Thursday, June 30, 2011

A cut City Council should have made

With great fanfare, Salem city councilors waxed poetic about the great accomplishment it was that they hired themselves a budget analyst after ten years of trying. The results are in. Salem city council should now wax poetic about firing their budget analyst. With the school system willingly agreeing to a $30,000 cut in their budget proposal, the city council cut a whopping $41,826 from the city budget, up from $33,000 the prior year. So short of the 30k that the schools said they could give back, city council cut $11,826. Very little of this came from recommendations from the budget analyst, but instead came from Councilor Ronan's fight against raises greater than 2.5%. Several proposed raises above that amount were put off until January, yielding almost all of the savings.

For that meager savings, we paid the new city council budget analyst $20,000. We also gave them a 5% raise next year, and funded the part time position at $21,000. So much for not giving more than 2.5% raises.

What really shows that this isn't a worthwhile position, is what the analyst didn't seem to have a problem with the finance committee cutting. $27,009 from the library, which would have taken them below the amount required for grants and participation in NOBLE. It also would have rescinded several promotions that had already taken place. The budget analyst must have been fine with that. He also must have been fine with elimination of the position of Energy and Sustainability Manager (OK, it sounds like a joke) which brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants, and he was OK with a $6,100 cut that is used to compensate someone for doing two jobs, necessitating the hiring of another full time employee at more than 50k plus benefits. Either the budget analyst never learned the implications of these cuts, or he's bad at math. I'm good at math, and can tell you that the work product doesn't warrant another year and another $21,000. City council should cut the position.

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