Archive for Monday, July 11, 2011

Cromwell defends giving city employees raises while private sector employees often go without

Mayor also confirms negotiations with police, fire employees at impasse

July 11, 2011

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On the street

What’s the best perk that has come with a job you have had?

I was on the cart staff at a country club and I got free golf every week. I could bring a guest on, too.

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Mayor Aron Cromwell has heard the question before: Why should city employees get a raise when so many in the private sector haven’t?

“It is a tough question,” Cromwell said Monday as commissioners finalize the 2012 city budget. “But I remind people that we are relying on lots of city employees for health and safety matters for our residents. That isn’t the same situation with every private sector job. The services our employees provide are the sort of things we really value in this community.”

But Cromwell acknowledged that figuring out how to give employees a raise for 2012 is proving to be more difficult than it has been in past years.

City Manager David Corliss is advising commissioners that the best way to provide compensation increases to employees is to raise the city’s property tax rate. Corliss’ recommended budget calls for a 0.6 mill increase to fund about $535,000 in compensation increases.

Cromwell said he’s not yet comfortable declaring that a pay raise for city employees is a certainty as part of the 2012 budget. He said commissioners may look to reduce Corliss’ recommendation in an effort to reduce the size of the property tax rate hike.

Overall, Corliss’ recommended budget calls for an increase of 2.8 mills in the city’s property tax rate. The majority of the increase — 1.7 mills — comes from a voter-approved expansion of the Lawrence Public Library. A mill is $1 in tax for every $1,000 in assessed valuation.

At their weekly meeting Tuesday, commissioners will set the maximum size of any mill levy increase — one of the final steps before giving final approval to the budget in mid-August.

Police and fire negotiations

Commissioners will set the key budget amounts without having agreements with the city’s police and fire unions. Contracts expire for both groups at the end of 2011, and Cromwell confirmed the negotiations, which began in April, have reached an impasse. Work on contracts continues, Cromwell said. He said a major issue has been to come up with a responsible way to bring police and fire salaries up to industry averages.

“A main concern is achieving that average,” Cromwell said. “That is easy to say, but determining what that average is can be difficult.”

Cromwell also confirmed that the city is seeking a multiyear agreement with police and fire. Past agreements have been for just one year.

As for compensation increases, the $535,000 in Corliss’ budget is less than what the city has set aside for pay raises in past years. In the past two years, the city has set aside $650,000 and $880,000 to fund pay increases for workers funded from the city’s general fund. That includes most city employees but not all. Employees, such as utility workers and sanitation workers, for example, also received increases, but their wages are funded through user fees rather than general property taxes. The city has about 760 employees.

Health care costs

Pay is just one employee issue in front of the commission. Commissioners also are trying to determine how many changes to make to the city’s health insurance plan. Currently, city employees don’t pay a premium for their health insurance, although they do pay a premium to add a spouse or children to the plan.

Corliss previously had suggested employees start paying an $11-per-pay-period (biweekly) premium for their insurance. But Corliss’ recommended budget has backed away from that proposal. The current recommendation is that employees would pay a $5-per-pay-period premium. But that premium would be rebated to employees if they agree to fill out a health assessment and either sign a pledge to not smoke or to join a smoking cessation program.

Deductibles would rise under the current proposal from $300 for singles to $700 and from $600 for families to $1,400. But the city also is proposing to create new Health Reimbursement Accounts for every full-time city employee. The city would place $250 or $500 in each account, depending on whether the employee also has family members on the city’s health plan. The money in that account could be used to help pay for health care deductibles. Unspent money in the account could roll over to the next year.

“We know that a lot of employers our size are going to an account-based plan,” said Diane Stoddard, assistant city manager. “We think it will help encourage consumerism.”

The city also is proposing to spend about $165,000 to fund a new “health clinic” that would be open to city employees. Lawrence Memorial Hospital would operate the clinic in space at the hospital.

City employees would be able to use the clinic for standard medical office type of visits — everything from the flu and the cold to more chronic conditions — Stoddard said. Employees would be able to use the clinic without paying any deductibles or co-pays.

Employees would have to agree to undergo the city’s health assessment and pledge not to smoke or to enroll in a program to quit smoking in order to use the clinic. Family members of employees, under the current proposal, wouldn’t be allowed to use the clinic. The city hopes the clinic will lead to a healthier workforce, which ultimately will reduce the number of insurance claims.

“We’re really interested in monitoring how this idea works,” Stoddard said.

Commissioners will meet at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

Comments

Cant_have_it_both_ways 4 years ago

They get a pay raise, I take a pay cut to fund it.

Why don't we just all stay where we are at and none of us get hurt?

Evan Ridenour 4 years ago

Why should thousands of people who aren't receiving pay raises themselves be forced to pay more in taxes to give raises to city employees?

That is the disconnect. Of course the city employees work hard (for the most part). I don't think anyone is disputing that. But the fact is that no one in this city is getting a raise except the city employees and since the people who pay property taxes are the only ones funding these raises that is BS. All of the people who are effectively paying for this proposed pay raise work hard too. Many of them are barely getting by as things are. Find some way to give them the raise without increasing property taxes or don't give them the raise.

notanota 4 years ago

The disconnect is that you keep asking, "Why does this other guy get something nice?" Instead of asking, "Why don't I have it, too?"

Evan Ridenour 4 years ago

You must not own property in this town. If it was your pocket that the city raided repeatedly you might be singing a different tune. The city leaders need to wake up and realize that just because they legally can raise the mill levy for whatever they want doesn't mean they should.

If room in the current budget can't be found for raises then raises should not be given. Just because the city (unlike a private company which if it doesn't have the money just can't give a raise, which is the situation most of the citizens in this town are in) can raise the property tax rate on a whim doesn't mean it should. There are lots of things people in this town want (and a lot people need). There is not enough money to go around. Priorities need to be made instead of just increasing taxes. Is an outlandish $18 million dollar library really necessary in a time of economic crisis? If the discussion for the new $15 million+ recreation center turns into realty... is that really necessary in an economic crisis? What about using some of those tens of millions of dollars already being wasted (or planned on being wasted) on frivolous luxury items be spent on things like basic infrastructure (the roads suck), or providing our emergency services personal with adequate staffing, equipment and pay (they aren't getting any of those things currently). City employees need to suck it up like every other citizen in Lawrence who is not getting a raise.

The power to tax doesn't mean you should tax. To tax people who haven't received a raise in years to continue giving annual raises to city employees is asinine.

notanota 4 years ago

Au contraire. Not only do I own property, I voted for the library increase, and I'm fine with the increases outlined here. $64 per year for a $200k home is not unreasonable.

Yes, an "outlandish" public expansion of services is necessary in a time of economic crisis, especially in light of the SRS office closing. People need jobs and computer space, and the library expansion would provide a tiny bit of both. Just because you don't agree with the outcome doesn't mean that this item wasn't put to a vote.

Peter Macfarlane 4 years ago

I guess you have never of the saying: "cost of doing business". You probably don't complain as much when private sector businesses raise their prices. You expect that. Why should your reaction be any different with the public sector? Are you expecting services for free?

Get over it!

notanota 4 years ago

Why should the cost of eggs and milk and gas go up when private sector employees haven't had raises?1!!??

Chris Ogle 4 years ago

Cromwell said : “But I remind people that we are relying on lots of city employees for health and safety matters for our residents.

What do you think the rest of us (without pay raises) are doing, Mr. Cromwell???? Sounds like you think the rest of us (Lawrence taxpayers) just sit on our butts, and expect service for free........ nope, nope .......... you are wrong. I pay more (percentage wise) of my earned income for taxes, and make personal budget cuts to pay my taxes. Times are tough, but we (the taxpayers) can't fix everything by paying more, while earning less.

Yes, I am struggling, but don't think I am the Lone Ranger...

t

notanota 4 years ago

I agree. Those who earn more should be paying more. Those who earn less should be paying less, but all the city can tax on is sales or property. Of the two, property is a better choice.

roadwarrior 4 years ago

A Property tax hike does not support the theory "those who earn more should be paying more and those who earn less should be paying less." A property tax hike is indiscriminate of ability to pay. With sales tax (or luxury tax) those who earn less can voluntarily buy less to be relieved of an unaffordable tax burden while those who earn more can buy more and voluntarily contribute more. Both are voluntarily spending based on thier ability to do so.

signdsign 4 years ago

If I could rate the most important people to give raises to (in this economy) it wouldn't be anyone from the city, or the schools,or the hospital ok, maybe the hospital. I really can't think of anyone that is so important to the survival of our society that we can't do without .If they don't get a raise will they quit?. As a matter of fact it would't hurt my feelings if some of the overpaid leaders of our society got mad and left, then we would have a cost savings. If we as a society don't learn to live within our means now, our children will inherit nothing. (Like financing led bulbs for 43 years) If it isn't good enough for our home budgets then by all means its not good for public money.

paisley 4 years ago

In my opinion, city employees are paid above "average" wages to start with. Go to the city's website and look up a full time position and it is usually about double minimum wage to START. Then a generous benefit package is added. I think the city should stop trying to be Overland Park and live within it's means.
If I want something I have to work within my current budget. They should too.

mom_of_three 4 years ago

at the same time, some of those employees are raising kids and are dealing with increased fees and costs associated with kids. although many of us have not had raises in a while, some have. Ask congress why they expect raises when many of their constituents have not had one. Ask why the state legislature wanted to cut pay for state employees, except for their staffs.
I agree it would be hard to fund a raise by taxes, but maybe there can be another way

Evan Ridenour 4 years ago

And the employees at private companies who also have children who haven't received a raise in years... why should they continue to pay an increasing annual burden to fund annual pay raises to city employees for a perk they haven't received in years?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years ago

Perhaps you should ask their employers. The top 1% have seen dramatic increases in their share of wealth over the last thirty years, and the top 0.1% are doing considerably better. They're the ones who own the companies who've decided to sit on their bank accounts (or ship them out of country) and let you eat cake.

Liberty275 4 years ago

Do you think anyone in Lawrence works for anyone making top .1% wages outside of the most ancillary manner? You overestimate this hole.

I work for a corporate executive that might make 3 times what I do, and he works more than 3 times harder for it. Lawrence is a few dozen medium-sized companies, a few low-level franchises and the rest small business and KU.

Your reliance on that silly class warfare red herring is old and tired. Let it have a rest.

All your talk about .1% or even 1% doesn't apply to this backwater. Never has, never will.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years ago

If you declare it, it must be right.

Are you the King of France, as well?

Liberty275 4 years ago

Name one person in Lawrence directly employed in more than an ancillary fashion by anyone in the top .1% of American wealth.

French king that bozo.

Scott Morgan 4 years ago

Railroaders to JC Penny employees should I keep going? Anybody work for ATT?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years ago

"Name one person in Lawrence directly employed in more than an ancillary fashion by anyone in the top .1% of American wealth."

Everyone who works at the LJW, for starters.

If Lawrence is average in terms of top earners, then among its 25,000 or so families, 25 or so would be in that top 0.1%.

sditt54 4 years ago

Top 1% families earn $350,000+ in annual household incomes, with an average of about $1.1million. Approximately 300-350 such families in Douglas Co.

Top 0.1% families earn $5,000,000+ in annual household incomes. 3 or 4 such families in Douglas Co. About 11,800 such families in the total US.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years ago

Mine was just a mathematical calculation based on the assumption that Lawrence is "average."

What's your source?

jhawkinsf 4 years ago

Yours is just a guess. Let me make a different guess. I'd say Wall Street (New York metropolitan Area) is over-represented by those very wealthy people. I'd guess Washington is also, when one considers lobbyists and those in government. I'd guess the entertainment centers also are over-represented (Los Angeles). High tech areas (silicon valley in California, Austin, Seattle). Maybe even areas where it's very expensive and you hold a job of high compensation like doctors or lawyers in San Francisco or Honolulu. I'm just guessing that Lawrence is under-represented.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

And the people paying for this are not??

Resident10 4 years ago

Don't forget the health insurance benefit. I think gov't employees take that for granted.

Douketley 4 years ago

"Public safety"...so has the Sheriffs officers or other county employees had raises lately?

no_thanks 4 years ago

A large part of this decision is politically driven given the high number of City employees that are well organized (and obvisoulsy incented) in their bloc to vote for candidates supportive of their rights. Cromwell leads the exploration into improving the sanitation department, which was his most noble endeavor to date, but he took a lot of heat from City employees and others about the risk of inviting competition that might reduce the employee count. So, he does the classical political move to get back in favor, lets pay them more. Frankly, my only beef with the pay raise is giving all employees a raise which means all employees perform at the same level, which is highly unlikely.

nativeson 4 years ago

Note: The Lawrence Police Association directly supported the three candidates that got elected. They walked neighborhoods in uniform. This is a problem.

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

There is info out there how municipal employees can accomplish more for less. We should hire more and take care of the people we have. Take care of those hard working people.

Then show me how employees of corp america are any better. Not saying they are not hard workers but the best bang comes from the city stock.

The more we take from workers the less they have to spend generating tax revenues the more likely tax increases will come our way. Laying people off and reducing wages makes no economic sense whatsoever. It is unfriendly to economic growth.

gl0ck0wn3r 4 years ago

This is more lulz worthy and incoherent than normal. Good work, comrade.

no_thanks 4 years ago

Government spending DOES NOT stimulate the economy. It takes from individuals who would have either spent or invested dollars rather than paying taxes to hire more people. Get off of the socialist bus Merril, or move to Greece, Protugal, Spain, or other country who believe in your belief of lifelong employment regardless of performance, productivity, or value added contribution to society.

KU_cynic 4 years ago

So how about we double city employees' wages in order to promote economic growth? Why stop there, though? Let's quadruple their wages -- and garner even more economic growth. In fact, why not take everything from the private sector and give it to the public sector --- maximum economic growth.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years ago

The public sector is just as much a part of the economy as the private sector. By and large, they perform necessary tasks and the money they get paid is spent back into the economy just like the money paid to private sector employees.

Hiring more local employees would be a great way to stimulate the economy. But it'd require help from the federal government, who can do deficit spending.

BTW, the projected total US national debt of $14 trillion is about 90% of annual GDP. By contrast, a couple earning $100,000 a year, with combined student loan debt of $50,000, a home mortgage of $150,000, car loans totaling $20,000, and misc additional debt of $10,000, has a debt that's 210% their gross income-- about what Japan's current debt is relative to it's annual GDP, and they still have no problem borrowing money at 1.5% interest.

The hysteria over the national debt is just that-- hysteria. The national debt should be reduced, but it shouldn't be used as a pretext for "austerity," which really means nothing more than "the rich say we're broke, so everyone else must pay."

jafs 4 years ago

Do you really think it's a good idea for people to owe 210% of their gross annual income?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years ago

No, but it's pretty typical for people to owe 90% or more.

The point is that while the US debt is too large, the biggest problem is not the size of that debt, but rather the way it has been run up. The accumulated debt from Bush's/Obama's wars will almost certainly exceed $5 trillion before we finally extricate ourselves (assuming we ever do.)

And the current austerity hysteria will without a doubt worsen the economic situation, not improve it.

jafs 4 years ago

I think the size is an issue.

The fact that many Americans take on more debt than they should is not a justification for doing so.

It would be in our best interests as a nation to eliminate our debt, and for individuals to bring their debt down to reasonable levels as well.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years ago

The debt is too large, but primarily because we ran it up doing stupid things that didn't do anything useful (unless you call massive profiteering by the largest corporations and the obscenely wealthy people who own them "useful.")

By far the bigger problem is unemployment/underemployment, and a massive disparity in wealth, which are getting worse on all counts.

It wasn't the working poor and middle class who created this economic crisis. Neither was it the disabled nor the elderly. And no austerity measures loaded on their backs will solve it, even if it does marginally reduce the deficit by reducing the quality of life for the vast majority so the ueberwealthy can become even wealthier.

jafs 4 years ago

I generally agree with your perspective on most of these things.

But I think the size of the debt would be a problem regardless of how it has been created.

For one thing, it requires massive payments of interest.

If your household kept increasing their debt each year, so that they couldn't even keep up with the interest payments, it would be a bad thing.

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

I say keep wages within reasonable expectations rather than inflate.

Many jobs could be done for less by way of city/county/state government because it would eliminate:

  • Obscene CEO wages
  • Fraud
  • shareholders
  • golden parachutes
  • price fixing by way of corp america
  • stock options

Think gas and electric for instance. Then think of all the above. It's all about a better bang for the tax buck.

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

BTW mayor Cromwell hats off to you on this one.

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

Mayor Cromwell is not being unreasonable. It makes sense for employers to treat employees fair.

Hog wild on wages? Where is the hard evidence?

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

Private sector wages depend on the generosity or not of the owners or often times selfish Too many CEO's do not understand that without all those hard workers on the payroll most CEO"s would be nothing.

Liberty275 4 years ago

My "CEO" knows if he doesn't compensate me in a way I consider fair, the guy down the street will. Why would he want his competition making money off of me while he could?

Scott Morgan 4 years ago

merrill, Private sector jobs can be very secure and rewarding. You must do your job well and efficiently.

Common business logic, owner, I like writing big checks to employees. Why, because he or she writes bigger ones to themselves.

Flap Doodle 4 years ago

"Private sector wages depend on the generosity or not of the owners or often times selfish" Would you care to make a standard English sentence out of that?

John Hamm 4 years ago

Lessee...... A private company which year after year loses money either trims its workforce, reduces its wages or goes under. But municipalities, such as Lawrence, don't seem to understand this. Namely because all the city needs to do is to increase its income by raising taxes on those poor suckers whom aren't getting any raises or don't have any job, or career if you prefer, because in this stinking economy raises and jobs, typically, just aren't there. As an aside I'd like to remind Mr. Cromwell that nobody's job is unimportant - if it was (unimportant) it wouldn't be there. Granted not everyone is out "saving lives" or other heroic actions but all the employed serve a "important" (to their employer) function. What an elitist comment......

lunacydetector 4 years ago

obama's depression is upon us all and the only ones who reap the benefits is the government by raising our taxes. is cromwell a communist or a socialist? he has that vladimir lenin like beard action going on.....it makes me wonder. he's an engineer...with what railroad? i'm not so sure... engineers think with the wrong side of the brain, as do accountants, bankers...maybe even lawyers. corliss is a lawyer so maybe lawyers think with the wrong side of the brain as well. i know they don't have any empathy.

beatrice 4 years ago

LD, it is actually Bush's depression that Obama hasn't yet been able to pull us out of. Kind of like baseball. A pitcher in earlier innings can win or lose a game, while the pitcher at the end of the game can only earn a "save." Obama is trying to earn his "save." He hasn't done it yet.

Liberty275 4 years ago

It's Bush's depression like it was Clinton's 9/11. Peals of derisive laughter, Bruce.

Don't be afraid of our stranger left-wing friends. They don't bite, they are just a funny old relic of the days when this town thought it meant something *which it never really has).

beatrice 4 years ago

The world markets crashed while Bush was in office and before Obama took office. 9/11 happened 8 months after Bush took office.

Nice try at re-writing history.

Liberty275 4 years ago

The world market crashed in the days after obama won the election.

beatrice 4 years ago

The economy crashing was all Obama's fault, even though he wasn't even in office. Um ... got it.

What else are you going to blame Obama for? Katrina? Obama's fault all the way. As you have already claimed, 9/11 was Clinton's fault, but Obama knew about it, right? You stubbed your toe in 2005 -- absolutely Obama's fault.

Such partisan nonsense is too sad and silly for words.

Liberty275 4 years ago

Obama is hostile to business. When obama won the election, anyone with any money in capital dumped for cash before obama had a chance to spread it around. I suppose obama never said he was going to "spread the wealth around" during the campaign did he? Which way do you think he might have meant to spread it?

As for katrina, that was a hurricane. No human can do anything to cause, affect or mediate a hurricane. In fact katrina was a marginal hurricane at the most and only so devastating because it hit an area that lies below sea level, the corps of engineers had not protected the low-lying areas with adequate levees and too many people relied on politicians and bureaucrats for protection.

Katrina was a good example why you never trust the government's version of protection regardless of who holds what office.

lunacydetector 4 years ago

so big o prints more money and saved his banker buddies. he's had his chance.....his hope and change has only brought misery. just wait for august 2nd. the banks aren't loaning money these days, so higher interest rates will only hurt the fat cats, then he'll have to stop spending and printing money. i wonder if his fat wife will stop buying designer clothes?

lunacydetector 4 years ago

i'm sorry, i meant to say fat ugly wife.

monkeyhawk 4 years ago

Well then, I guess you hated Hillary, too.

Liberty275 4 years ago

"“But I remind people that we are relying on lots of city employees for health and safety matters for our residents."

So if we don't give them raises, will our health or safety be compromised? If not, why even say it?

beatrice 4 years ago

"The services our employees provide are the sort of things we really value in this community.”

That is some pretty condescending ... stuff right there.

Susan Mangan 4 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Susan Mangan 4 years ago

One non-profit hospital in the KC metro recently went as far as cancelling all PTO accruals, mid-year, without warning (in addition to not providing raises for the past 2 years). The reason??? THEY DIDN'T HAVE THE MONEY and they couldn't raise revenue by stealing from other workers, unlike the City, apparently.

Susan Mangan 4 years ago

Ummm...we are, clearly, not talking about the same hospital. I have no idea who "Bluford" is and, no, they didn't "just limit it". They completely ELIMINATED all accruals of PDO. But thank you for bolstering my point. They, obviously, weren't the only hospital (an essential and VALUED industry, Mr. Cromwell @@) that had to take drastic measures to live within their means...a concept completely alien to, and unattainable for, the City of Lawrence, apparently.

Susan Mangan 4 years ago

I just did a little Googling, and I assume you're talking about Truman Medical Center? NOT the one I am referring to. But it is true that a lot of hospitals in the KC Metro haven't given raises in several years.

Michial Coffman 4 years ago

I MANY cases the private sector is already making 1/3 more than city employees doing the same job. This is even more so with the newer employees!!

BruceWayne 4 years ago

Core-less spending our money again however he sees fit. I am the fool that thought Carter and the other noobs would see Core-less for what he is and send him packing.

purplesage 4 years ago

Look at those health insurance benefits! I maintain a second job to pay the INCREASE in health insurance we bear each year. Somewhere along the line, public and private have to become more equitable. Of course I'm envious of this kind of coverage. But why should private sector workers, going without raises, absorbing ever diminishing benefits at higher and higher costs be saddled with the tax burden necessary to keep these unbelievable public employee benefits. And let's not get started on 20 year retirements.

jafs 4 years ago

Both sides have some valid points on this one.

On one side, we don't want a "race to the bottom" - so as private sector jobs are lost, and benefits decline, we should be asking how to improve that situation rather then impose the same one on the public sector.

On the other, governments seem not to understand how to use resources wisely. I agree with the posts regarding $15 million in tax revenue that could be returned to taxpayers rather than spending it on a new recreation center. And, I agree that the library expansion is ill-timed (I voted against it) at this time.

jafs 4 years ago

Hard to know what you're trying to say there.

Evan Ridenour 4 years ago

Your argument is flawed. The types of city employees getting raises here aren't Fire and Police (they are unionized and will surely get theirs), it is a raise for every employee in the city.

monkeyhawk 4 years ago

Does Corliss still take his marching orders from the three amigos, or is there someone else behind the curtain? Someone who loves experimenting with the easy marks of Lawrence - like merrill's oft-cited pal?

lunacydetector 4 years ago

he owes his livelyhood to the 3 amigos who forced out his boss. he got the library passed...something that was part of their grand takeover plans initiated in the early 1990's. he was and still is on board with their progressive way of thinking....but he keeps his hair short instead of sporting a pony tail to fool the majority.

2002 4 years ago

I expect quality City employees and the reality is that you need to expect to pay them fairly or you will not draw good employees. With that said, it is much more complex that should they get a raise or should taxes be raised or anything like that. The question is: are Lawrence City employees currently paid above market, at market or below compared to: 1) other cities; and 2) similar private sector jobs. We don't want to lose a good cop or a good building inspector to Olathe or Gardner (or wherever) because we don't pay well enough, not do we want to lose clerical staff or janitors to KU. With that said, my guess is that they are already paid fairly, but it would be nice to see that information.

jhawkinsf 4 years ago

The problem as I see it is this. We're getting nickel and dimed to death. A small wage increase here, slightly better health care there. Throw in extra holidays and some overtime to boot. Then we find out government agencies are paying too much in rent and that we're leasing equipment at a price that's seemingly too high. Throw in a depression where government employees are largely exempted from the downturn and add an elected official such as our current governor and what it all adds up to is a slash and burn response. We're witnessing it at the state level, might all these small increases here and there lead to a city slash and burn policy at the city level in the future? Maybe Lawrence will go another direction and choose to have policies that are very different than those of the state or other cities. Maybe we will continue to insulate local government workers from a future slash and burn. Maybe we will be content when we see jobs taken from Lawrence and moved to neighboring communities. Maybe we'll be content to see new factories located in Topeka. But if a radically different approach is taken at some future time, we'll look back on all these nickels and dimes we're handing out now and we'll know what the backlash is all about.

irvan moore 4 years ago

cromwell says health and safety but he wants to privatize the trash service, these are some of our hardest working city employees who make sure we get the best service possible. i have no problem with city employees getting raises but i sure think the idea of taking jobs from one of the few city services that most people would agree works well stinks.

ilovelucy 4 years ago

My idea is to cut the City Mgr and Asst Mgr salaries to give the hardworking employees a raise. Also cut the cars that the majority drive every day.

ilovelucy 4 years ago

My idea is to cut the City Mgr and Asst Mgr salaries to give the hardworking employees a raise. Also cut the cars that the majority drive every day.

ilovelucy 4 years ago

My idea is to cut the City Mgr and Asst Mgr salaries to give the hardworking employees a raise. Also cut the cars that the majority drive every day.

Sigmund 4 years ago

"City Manager David Corliss is advising commissioners that the best way to provide compensation increases to employees is to raise the city’s property tax rate. Corliss’ recommended budget calls for a 0.6 mill increase to fund about $535,000 in compensation increases."

I have no problem with giving raises to City employees but not by taking a half-million dollars out of the private economy with increased taxes. If the City feels it needs to increase wages to keep existing employees from seeking higher paying jobs in the private sector then cut somewhere else. If City employees do leave I am quite sure their will be plenty of capable well educated workers in Lawrence who are quite capable of filling any open positions. No current City employee should feel obligated to stay in any job if they can make more somewhere else. Taking $535,000 more from the private economy is a half-million less to spend with local businesses including downtown merchants.

Evan Ridenour 4 years ago

But it is so much easier if he just gives his buddies a pay raise off the backs of the property owners. Why worry about making his buddies mad when he can just get a bunch of anonymous people to pay for it?

If a study (like the one you suggest) were actually done... does anyone here actually believe it would support giving them a pay raise?

George Lippencott 4 years ago

Well

Instead of insulting non city employees perhaps we might thing outside the box. We have a sales tax revenue stream becoming available. Instead of spending it on a new and unnecessary (IMHO) recreation facility (at least right now) why don't we allocate part of it to a reasonable raise for our city employees to avoid raising property taxes (that was one of the reasons given when we approved that stream)? I would recommend an increase comparable to that being granted to our soldiers and SS recipients. I would then ask those employees to pay a little bit more for their benefit - about the same increase being asked of our soldiers and seniors

Jayhawk1963 4 years ago

Cromwell is nothing but a political hack. He doesn't give a damn about city employees. He wants to be reelected and he knows he has to reward his political "base". Since a very high percentage of city (and county & state) employees always vote for Dumocrats, he's happy to give them a bribe, as long as the taxpayer is picking up the tab. Same thing with the teachers and their "negotiations". This is just another leaf out of the Chicago political play book that the Obamanation has been using ever since he was a senator! Wake up, Taxpayers!!!! Cromwell is the poster boy for what you get when you vote for Dumocrats!

BTW, I would be willing to bet that NOT ONE of these overpaid drones would quit their city jobs if they were to get no raise at all. (It would be kind of like those of us on social security who've gotten no raise for TWO years). And even if they did, how hard is it to replace a garbage man (at around $30,000 a year).

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