Wednesday, January 7, 2009

2008-2009 Salary and benefit costs continue to increase at City Hall.

Updated for clarity and accuracy on July 5, 2012 posting date.  This article was originally published on 1/7/2009

2010 - Salary and Benefits for Police and Fire average $122,395/worker
2010  -Salary and Benefits for others average $95,474/worker 
2010  -Salary and Benefits for all city 624 workers average $108,136/worker  

OPINION: Sex and Money are usually considered off limits in everyday conversation. Last night the Council unanimously approved by consent and without discussion a 2009 Salary Ordinance  costing taxpayers $1,382,526 annually. This salary increase occurs at a time when many workers' wages are plateauing or in jeapardy. The bargaining contracts call for a salary review in 2010.

During Council budget conversations I've heard salary and benefits represent about 80% of the General Operating fund. That's right. Thus, city salary and benefit increases have by far the greatest impact on city taxes and levies over time. Capital improvement programs add to tax pressures.

In response to heavy union lobbying by City Hall employees during the Ives-Marchione-transition, the Marchione Administration negotiated increased salaries for professionals, technical and clerical staff ~3.5% annually or by $1.3M  in 2008. Thus, in two years time, salaries for the city's 600+ employees have risen ~ $2.6M. This adjustment doesn't count salary increases for the Mayor, Directors, Management, Supervisors, non union workers or **police. Overtime, various benefits, and merit increases are not included in the $2.6M increase.

Over 600 work for the Mayor and head count is modestly rising during this biennium. Below is a sample of salaries approved in the 2009 Salary Ordinance. The listed salaries are at the high end but don't include annual reviews, non-exempt overtime, benefits and merit increases.
  • Print Shop specialist, 2009 - $49,620
  • Administrative Assistant, 2009 - $51,540
  • Recreation Program Assistant, 2009 -$53,184
  • Deputy City Clerk, 2009 - $61,668
  • Associate Planner, 2009 - $72,720~
  • Building Inspector IV, 2009 - $80,244
  • Audio-Visual Ops. Mgr., 2009 - $80,000
  • Principal Planner, 2009 - $98,124
  • Senior Engineer, 2009 - $100,560
The Fire Bargaining Unit received a 6% incremental increase ($825,415) in base pay, not counting overtime and merit increases. Below is a sample salaries at the high end minus overtime and benefits:
  • Fire Support Administrative Assistant, 2009 - $51,540
  • Fire Fighter, 2009 - $79,404 after 3+ years.
  • Driver/Operator, 2009, - $83,328 after 2+ years.
  • Paramedic/Fire Fighter, 2009 - $91,320 after 3+ years.
  • Assistant Fire Marshall, 2009 - $98,724 after 1+ years.
Management and Supervisory positions are not subject to bargaining  As I recall from the 2008-10 survey, salaries and bonuses of Directors average over $145,000 with the Dir. of Finance paid the most   In 2012, Mr. Mayor's taxable income increased to $133,000 (includes car + tuition allowance.)

The City Councilmember salary of $800/mo in 2008 was increased to $1,000/mo in 2012, plus a health care benefit.  Commissioners are appointed by the mayor, approved by council and not paid at all.

2010 BENEFITS:  
  • Vacation - first 1-2 years of service, 12 days. Significant accrual plan.
  • 12 paid holidays
  • Sick Leave - 12 days/year; accrue up to 120 days; 25% unused/year apply to vacation.
  • Longevity bonus - from $30 - $75/month.
  • Disability - 60% of salary for 6 months (probably short/long term applies)
  • Bereavement - 4 days leave
  • Overtime - Non-exempt professional - 1.5 times regular hourly rate after 40 hours. Sunday 2 times hourly rate. 7th day 2 times hourly rate. (I was exempt)
  • Professional Leave - Automatic 6 day credit for professional leave (training, etc.)
  • Stand-by duty - 20% increase in hourly rate; 25% increase if over a weekend.
  • Health, Vision, Dental insurance - A huge benefit. $150.29/month (employee, spouse,1 child). 20% premium cost sharing for dependents. (Self-employed, Blue Cross:Blue Sheild individual health insurance plans for a family of three now costs $998/month w/ 30% co-pay, $2500 deductible`).
  • Merit Increase - up to 2-4%/ year + 2% lump-sum bonus at Midpoint level.
  • Retirement package - under review
It's noteworthy the Mayor in this budget cycle asked and received over $500,000 in funding for a new "Human Resource Program"

Salary Ordinance, 2009. (including Fire Bargaining Unit)
**2008-2009 Police Salary Ordinance - the salary schedule is buried on the last page. 5% increase in '08 & 6.2% increase in '09 ; 11.2% salary increase in the last two years.


Mr. Yoder: Thank you for your blog. As Mercer Island's Deputy Mayor, I appreciate your efforts to bring some sunshine and some transparency to the murky and generally hidden issue of municipal compensation. In my nine years on the MI Council, we also have always approved labor contacts on our consent calendar. 01/09/2009

Ernest L. "El" Jahncke President Washington Capital Management, Inc. 1301 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1500 Seattle, WA 98101 (206)382-0825
Dear Bob,
Thank you for writing me with your blog comments. I have been very interested in this topic myself -- I'll take a look, but at first glance, many same topics as we have here and all cities. We need many good minds thinking about how we can fix this politically and economically!
Thanks, Yoriko , 01/10/09

Yoriko Kishimoto
Palo Alto City Council
Valley Transportation Authority Board of Directors
Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board of DIrectors
______________________________________________________________________________ ..
Unfortunately, most of my efforts to trim compensation increases have not been successful. So I don’t have the solution – except to say that you are doing the right thing by informing the public. (excerpt from Letter to the Editor)
- Pad Flinnigan, Councilman, City of Lakewood, WA. 1/15
cc: City Council and Mayor, 1/25/09


Anonymous said...

It pays to work in a government position: good benefits, regular hours, comped OT and retirement pay.

Don't get me wrong, I know plenty of government workers that are great professionals. Having a pay raise is not a problem, but when it's out of line with what private industry is getting - especially when budgets are tight - it should have some better oversight.

Anonymous said...

The flaw in the previous comment is the reference to pay raises out of line with private industry. While public entity employees get some benefits that private industry employees don't, or to the same degree, wages tend to be lower for similar positions or responsibilities. Also, public workers do not get other benefits that Fortune X companies, or even many small and mid-size companies provide. The choices for retirement plans are significantly greater in the private sector, and some companies provide very generous matching funds. Employer-provided insurance, profit-sharing plans, stock purchase and stock options (where possible) are other examples of forms of compensation that are not available to public-sector employees.

So, yes, it can be difficult to hear about increases in hourly earnings but keep in mind the total compensation package and it may not be as dire as it sounds.

And Bob, the policies you highlight for OT, Double-time and other pay policies for non-exempt(hourly) employees are the same as they are in Fortune 500 companies for their non-exempt employees. Get over it.

Bob Yoder said...

Thank you for your comment.

The Anonymous at 8:45 AM sounds a little bit defensive here... and probably for good reason.

If I can ever uncover the retirement package I'll post it. Many corporations and small businesses have abandoned reasonable retirement plans and this list of employers is growing daily.

Anonymous said...

Defensive? Depends on your point of view. I work in private industry because the money is so much better. Until someone from the city rounds out the picture, though, a more balanced perspective is called for.

Anonymous said...

I think the point of Bob's original blog post wasn't meant to be a public vs private employer debate. You won't find many people that disagree that private firms demand more from employees and thus pay more.

The matter at hand is that when private companies are breaking even or losing money, nobody ever talks about a pay raise (unless you're an investment banker or an executive) because it doesn't make sense.

This isn't a blanket statement, as the federal government has been running a deficit for decades while inflation has been going up, so pay raises are in order. But in this particular economy - which is coming short of rivaling the worst depression in US history - it becomes highly relevant.

Richard Morris said...

I have worked in both the public sector and the private sector. I don't think the pay for public vs. private jobs can be compared in any meaningful way -- it's oranges vs. apples.

I think the underlying issue here might be related to the Council has increased taxes, as allowed by State Law. Under the previous mayor, the Council was reluctant to raise taxes. Indeed, most Council candidates would campaign on "no tax increase".

The infrastructure in our core downtown area fell behind, without a robust tax base. Our core downtown is in need of many improvements. This all costs money and professional staff to manage the construction projects.

We all want good services, like police and fire protection, this costs money.

I have lived in Redmond for 25 years. I like the quality of life, and the rural nature of our fine city. If we want to have a GREAT CITY, we need to hire the best staff possible to build our city.

Richard Morris said...

Dear Bob, your comment about the city staff compensation bump "passed without any discussion" leaves out the previous "budget by priority" deliberations. Did the "budget by priority" discussion include staff compensation?

Bob Yoder said...

Mr. Morris -

As you know, I listened to all the BBP Council meetings and attended both Public PBP meetings. I can't recall the Council ever talking about salary increases, or salaries for that matter. I believe salary related adustment issues are addressed by Ordinances. The City Hall Union (RCHEA) increase was approved by Council under Ordinance #2436. The Fire Union 6% raise was approved by Council under Ordiance # 2438.

As for the Budget process, I don't know what went on behind the closed doors of the "Safety Results Team. "Fire, Rescue, Emergency Med. Services" ranked #1 at $33,448,000 for proposed funding "offers". Percentage increases (or decreases)from prior and present years were not listed. SALARY INCREASES WERE NOT DESCRIBED OR MENTIONED in the Budget By Priority book for Safety.

The "Responsible Government Results Team" lists salary offers. John Ervin is the one citizen that was on this team. The rest were staff. "City Administration and Management" was ranked #1 by the Team. Again, I could find no suggested salary increase offers in the Budget By Priority book.

I'm new to city finance but it seems the the Budget may be more of a guidline, whereas Salary Ordinaces are actually written as a law, not a guide.

Richard, I urge you and other citizens interested in government to attend future budget meetings, pick up the free budget book from the City Clerk, or listen to Council on RCTV or by tapes. Make friends with the Mayor to get on the next bienium Results Team. The more concerned citizens that actually get involved the closer we will come the "GREAT CITY" goal you talk about.

Thanks for commenting. How about coffee sometime?

from Palo Alto, CA said...


Dear Bob,

Thank you for writing me with your blog comments. I have been very interested in this topic myself -- I'll take a look, but at first glance, many same topics as we have here and all cities. We need many good minds thinking about how we can fix this politically and economically!

Thanks, Yoriko
Elected official
Palo Alto, CA.

Ed Childers, MT. Councilmember said...


Dear Bob Yoder,
Thank you for your interest in Missoula.
Missoula's budgets are online. Missoula's budget process includes numerous opportunities for public input.
Personnel costs rise in Missoula as well as in Redmond.
I was not aware that most workers' wages were plateauing or decreasing, but your mention of a salary review next year seems reasonable.
80% cost for personnel is close enough to what Missoula experiences.
In Missoula we also negotiate contracts with labor organizations. Contract negotiations are generally closed. Contracts are public information.

Finally, just a couple of less serious comments:
First, I don't think sex and money are off limits in Missoula's everyday conversation (well OK, maybe we generally shy away from sex at the Council's open mike); and
if Microsoft thinks they would like to move away from Redmond, be sure to tell them that Missoula would be happy to accommodate them. "Missoula's Microsoft" has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

Thanks again. 1/11/09

SW, Councilmember said...

EMAIL FROM COUNCILMEMBER - Western Washington - >25,000+ population

Dear Bob: Pretty amazing. I can guarantee you, this would not pass on the {XX} City Council without major major major major discussion and then it would not pass.

Best regards and thanks for the information.

Signed, Councilmember, 1/8/09

Posted by Bob Yoder, 1/8/09

Bob Yoder said...

As this story winds down and makes room for the next, I wanted to thank some of those cities who took the time to read my blog and to welcome them back. In no particular order:

Medford, Lakewood, Whittier, Fargo, Cheyenne, Bellingham, Coeur d'Alene, Mt. Vernon, Denver, Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, Souix Falls, St. Paul, Springfield(Oh), Cincinnati, San Diego, Ft. Worth, San Jose, Santa Clara, Palo Alto, Billings, Rochester, Richland, Kenniwick, Bremerton, Poulsbo, Mercer Island, Des Moines, Lake Oswego, Seattle, Kirkland, Bellevue, Renton, Tacoma, Issaquah, Shoreline, Walla Walla, Redmond....

These city visitors were not necessarily elected officials or city staff looking for this post. But, many found it.

Anonymous said...

Next time you do this, check out the The Association of Washington Cities (AWC) reference on City Employee Compensation throughout Washington State. What happens is City A justifies raises based on City B, C and D. The next year, City B justifies raises based on Cities A, C and D etc.

Bob Yoder said...

Thank you for your comment. You are assuming Redmond's salaries and benefits are relatively high and Redmond may be the price leader for the region. I have this concern, too. Council President McCormmick often wants to know what other cities are doing before a decision is made. Knowing what's "out there" may be better than "stabbing in the dark". It can also be a lazy way out of a decision.

Redmond is an affluent Edge City to the Microsoft engine and now boasts a AAA rating. Cities. should factor Redmond's enviable economic circumstances - as did the Missoula city councilmember. Kirkland just cut their budget because of rising salary costs. City services tend to deteriorate as compensation packages keep increasing. When compensation is daylighted, Councils' have public input and greater understanding on how to rationally act to sustain services and affordabilty.

Dep. City Clerk, Sioux Falls said...

Mr. Yoder:

Thank you for taking the time to contact the City Clerk for the City of Sioux Falls. Her name is Debra Owen and I will be forwarding your correspondence to her immediately [for attention to the City Council].

I have taken a few minutes to review your site and have found it quite interesting!

Thank you again for your time and consideration.


Tamara Jorgensen, CMC
Assistant City Clerk

Mayor Pro Tem Hicks, Ft. Worth said...

From: Hicks, Kathleen []
Sent: Sunday, January 11, 2009 2:40 PM
cc: Trevino, Will; '
Subject: Re: Neighborhood blog - citizen report

Thanks so much for this information.

I am sure we will find it very helpful.

Kathleen Hicks
Mayor Pro Tem, Ft. Worth
Sent from my blackberry wireless
January 16, 2009 2:10 PM

Mayor Ferguson, Milwaukie said...

From: Ferguson, Jeremy []
Sent: Sunday, January 11, 2009 11:58 PM
To: Lexie Yoder;
Subject: RE: Neighborhood blog - citizen report

Thank you Mr. Yoder. I will forward on to City Council as well as our Budget Committee.

Jeremy Ferguson
Milwaukie Mayor

Mayor McCrory, Charlotte, NC said...

From: McCrory, Pat [
Sent: Friday, January 09, 2009 6:08 AM
To: 'Bob Yoder'
Subject: RE: Redmond Blog - Citizen report of rising salary costs in Redmond, WA

Bob ,
Thanks for the information. I will review it.

Mayor McCrory
Charlotte, N.C.

Lauren Walker, Council - Tacome said...

From: Walker, Lauren []
Sent: Sunday, January 11, 2009 9:42 PM
To: Bob Yoder
Subject: RE: Email from Web Site

Thank you.

Lauren Walker
Council District 3

City Clerk, Cincinnati said...

From: Autry, Melissa []
Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 5:41 AM
Subject: FW: Neighborhood blog - citizen report on risings salary costs

Mr. Yoder,
Thank you for your e-mail. Per your request, I have forwarded the information to the Mayor and Members of Council for consideration.
If I can be of any other service to you, please feel free to contact me.

City of Shoreline, WA, Admin. Sec. said...

Dear Mr. Yoder:

We received your email on January 12.

Thank you for taking the time to write to the City of Shoreline. Your comments will be distributed to the City Council and appropriate staff.

Please do not hesitate to contact the City Manager's Office at (206)
801-2214 if you have additional questions or concerns.

Heidi Costello
City Manager's Office
City of Shoreline
(206) 801-2214
Please note new email address -

Kerry Sievers, Human Resources, Redmond, WA said...

Dear Mr. Yoder:

I am responding to the recent posting on your blog regarding market adjustments to the salary ranges of City of Redmond employees.

Since 1999 the City has used a market-based analysis to evaluate the need for annual salary range adjustments for all non-uniformed positions of the City. Unlike many cities that use the CPI-W to calculate adjustments, the City of Redmond uses sources that ensure it salary ranges are in-line with those of both private and public employers in the Puget Sound area.

To calculate the adjustment, data is obtained from the following sources:

Survey of Private Businesses

Thirty-eight businesses in Redmond’s immediate labor market are contacted and asked to report their salary range adjustments for the coming year.

Comparison Cities

These comparison cities that compete for many of the same skilled labor pool as Redmond are asked to report their planned across-the-board increases for the coming year.

Published Survey

Milliman USA, a local consulting firm, produces an annual projection regarding anticipated changes that companies in the Puget Sound area will be making to salary ranges.

The private business survey, comparison cities and published survey are weighted equally in the analysis, resulting in a predominance of private as opposed to public sector data in the establishment of its salary ranges.

I hope this information is helpful to you in recognizing Redmond’s continuing efforts in ensuring its compensation packages are reflective of those of the local community.

Kerry Sievers
Human Resources Director
City of Redmond, WA

Anonymous said...

Mr. Yoder- Thank you for the email with link to your article and blog. I will forward to the Mayor and fellow councilmembers.

Dilenna Harris
Councilwoman, City of Vacaville

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bob Yoder said...

Thank you for your comment. Yes. Any reader who makes substantive comments by email which are posted on this story are asked if I can post their comment and/or post their name and title. So far, only one commenter asked I not use their name or reference their city and I followed their request. In addition the comment area functions as a Guest Book.

As for the City of Redmond, WA Administrative Directors, supervisors and elected, they are fully aware of my blog and this particular story and I would delete or edit anything they requested, once their request was confirmed.

Council President, Edmonds, WA said...

From: Wilson, DJ []
Sent: Saturday, January 17, 2009 5:38 AM
To: Bob Yoder
Subject: RE: neighborhood blog - citizen report

Thanks, Bob. Sorry late getting back to you, but I'll take a look at it.


Councilmember, Arlington, WA. said...

From: Signe Lien []
Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2009 2:43 PM
To: 'Bob/Lexie Yoder'
Subject: RE: Neighborhood blog - citizen report

Thank you. Will do. Sally Lien

Bob Yoder said...

EMAIL TO: Assist. to the Mayor and Redmond City Council, 1/17/09

Thank you, Ms Christenson -

Thank you for acknowledgng my blog and attaching the letter from Human Resources Director describing your salary adjustment method.

Your 10-year old pricing method should be openly reviewed by the public. Salary and benefits are over 70% of our Operating Budget. That's reason enough. Did the "Budget by Priority" process review your salary pricing procedures? It should. Just one example, Microsoft isn't exemplary of "the private sector" and the Redmond public doesn't know how you weigh this in your compensation package analysis.

Who knows what the >$500,000 Human resource FTE/Program all about? Councilman Vache didn't like it and he's in the business. I bet not one of the six Citizens on a Results Committee could describe the program or the compensation package process . Are Budget Committee summaries of meetings on record?

Perhaps, the Mayor could present this topic in a regional or national Mayoral conference? It appears to have wide interest.

Thank you,
Bob Yoder
[edits for clarity for the reader]

Councillor Jang, Bristish Columbia said...

From: Jang, Kerry []
Sent: Monday, January 19, 2009 1:41 PM
To: Bob Yoder
Subject: RE: neighborhood blog - citizen report of rising salary costs

Thanks Bob,
I will have a look.
Warm regards,

Dr. Kerry L. Jang
453 West 12th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
Canada. V5Y 1V4
604 873 7246

Councilman, City of Spokane said...

Bob Yoder:

After reading, a local council members remarks and your response – that was all that was available, I can only tell you what I am aware of. Almost all of our 2000+ employees are members of, labor organizations and that includes management (M&P Union) representation with the exception of, seven people outside of elected officials. Our various labor contracts are, negotiated in good faith and follow NLRB procedures to completion though I would have to say it is the NW regional comparable wages that dictate, outcome in our community. Our budget and management directives, have been such to afford us the ability to pass a budget that anticipates a 2% decline in revenue over 09’ and no layoffs and if your city is like ours, by far most of the tax revenue goes to wages. As for our City Council salary well, we still the lowest paid and below existing salary rankings and even with a pay increase determined from a Salary Review Commission who offered cost of living over the last number of years since last reviewed, it is not nearly enough for the effort.

Bob Apple, Spokane City Council Member

Councilmember Bob Apple, Spokane, WA said...

per email -

Mr. Yoder:

The reply is yours to do with as you like. I do not know what your Council makes for a wage but mostly we have alternative income or jobs and this one though expressed as part-time council is in fact full-time as representatives of the second largest City in our state. I do know that, the Seattle City Council members make over $100 Thousand annually and have plenty of staff and in my opinion we accomplish a lot more, on a comparative shoe string. Yes, we all have one.

Bob Apple

Councilmember Apple, Spokane, WA said...

In response to my email to Mr. Snow about my disbelief Council salaries can go up to $100,000

From: Apple, Bob []
Sent: Thursday, January 22, 2009 5:49 PM

To: Bob Yoder
Subject: RE: neighborhood blog - citizen report on rising city salary costs

Bob Yoder:

Yes it is true and can be verified on the Seattle City web site. Actually it is over $100,000 and I believe even Tacoma pays pretty well. It is really difficult in larger cities that, have media outlets because for unrelated reasons a members business will be slammed or an employers business and no one is, going to put up with that or cost and for long.

Bob Apple
Councilmember, City of Spokane

Bob Yoder said...

EMAIL TO: Assist. to the Mayor and Redmond City Council, 1/17/09

Thank you, Ms Christenson -

Thank you for acknowledgng my blog and attaching our Human Resources Director salary adjustment method.

Your 9-year old pricing method should be openly reviewed by the public. Salary and benefits are over 70% of our Operating Budget. That's reason enough. Did the "Budget by Priority" process review your salary pricing procedures? It should. Just one example, Microsoft isn't exemplary of "the private sector" and the Redmond public doesn't know how you weigh this in your compensation package analysis.

Who knows what the >$500,000 Human resource FTE/Program all about? Councilman Vache didn't like it and he's in the business. I bet not one of the six Citizens on a Results Committee could describe the program or the compensation package process . Are Budget Committee summaries of meetings on record?

Perhaps, the Mayor could present this topic in a regional or national Mayoral conference? It appears to have wide interest.

Thank you,
Bob Yoder
(minor edits for clarity)

Mayor of Coeur d'Alene said...

From Mayor Sandi Bloem -

Sent: Friday, January 16, 2009 4:43 PM
To: 'Lexie Yoder'
Subject: RE: neighborhood blog - citizen report

Dear Bob,
Thanks for sharing this information with me.
Best regards,
Sandi Bloem

City Manager, City of Redding, CA said...

Thank you for your e-mail. I will pass it on to the City Manager.

Have a nice day!

Kari Revheim
Secretary to the City Manager
City of Redding
777 Cypress Avenue
Redding, CA 96001
(530) 225-4061
(530) 225-4325 (fax)

Mayor & Council - Santa Clara said...

Your email message has been received and will be distributed to the full council.


Kimberly Green
Executive Assistant
Mayor and Council Offices
City of Santa Clara
1500 Warburton Avenue
Santa Clara, CA 95050

Bob Yoder said...

Mayor Marchione's 2011-2012 Budget was accepted by Council, 6-2 with two minor changes. Mayor Marchione laid off 50 staff (including 17 Microsoft contractors that were leaving anyway and 9 unfilled vacancies. Head Count in 1/2011 is 624. Staff got across-the-board 1% salary increases. The 1/% property tax and a 2% business head tax was approved. Utility rates increased 10% in the biennium. Council's .5 FTE pay increase $150/month. The Mayor's salary will be reviewed in 2011. The transfer of General funds to the CIP increased 9%. CIP is ~$21M.

The Mayor annouced a balanced budget - one of the first in years Efficiencies/Innovation and a slowing economy contributed to over $7M - $15 in savings. Revenue dropped $7.2M from the 2008-2009 biennium. The total 2011-2012 is over $500,000,000. 11/4/2011

Richard Morris said...

HI everyone, I have worked in the public sector (federal and state), and the private sector (corporate FTE, and contractor). Comparing the two worlds is fairly pointless. These days you can read plenty of economic reports that show the comparisons for compensation. While public sector jobs can have decent benefits, they mostly have lower pay rates for comparable skills. When I first graduated from college, I worked as a state school teacher. My pay rate was very low. I took the same college math classes as my engineering buddies. When they graduated, they were easily paid two times my pay rate.

But the public sector does not work for profits, and does not pay out huge bonuses, nor stock options.

As a community college teacher I was paid about half of my private sector pay rate. Why did I take the job? I wanted to give back to my community, and help students launch a high tech career. The pay rate was enough to pay my bills, but there was no "extra." I was able to make my budget work, since my mortgage was paid off. How did my mortgage get paid off? My good fortune came from stock options, earned at a private sector IPO.

I don't really know anything about working for the city (since I have never done so). But I am grateful for all city workers. They keep our city running, fix the roads, and plan for the future. These are jobs I am not trained to do (and I wouldn't want to do it).

However, as a State school teacher I can say that everyone I worked beside was professional and committed to high standards. It always saddens me to read that State school teachers are underpaid. Some say teaching is a noble profession, but it is not well paid. After all, the State of Washington now requires a Masters Degree for some teaching jobs.

Bob Yoder said...

Good points, Richard - especially about "it's pointless to compare the private with public sectors" because they are so different. But, wouldn't you know - the COR administration is one of the few cities in the country that include private sector salaries in their COLA decisions. They call it "non-uniform"; and include local corporations and businesses in their analysis. Most all cities by far use the CIP-WA index rather than customize their adjustment measures. Historically, the non-uniform COLA is higher than the CIP-WA. Happy New Year 2011