Thursday, July 26, 2007

More thoughts on mayor's pay cut proposal

I've thought about this a while and want to make sure everyone understands that I think a mayoral pay cut is a good idea. I appreciate when anyone makes suggestions for cutting the costs of government.

And by making the offer to cut his own salary by 10%, Carty, being a shrewd person, may be setting the stage for an across-the-board pay cut for all city employees. While this would meet with substantial opposition from the employees, it would be appreciated by the citizens. Citizens who, by the way, may have gone several years without pay increases when city employees didn't. The city unions, too, would oppose this as they've made 'concessions' and other agreements in the past to obtain their current wage scales.

But, as he hasn't said anything about 'setting the stage,' this is speculation on my part. And in the meantime, the discussion around the city reflects a skeptism of the idea.

Toledoans have seen the mayor spend money - some would say frivolously, but certainly unnecessarily...and it's to the point where a $13,670 cut appears to more of a publicity stunt than anything else.

The reason for this skeptism is all because of Carty's own actions...he spent just under $10,000 to put a shower in his office. He spent $39,900 for flowers and then said it was a 'pittance' when people complained. These are two instances that received a lot of media attention, so most people know about them. So when he makes the gesture to cut his pay by 10%, people see it only as a gesture...(for some of my budget-cutting suggestions, go here)

Knowing Carty, he will be surprised by the reaction of Toledoans to his 'gesture.' I'm sure he thinks he's making a personal sacrifice for the city he loves so much. And I'm equally certain he will not understand the sarcasm that accompanies the reaction and comments about his idea.

But such public reactions should come as no surprise. You can't spend $40,000 on unneeded items and call it a pittance and then expect people to jump for joy when you offer to save less than half that amount.

If this is the first of many spending cuts, the public will support it. But if it's just an empty gesture, the public will see right through it. The real problem is that with Carty, the public never knows for sure.

4 comments:

Kurt said...

I've been out of town for a while, but while I was gone, the city of Toledo seems to have fallen apart. I agree with you Maggie that this is a mere gesture by they mayor. The fact is that if we want quality candidates to run for these positions, the pay must be adequate and reasonable. The most successful and likely most qualified people to run the city would take a giant pay cut by working for the city. If I'm a successful businessman or a partner in a law firm, there is no doubt that I will make more than what the mayor makes now. It takes very capable people to earn such high salaries, but should we discourage such good leaders from running for office by lowering the salary of mayor? No, I don't think so. The only reason the mayor is willing to take a 10% pay cut is because he's never made anything more. There are a lot of successful people here in Toledo, many of whom are more qualified for the job than Carty, but they would never take the pay cut to be mayor of Toledo. I'm not suggesting a pay raise, but a pay cut seems counterproductive.

I understand that people want to see a reduction in spending. I understand that people want tax dollars well spent. But if we truly want the best leaders to run for office, then surely reducing the pay of the executive and legislative offices are counterproductive.

Maggie Thurber said...

Kurt - a lot of people feel the way you do about salaries.

I, however, don't look just at salaries. I think the entire compensation package needs to be the main issue - including vacation, pension (PERS), 401k (or government equivalent), holidays, health insurance, etc.

These 'perks' are often more generous than in the private sector, because wages were traditionally lower.

Luke said...

Good points, Maggie, as always. Carty is a showman and he talks like one. "Come one, come all. Carty Finkbiner will cut his pay by $13,000 and then spend $40,000 on flowers. It's amazing!"

Glad I don't live in Toledo. Though Providence Township has its own problems.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Maggie,

Having watched "his dishonor" for the last 20+ years, I'm guessing that he'll parlay his “magnanimous” sacrifice (read as, shrewd ploy)/ gesture into a call for across the board cuts, rather than excising the managerial bloat first. He likes lots of managers to thump on, verbally or otherwise.

He knows full well that the labor positions (all union) are "protected," to some degree, by their respective contracts, and he risks a very bloody nose if he tries to mess with the union force's agreements.

That leaves him free to cut more positions like he has is garbage collections, which is a prelude to calling for privatization early next year, right about budget time.

This whole charade could then be the introduction to his reelection campaign, if he isn't unceremoniously dumped on his ass (IMO, deservedly so) by the voters first.

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