Pin It
Favorite

Hitting a Nerve 

Publisher's Note

There's been quite an uproar over the tiny item in the City of Spokane budget calling for a $7,000 raise for the mayor. David Condon has rejected the raise he never asked for, but not before the flap went into full bloom. Other top staff at City Hall have also seen their raises stripped from the budget by the city council, and we may vote on giving the Salary Review Commission power over pay.

click to enlarge mcgregor.jpg

Obviously, we hit a raw nerve, as there's a disconnect between citizens' lives and the pay levels they are seeing in their public officials. Most Americans have watched their pay stagnate since the great recession hit.

And it's not just here. Members of Congress take big paychecks for doing little. CEOs can run a company into the ground and walk away with a huge bonus. It sets a certain kind of mood.

I'd caution us all not to let that ugly mood inform our local debate. Progressive pay, with regular raises when deserved, sets a proper example for the greater community. We should all be proud that our public jobs are jobs the best and brightest would like to hold. Think of it as investing in good decisions and a better city to live in. Whether we are getting either, or both, is another question, however. That's why we need to be able to judge performance. One reason the raises for top managers were stripped from the budget is that there may or may not be actual performance evaluations of those employees. That's not good enough.

The way pay is set has kind of gone off the rails, as it is, in part, determined by collective bargaining that can be completely unrelated to the mayor. The legislature has failed to take on the issue. Now we're thinking of handing it off to an independent commission, which could help, but it's unclear how much. This is an issue that's going to require deeper analysis. What we don't need is further fueling of the frustrations over the unfair pay we see across society.

I'm OK with paying a little more for better decisions. That's why I like the idea of the new policy analyst position, giving city councilmembers fact-based advice on issues they face. But we all need to ask: Is new spending, in raises or new positions, helping us find solutions? Or is it funding more bureaucracy and the kind of pointless politics that rule D.C.?

How we pay our public officials is our business, and finding fairness is going to be complicated. Let's start the discussion with a level head. ♦

  • Pin It

Speaking of Comment, Publisher's Note

  • Not Backing Down
  • Not Backing Down

    The Trump administration's regressive policies won't outweigh the progressive values embodied by our city and state
    • Jan 5, 2017
  • The Road to 2027
  • The Road to 2027

    A closer look at Spokane's entrepreneurial needs
    • Jan 5, 2017
  • Thanks, Obama
  • Thanks, Obama

    The legacy of the 44th President goes far beyond the election of the 45th
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • More »

Latest in Comment

  • Do Something!
  • Do Something!

    Writers Resist, MLK Day activities and more ways to engage with your community
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • The Landed and the White
  • The Landed and the White

    How Americans followed tradition when they voted for Trump
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • On the Street
  • On the Street

    Will you tip differently because of the minimum wage increase?
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
Movement Activities for Winter

Movement Activities for Winter @ Moran Prairie Library

Sat., Jan. 21, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Ted S. McGregor Jr.

  • Fake-News Nightmare
  • Fake-News Nightmare

    The social media dream of the 2000s is fading, but we can reset the system by sticking up for the truth
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • BOOKS
  • BOOKS

    From Twin Peaks to the darkest reaches of our galaxy, there's a new book for everyone on your list
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Trump wins: America's great state of disconnect
  • Trump wins: America's great state of disconnect

    • Nov 9, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Thanks, Obama

    The legacy of the 44th President goes far beyond the election of the 45th
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • One Free Shave

    Donald Trump might have merited a honeymoon with voters had he managed his transition better
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

scandal


Comment


scandals


Briefs


green zone


Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • The Sanders Surge
  • The Sanders Surge

    Publisher's Note
    • Aug 12, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation