Letters to the Editor

Raises questions regarding proposed salary hikes at City Hall

Referencing a story in the Kitsap Sun (Aug. 24, page 1A): I am astounded that Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson is asking the City Council to raise her chief lieutenants' salaries. Now, in the middle of the greatest recession since the Great Depression?

That well-written story and its numbers imply that Erickson's top five department directors should get raises averaging 4.9 percent. That is $4,080 each on average. The next 10 assistants to those directors would get an average raise of $701 each. Hmm. I had a thought that Poulsbo was as fair and peaceful a city as it advertises: Little Norway.

The top four directors now earn from $76,500 to $103,100. (This does not include the police chief, who makes $109,620.) The city clerk, who runs the information and public records departments, makes $64,800 now and would go to $68,300, effective July 1, 2011.

That's right: The council cannot vote on these raises and changes to the city's salary chart until September, but the mayor has proposed raises for the entire second half of 2011 as well.

The mayor argues that these raises are needed "to keep staff from leaving for better-paying jobs." How can she say that, when none of these appointed officials, who also get generous benefits, have quit in her years in office. Remember, the police chief, who was replaced recently, is not included in the 15 positions considered.

Erickson would also institute a new salary chart with six annual steps. This is the same device used by school districts to ensure that teachers get raises every year, no matter whehter the district "freezes" wages or whether that teacher performed well or poorly.

The lutefisk in Little Norway is not smelling exactly as it should these days.

Fred Springsteel
Poulsbo

 

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