Letter: Beware city pay increases
To the editor:
With the change in Basehor’s chief executive, it appears we are headed the way of Bell, Calif., the city so infamous for paying its employees more than the president of the United States.
A close inspection of the plan in Agenda Item 4 of the June 4 City Council work session agenda shows increases of as much as 50.4 percent, and there is a return to the arbitrary cronyism in pay treatment that existed before the current plan was created five years ago. The city superintendent and police clerk are slated for increases of 42.8 percent and 38.3 percent. The police lieutenant is in line for that jackpot increase of 50.4 percent; meanwhile, the real workers in the street department and sewer plant will see a paltry 8.2 percent increase.
The existing plan was created to operate very much like the federal General Schedule system and make the arbitrary good-old-boy characteristics a thing of the past. The last two administrators opposed it and intentionally misinterpreted its provisions to provide increases beyond what had been authorized.
The massive increases in wages are not enough to satisfy our new mayor’s push to buy the love of “his employees” with our money. Item 3 of the agenda dismantles the changes made to the fringe benefit plan last summer limiting the city’s monthly benefit cost per single employee to $375. They want the city to go back to paying 100 percent. Of course, there is no fiscal note stating the cost impact.
The mayor and his staff justify this with the necessity to “compete” for employees. They obviously have no clue about the current economy — there are record numbers of people looking for jobs, many highly qualified and willing to take every job on our staff for substantially less than we are paying those currently demanding more and more.
Editor’s note: The percentage increases cited from the proposed wage plan refer to the maximum possible wages to be paid for those positions. The employees currently holding those jobs would not necessarily receive wage increases in those amounts should the plan be approved.