Connector...

After running out of X targets, the Crunchers sit down and ponder more painful cuts...X goes the City's 3 percent match of employees supplemental retirement fund...X goes the non-union pay raises...;

One Cruncher even dares to speak out and yell, "what about the Police Department, they are eating up 63% of our budget?"...Another Cruncher yells, "hey, what about a sales tax increase?"..loud applause is heard from the Wellness Room...all is well again!

But a lone Cruncher sits in the corner not buying into the mass applause...maybe the victim of too much Red Bull, maybe not enough sleep, probably both.., and mutters under his breath, "better call Laura"....

Copyright by Elk Grove News © 2020. All right reserved.


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Eye on Elk Grove said...

Great Op Ed D.J. Love the fact that many EGN readers and contributors have very good city of Elk Grove institutional memories. . .especially since the Elk Grove City Council suffers from governance and taxpayer-money-spending amnesia.

Not to mention all of the taxpayer money consistently going to Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard for the outsourcing of the city's legal fees.

The Elk Grove City Attorney's Office has four attorneys. Why? What do they do all day? Play Words with Friends? As reported in The Sacramento Bee just yesterday, $250K alone has been paid out to Kronick Moskovitz for legal fees for the aquatics center lawsuits.

Let's also not forget that City Attorney Jon Hobbs was a partner at Kronick before taking the city attorney's job. Hobbs seems to farm out a lot of legal fees to his former firm. Again why? Begs the question: Does Hobbs have a deferred comp account with Kronick, and as is done with other law firms, current legal fees fund deferred comp accounts. Could the same be happening with Kronick and all of those billable hours Hobbs is generating for Kronick? Fair questions? After all it is taxpayer money. . .though you would won't it know by the way the Elk Grove City Council spends taxpayer money like water.

Bottom line: The Elk Grove City Council members are ultimately responsible for every taxpayer dollar misspent by the city. Do they even know how much money is going to Kronick? Bet not!

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