Letters to the Editor

Some lose sense of reality when spending money

Why is it, when some politicians are spending other people’s money, they seem to lose all sense of reality?

I speak of the recent decision by a majority of the Buckley City Council to approve a 9.5 percent salary increase to exempt city staff. Please remember, this was advanced by a city administration that has cried poor mouth the last two budget cycles and comes at a significant cost to city ratepayers.

Along with internal stipends in each contract the cost is probably higher than 9.5 percent. This all started with a “city envy” comparative study presented to the Admin and Finance Committee, based on salaries paid to specific job titles. The cities used in the study have very little comparison to Buckley as all have grown from 20 to 92 percent in the last 10 years while Buckley, smaller initially, has only grown 5 percent. Many cities used are now 50 to 100 percent larger with strong retail bases that help sustain city operations. Buckley’s citizens see the retail business in the empty and ever-changing storefronts along the city’s one and a half block Main Street.

This has been an ongoing drama since the first of the year at the Admin and Finance Committee meetings with only one council member voicing opposition. As a critic of city administration I no longer receive handouts from this committee, so information is gleaned from comments made during discussion. But there is a much not to like in the way meetings are conducted, demands made, positions and agreements established.

For example, the city administrator’s contract previously included stipends for added duties which were relinquished without the stipend being dropped from the contract. Now the stipends return, additional pay is involved and comp time is also allowed without any sort of check to prevent abuse. By all appearances citizens are paying multiple times for the same service. When concerns are raised about the city administrator of any type, the immediate response is this needs to be in executive session. I don’t believe so; the city administrator is a public official, thus exempt from libel law and should be evaluated in public yearly, which I don’t think has ever happened. The city administrator has a history which some in elective office are well aware of that should have been taken into account when doing this most recent contract.

Again, when you see council members Harple, Montgomery and McNally, thank them for their attempt to look out for Buckley’s citizens. They need more help in the way of added fiscally sane votes on the City Council.

Marvin Sundstrom

Buckley

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