City department heads slated for raises tied to scheduled union raises
Batavians can take some comfort in the fact that the City Council recently whittled down the proposed tax increase of 3.6 percent down to 2.17 percent, without really sacrificing any city services—the jury is still out on whether the ambulance flap will help or hinder us in the long run.
Nevertheless, some rumors are going around that the Council has instituted raises for all of the city department heads. We put the question to Council President Charlie Mallow this morning in an e-mail. He told us that "all city employees have mandated cost of living increases based on union contracts except seven administrative people." Mallow feels that it's unfair for those seven people not to receive the same sort of "increases"—he never used the word "raise"—as the rest of the union-backed employees.
There is a sense of right and wrong here. I do not believe non-union employees should be punished for not being part of a collective barging unit. Keep in mind that our administrative people have worked hand in hand with council to eliminate close to a $3 million dollar spending deficit in the last two years. The hard work of these administrative people reduced the size of city government. Some people out of sheer ignorance would like to single these people out; I think the rest of the community understands how far we have come and who helped us along the way.
Here are some of the budgeted figures listed under "personnel services"—does not include overtime, social security, supplies, etc.—for a few of the city's top offices (2008 and 2009):
• City Manager's Office: $103,629 (2008), $106,140 (2009)
• Bureau of Finance: $35,639 (2008), $39,040 (2009)
• Bureau of City Assessment: $33,624 (2008), $34,590 (2009)
• Bureau of Inspection: $138,246 (2008); $195,860 (2009)
Strangely, the "Bureau of the Clerk-Treasure" is scheduled for a reduction in its budget for personnel services in 2009. That office was listed at $64,212 in 2008; $60,790 has been listed for 2009.
Since the budget does not break down each city employee's salary into a tidy, comprehensible format, we asked Mallow if the Council had a document illustrating all of the changes that were effected. He replied: "A list of budget changes does not exist; it was a very fluid process." We then asked if the city could provide a list of every employee's salary for 2008 and the proposed salary for 2009. We're waiting on that.
More from Mallow:
The single most important thing behind this budget was planning for the future with a series of contingency funds. These funds will allow the city to save for future equipment purchases. Doing this will allow us to have a stable tax rate in the future and be less prone to large swings like we have seen in the past. People should understand that we have taken on the practices that businesses use every day. We plan, we have goals and we live within our budget.