So, a few things to mull over:

  • I just had a meeting with Council President Ben Hueso. He mentioned his desire to explore the idea of combining the city and county government functions where they overlap and basically kicking the county’s bureaucracy out of the city.

    Two words: Love it. I mentioned the idea briefly a few weeks ago in a column about the mayor facing reality with the city’s financial crisis. It seems at least worth exploring as the county government’s overall mission seems less and less clear with every year I spend watching it. San Francisco seems to have figured out how to provide the services for which a county is responsible through the same bureaucracy that handles city functions.

    Are they just smarter than us?

  • Wild ERP Update!The City Council’s independent budget analyst released a report recently that’s gotten the attention of Hueso and others. But those of us obsessed with the city’s troubled attempt to move to a new computer system also got a little something in it.

    Yes, I’m talking about Wild ERP.

    The IBA’s report is a response to the mayor’s most recent five-year fiscal outlook. First, a point: It’s good that the mayor is doing these regular fiscal outlooks. They provide a starting point for a discussion. You’ll note they’ve provoked City Councilman Carl DeMaio into a frenzy of counter-analysis of his own which is equally interesting.

    But, the IBA took issue with one of the mayor’s projections. She says he’s wrong to assume Wild ERP — this sprawling multi-year migration to a new software system — will cost the city more money in coming years. The mayor added the paltry estimate of $4 million into his projection of what the effort will cost next year.

    Here’s what the IBA says:

    … the justification for an additional $4 million for FY 2010 is unclear and presumptuous. The IBA opts to remove this new $4 million requirement from the baseline scenario, as any increased funding needs for this project are a policy decision deserving City Council review and approval, which has not yet occurred and should not be assumed. Many changes have taken place over the past several months related to the ERP project, both in terms of City leadership and consultant support, which may result in delays to the project schedule and/or revisions to its scope.

    Presumptuous? Oh snap! Mayor, you going to take that?

  • I’ve been meaning to talk about this but forgot: I heard from Councilwoman Donna Frye the other day. She had some interesting news. Remember the two city employee benefit issues she had tried to get docketed when Scott Peters was council president? She said that his avoidance of them was part of what fueled her effort to gut the power of the council president’s post (remember that? Feels like a year ago).

    Anyway, Frye reported that she had, under the new council president, gotten one of those items docketed for closed session. It was the one about the DROP retirement benefit and purchases of service credits for employees.

  • Finally, I was on KPBS’ “Editor’s Roundtable” today. You can have a listen here.

Have a good weekend. I have another update on solar usury that I’ll try to get up by Monday. I’ve been asked to try to get the word “usury” into as many posts as possible in coming weeks. We’ll see how that goes.

SCOTT LEWIS

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