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Background Information

Employment History

Managing Director
Keystone Municipal Services

Director of Management Services
Keystone Municipal Services

City Consultant
Keystone Municipal Services

Interim City Administrator

Web References (45 Total References)

Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors

www.psats.org [cached]

Bob Sabatini, Director of Management Services Keystone Municipal Services, Inc.

"You're going to be out of ...

dailyitem.com [cached]

"You're going to be out of money by 2015 and have to go into Act 47," said Robert Sabatini, of Keystone Municipal Services Inc.

Act 47 refers to The Financially Distressed Municipalities Act of 1987, which empowers the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to provide for restructuring the debt of municipalities it declares financially distressed municipalities, but it also limits the ability of those municipalities to obtain government funding.
Sabatini, of Mechanicsburg, gave council members a shopping list of recommendations, taken from a 188-page report he prepared for the city.
"Third-class city was on the cutting edge in the 1920s," Sabatini said.
Home rule charters have been allowed since 1968. According to the Governor's Center for Local Government, home rule has proven to be an effective tool for reorganizing local governments to increase effectiveness and citizen participation, and has enabled local initiatives in procedural and substantive matters.
Sabatini said the Sunbury Police Department will need additional staff within two years. But, he said, "a corporal is not just a patrolman with a thing on his shoulder. He should shoulder more responsibility."
He pointed out that city records that go back to the 1920s and earlier have no backup.
"PDF 'em," he said, "and put them on a disk and into a safety deposit box. Those minutes are your history."
Sabatini also offered the following suggestions:
"(Advertising) space can subsidize these programs," Sabatini said.

IAFF Local 1400 |

www.iaff1400.org [cached]

But that means Lebanon might be three or four years from bankruptcy, rather than one or two years, as is the case with many Pennsylvania cities, said Robert Sabatini, the managing director of Keystone Municipal Services Inc. Keystone, based in Mechanicsburg, has studied Lebanon's government for about a year, and Sabatini told the council, "You folks have a little bit of time." Sabatini then summarized a number of recommendations he said are included in a report to be delivered to the council members in the next few days. "You have the ability to right the ship now to avoid hitting the rocks," he said.

The city has been aggressive in controlling costs, but those efforts might have some less-than-favorable long-term consequences, Sabatini said. "You have a thin staff," he told the council. "One or two resignations could have a major impact." He suggested establishing lines of succession and training employees in different jobs. Management salaries are below market rates, he said.
Sabatini also advised city officials to spend more on training supervisors. Employee grievances are most likely to be about lower-level managers, he said. Sabatini recommended a more conservative approach in some areas of spending. "I strongly urge you to be very aggressive in negotiations with employee unions," he said. He said arbitrators aren't being as generous as they once were. "We're not seeing 5 percent to 7 percent increases for public safety anymore," Sabatini said. He said the city needs more flexibility to increase taxes.

Robert Sabatini, director of ...

www.dailyitem.com [cached]

Robert Sabatini, director of management services for Keystone Municipal Services, projected the city would see a $1.2 million deficit by 2013 if it doesn't find ways to increase revenue and shrink expenditures.

Robert Sabatini, director of management services for Keystone Municipal Services, projected the city would see a $1.2 million deficit by 2013 if it doesn't find ways to increase revenue and shrink expenditures.
Instead of taxing, Sabatini said the city needs to look at other ways to raise revenue, including property reassessment, advertising and sponsorships, public-private partnerships and different forms of taxation.
Property reassessment is a task that would be tackled by Northumberland County. The last assessment was nearly 40 years ago, so the average home in Sunbury is valued at $16,000 to $17,000. Being taxed at 20 percent of the average sale price puts the county in the bottom fifth of property assessments across the state, Sabatini said.
He also suggested the city forgo its occupational assessment tax for an increased earned income tax, a move that could pull in an additional $58,000 by 2012.
These revenue-raising opportunities are crucial, Sabatini said, if the city is to handle rising expenditures in areas such as health insurance, which is up 14 percent to 20 percent annually; utilities, expected to rise up to 40 percent in 2010; and the police pension, for which the city will contribute $260,000 in 2009 and possibly up to 50 percent more in 2010.
"The city has been pretty good at controlling the costs you can control," Sabatini said. "But some of these things are out of your hands."
He encouraged the council to increase its use of technology and staff training to decrease costs, to support its fire companies in order for them to remain volunteer and to establish a fund for grant-matching money so the city can quickly take advantage of grants when they become available.
Sabatini will present the second half of his report April 13.

Times Leader | 05/04/2006 | Nanticoke compliance failures disclosed

www.timesleader.com [cached]

City employment applications dated back to 1976 and contained illegal questions that would have put the city in risk of a lawsuit, according to a memo from Robert Sabatini, a city consultant with Keystone Municipal Services.The city now has employment applications that meet current standards.

Some City Hall facilities need to be upgraded to comply with federal Americans with Disabilities Act, the memo said.The act requires that public facilities be handicapped accessible.
Sabatini didn't want to disclose these compliance failures last week during the city's Act 47 hearing.The city wants to be approved for the state's Act 47 relief program as a financially distressed community.
Last week, Sabatini said he would share the information with a state official "off the record."During Wednesday's city council meeting, city Solicitor Joe Lach said Sabatini didn't mean to leave "the wrong impression" that the city wanted to keep secrets from the public.
Lach noted that Sabatini had not briefed elected city officials on the compliance failures last week and said they were "functionally irrelevant" to the city's financial problems.
In his memo, Sabatini said "there is no evidence of any willful disregard for the laws or criminal activity."

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