The War Crimes Times
rank caused their pay to be higher thantheir County pay. It would take somehistorical research to see what we paid.Given the sensitivity of this issue and before we act, I believe it would beproper for the Board to direct staff toconduct such research and prepare areport by a majority vote in a pub-lic session.
As you can see, the city and countydid not calculate or even address the costof providing pension continuity. I gotmore complete numbers from SantaMonica. On October 6, 2009, City Coun-cilmember Kevin McKeownwrote meback as follows:
I already (in 2007) had the City of Santa Monica Finance De-partment calculate the cost of the first four years of the war in Iraq, just to the City
and that came out to between$145 and $153.2 million. It included things other thandirect federalization of em-ployees, but clearly any juris-diction could perform thesame calculations.
The next day, in responseto my further inquiries,McKeown wrote,
Not only can you sharemy earlier and more genericnumbers on the TOTAL cost to our community of the war,attached please find aspreadsheet that is very spe-cific about the payroll cost of the federalization of SantaMonica city employees in themost recently completed fis-cal year. Over half a milliondollars out of the payroll budget of just one small cityof about 90,000!
I cannot see why the cityand county would not be ableto give real numbers such asSanta Monica has. Overtimeworked to cover for positionsheld vacant due to deploy-ments should be fairlystraightforward. Calculatingpension costs would be morecomplicated but not morecomplicated than other calcu-la ti o ns t ha t c it y fi-nance makes.One thing is perfectlyclear in all this: There is a lot
of money involved. I‘ve con-
sulted with a retired attorneywho has experience in federalcourts about suing to recover these costs. His initial ap-praisal was that the path of least resistance would be to
This is but one aspect of the costs to one California city of the occupation of Iraq
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When the federal government takesour employees, should they be respon-sible for the cost to our community?In 2009, when I ran for Santa Bar-bara City Council, I was present for budget discussions where Police Chief Cam Sanchez explained that one of thedifficulties of the previous years wasthe cost of un-funded federalmandates that ap-plied upon the acti-vation and deploy-ment of reservistsand National Guardwho are part of the
city‘s police force.
He had up to four cops out at a time!City Attorney SteveWiley outlined for me the mandates and associated costs:The city is required to hold the posi-tions open, causing overtime for theremaining officers. Also, the rules man-date pension continuity (so, no savingsthere). Additionally, the city pays asalary differential so that a private willnot lose the house he bought as a citypolice officer.The mandates and differential applyto all city, county, and agency employ-ees (Metropolitan Transit District, etc.),not just cops.When I tried to get real numbers fromthe city, I got the following from HumanResources Manager Barbara Barker:
This is in response to your email of October 24, 2010.
Between September 2001 and Novem-ber 2009, we had nine employees whoreceived our military pay differential for a total of $194,944 or an average of $21,660 per em-ployee on mili-tary leave.
As you know the CityCouncil approved apolicy whereby theCity would pay thedifference between
an employee’s City
pay and their militarypay in order to keeptheir salaries wholewhile on militaryleave. We have not had any employeesutilize this policy since November 2009.Information related to benefits, retire-ment, and overtime caused because acoworker is on military leave is not something that we track and as such isnot readily available.
Note that this is only the salary dif-ferential, not the more expensive pensionobligation, overtime, etc. I asked thecounty for the same information. Again,the only information I could get wasabout the differential.This was the responsefr om the county,emailed by then-CEOMike Brown, which he
cc‘d to the supes and
other county staffers:
For those employeeswhose units are acti-vated or individual em-ployees who are acti-vated we do pay thedifference between their military pay and what they were making hereif their military pay isless and we do preservetheir retirement. For thefirst years of the IraqWar we sometimes had as many as 12 gone at one time but this eased down over time and I
don’t know if there are
any gone now. Our pol-icy says we will cover up to 30 months. In the
big picture it wasn’t a
lot of money. Not all activated employeeswho went received it because their military
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Out of Pocket: Costs of War Passed Directly to City and County
by Rowland Lane Anderson
seek a court‘s ―declaration of the respon-
sibility of the federal government to re-imburse, rather than a suit for dollars of reimbursement or for a decree forbiddinguncompensated
Meanwhile, the Santa Barbara Public
Library‘s Central and Eastside branches
are closed Mondays, as of mid-2010, inorder to save $288,964 annually, includ-ing the cost of salaries, utilities, and sup-plies. And the Evening Lap Swim at LosBaños Pool is closed for the winter, tosave the city $10,800.
Rowland Lane Anderson is a member of Veterans For Peace Chapter 54, among
other veterans’ organizations.
The City paid the difference
between an employee‘s City
pay and their military pay
an average of $21,660 per employee. This is only thesalary differential, not themore expensive pensionobligation, overtime, etc.