Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A High Opinion of Themselves

     Civic Service:

     "an organized period of substantial engagement and contribution to the local, national, or world community, recognized and valued by society, with minimal monetary compensation to the participant".

      Global Service Institute, Washington University in St. Louis

     Get well Marikay.  No one deserves to be hurt.  And when you make sense you deserve to be applauded.  You see, Councilperson Marikay Abuzuaiter has gone on record as saying she would have voted against the proposed city council pay raise because "it doesn't feel right".  It ain't right!!  While others will attempt to give credit to Mayor Nancy Vaughn and Councilman Justin Outling for voting against it, I cannot.  Their reason of "it shouldn't begin until 2017" (next election year) though they agree with a raise is just not strong enough.  An average council raise of approximately 60% is the largest by a huge margin of any raise in possibly the nation's history for a city council.  Why is this so ridiculous (other than the obvious)?  Let me count the ways.
     As the Greensboro News-Record points out, the Greensboro City Council is currently among the lowest paid councils among North Carolina's largest cities.  This raise would make them among the highest paid.  The total new compensation would cost tax payers approximately $76,000 per year or roughly the salary of two new Greensboro Police Officers.  Is it right that this council is among the lowest paid?  One can certainly argue that they are among if not the lowest performing council in the state.  When I worked for the city we received performance evaluations.  Has the citizens of Greensboro evaluated the council's performance?  The numbers that measure such performance are certainly not complimentary; highest unemployment rate, highest use of food stamps, 20% poverty rate with the highest property tax rate in the state to boot and considering raising them even more.  There is no plan to alleviate these numbers and no relief in sight.
     This council also voted to raise the city manager's salary though his performance has been poor as well.  Then add in the fact that every councilperson would have you believe that the Greensboro Coliseum loses money every year yet continue to pay Coliseum Director Matt Brown the highest salary of all Greensboro City employees.  This would be either a ruse or gross incompetence.
     All of this yet city employees are not being compensated for carrying out their jobs anywhere close to a 60% raise.  My last ten years with the Police Department I was advised that I had maxed out for my pay position.  "We expect your same level of above standard work but you cannot make any more money".  Would the citizens agree that Council has performed at an "above standard" level?  Raises for city employees the past several years have been in the 2% range with only tenths of a percent distinguishing the difference between standard and above standard evaluations.  Long time benefits such as longevity pay have been taken away.  Council positions are part time jobs.  I realize that a good portion of our council does not work (which is a big problem in and of itself).  Others are handsomely compensated through job salaries or other means.  If your complaint is that city council business takes up a lot of your time therefore you believe you should be compensated for that time or it's not worth it, then get out. It's called civic service!
     City employees work infinitely harder than you, have to implement and live by the crazy things you approve then sit back and watch you refuse to support them, giving in to special interests and opportunistic antagonists; all the while supporting a City Manager that is at best your puppet.  We have stood by and watched council meetings, which should be specifically for city business, allowed by you to turn into circuses for people with social agendas.  Our council meetings have become a laughing stock completely void of professionalism.  We read about ordinances or motions being passed without even being read or even understood by council members.  We watch as failed attorneys such as Lewis Pitts are time and time again allowed to disrupt meetings with no consequences forthcoming.  And if that isn't enablement at its' finest, we then watch as tens of thousands of tax payer dollars are given to law breakers supported by special interests for unsubstantiated claims of false arrest or police abuse.  We even have the nerve to allow the city manager to direct punishment for officers in these cases though a judicial official has ruled the arrests lawful.  These actions and lack of support from council are despicable.
     Yet, you decide you deserve not only a raise but a 60 freaking percent raise?  Do you believe that by the city's own performance evaluation standard that you would be rated above standard?  Care to put it to a referendum?  Better yet, let's poll the city employees who have to implement and enforce your bidding; do you dare?
     Marikay is correct; it doesn't feel right.  Until the City Council's performance improves it ain't right.  Or to sum their performance up by city evaluation standards, they are not responding to training!  
     I recommend termination!                     


  1. Interesting considering I think they're cutting the city budget again this year