City Proposes “Bleak” Budget for Jobs and Training Programs
Apr 16, 2015
Frank Tucker Removed from WIB Board, Reinstated by Mayor’s Office
By Ken Epstein
The Oakland Workforce Investment Board (WIB) this week released a “bleak” budget proposal for 2015-1016 that would slash funding for jobs and job training between 19 percent and 22 percent and 50 percent for the Summer Youth Program.
While the federal money – $4.6 million – that the city receives from the state will remain steady, city staff says that this will represent a 30 percent or $2 million cut in the pot of money that can be used to support job seekers.
Despite repeated requests by the City Council, no city money has been directed to these job programs. “At this time, staff is not anticipating an infusion of City General Purpose Funds to support our federally funded Workforce Investment System,” the report said.
At the meeting of the WIB Executive Committee Wednesday, members questioned why the city says there is a decline in funding when the federal money the city receives remains flat. They also discussed the drastic impact these cuts will have on the jobs of workers at service provider agencies and the loss of services for youth, particularly out-of-school youth, and the formerly incarcerated and chronically unemployed.
“We’ve presented this fairly bleak … budget picture, (but) this should come as no surprise,” said Al Auletta, city development/redevelopment program manager.
The current year’s budget has not been impacted, said WIB Director John Bailey, because it has contained money that had been unspent in the previous year. However, there will be no unspent money to carry forward into next year.
Said Gay Plair Cobb, CEO of the Oakland Private Industry Council: “What has been lacking (in these budget discussions) is analysis of the impact on the public, the end users – both service providers that may have to close their doors and the many people who won’t be served, unless the city steps up to the plate and covers some of its own extraordinary costs of administering the system.”
Also at the meeting, there was of discussion of why local businessman Frank Tucker had been precipitously removed from board but later reinstated this week. Tucker, a longtime WIB member, had been asking questions about why the WIB takes so much of the money off the top for overhead.
He also was pushing for the WIB to adopt a resolution calling on the City Council to take action to ensure police accountability in the wake of the shooting of Walter Scott in South Carolina and other unjustified police killings.
Tucker met with WIB Director Bailey on Monday for over an hour, unsuccessfully trying to get Bailey to put the police issue on the executive board agenda.
After that discussion, Bailey told Tucker that his term as a WIB member had expired in November and that he was no longer on the board. Asked why he had taken to so longer to deliver the news, Tucker said Bailey told him that he had “procrastinated.”
However, Tucker soon heard from Mayor Libby Schaaf’s office that he had been reappointed to the board, at least until the end of October.
“I am not a large corporation. I am the CEO of a small business, and this (work) takes me away from growing my business and my commitments to my customers,” said Tucker. “But as a small business owner, I have stayed on the board to work to solve Oakland’s high levels of unemployment.”
In a reply to question from the Oakland Post, Bailey wrote: “As a result of an administrative oversight, (Tucker) was not informed that he was not reappointed in November after serving more than 14 years as a member of the WIB. Staff worked with the Mayor’s office to rectify that situation, and Mr. Tucker was reappointed to serve on the board until Nov. 1.