Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A missed opportunity?

The Concord Monitor is reporting this morning that a new finance director has been hired to replace Jim Howard.
Rochester's Deputy City Manager Brian LeBrun will be taking the job. There were 60 applicants, the story stated. As well, LeBrun will be making about $102,000.
Back in September, I broke the story that Howard would be leaving. At the time, I wrote:
"It also comes at a time when tens of thousands of finance people are out of work across the country. So a high quality replacement, at a below market salary rate, should not be hard to find."
Well, it looks like that opportunity was blown. Despite multi-million dollar deficits, city government is just chugging along like usual. It is shocking that in a time of economic crisis the city did not try to find an excellent candidate - or even an acceptable candidate - who might be at a below market rate. The pay scale for this position is nearly three times the median income for the region.
There is absolutely no reason why the pay grade for this position could not have been cut to $60K and $70K. I'm sure there would have been many potential employees willing to take the job at that price. And the $30K to $40K in savings could have been used in another line item.
We are in the middle of a Depression here. The city has another multi-million deficit coming. All kinds of things are going to get cut because few if any Concord taxpayers can afford at 6 percent tax increase. It really is time for the city to bring municipal salaries and benefits in line with the median income of the region and what private sector employees make and get.
I'm not suggesting that the finance director be hired at $8 an hour, the rate of just about the only jobs available in Concord right now. But I am suggesting that the city get serious about becoming equitable between what the taxpayers make and municipal employees make. The city can start by reevaluating the pay grade for every vacancy that is a "must replace" position, like this one, and then lowering the salary to save money and reduce costs. It will be hard to do, but it is time.


Anonymous said...

Personally, I am waiting to see the day, when the mayor replaces the manager,

Anonymous said...

Do you mean that you want to go back to a Strong Mayor system and the Mayor runs the City or do you mean that you would like to see a change with the City Manager?
Thank you,
Mark Coen

Jeremy said...

It's hard to believe that while so many are loosing their jobs and homes that we could spend over 100K for a financial director. I thought government service was supposed to be sacrafice. This doesn't sound like service to me.

Anonymous said...

It might be time for a change in the way the city does business. It seems as if there is no accountability at all on anything. There is also an arrogance of power even though no one really wants the political positions in the city. I don't know how you fix that, but it should be fixed.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame, I own house in Concord. Of Course, I can't sell my house right now, without taking a loss, oh wait the city told me it's worth more, how do I get someone to buy it at the apprasied value? Is there someone in city hall that can help me?