Sunday, June 06, 2010

Standard-Examiner: More Boss Godfrey Show Boatin'

Go for it, Ogden City Council... If you jack up your salaries to Salt Lake City levels, believe us, your WCF Blogmeister won't complain one danged bit.

Fascinating Scott Schwebke story in this morning's Standard-Examiner, reporting on an item on Tuesday night's Emerald City Council agenda, wherein, among other things, the Council will consider salary increases for elected municipal officials, themselves included. The headline of course focuses on what else? More Boss Godfrey show-boatin'; that's what:
Ogden City Mayor Matthew Godfrey: No raise for me
This salary increase issue has been floating around for quite a while; you can read a couple of our previous articles on the subject here and here.

Mr. Schwbke reports this morning that council staff has been doing some serious research on the issue:

The proposed pay increase for mayor and the city council is tied to a survey comparing Ogden to five other cities that also have a council-mayor form of government, said City Council Chairwoman Caitlin K. Gochnour. Those cities are Sandy, Salt Lake City, Provo, Logan and Murray.
Being the curious type, we immediately zeroed in on the council's online Meeting Agenda Packet in the hope of finding some info on these cross-city salary comparisons. Unfortunately we got no help there, inasmuch as the packet is entirely devoid of any of the tantalizing raw cross-comparison data.

Undeterred, we immediately navigated over to one of the most useful Utah databases on the web, utahsright.com, from which we spent about an hour cutting and pasting, in order to compile a "quick and dirty" salary comparison page of our very own:
Comparable Salaries of Elected Officials in Utah Mayor-Council Form of Government Cities
Check it out, O Gentle Ones!

Decide for yourselves whether the salaries of our hard-working Emerald City elected officials are due for a sharp increase.

We're short of time this morning, so we'll skip our own expansive editorializing on this. Having said that however, we will offer this pitch: Ogden City Council members put in full time effort for what's compensated as a nominally part-time job. If you compare the current proposed compensation for our own city council with councils of Sandy, Salt Lake and Murray, it's obvious to us that even under the current proposal, the Council will be selling itself short. Go for it, Ogden City Council! If you jack up your salaries to Salt Lake City levels, you can take our word for it... you won't hear a peep of a complaint from your WCF blogmeister.

As for Godfrey, who cares? If he won't take the extra 28 grand, he can donate it to a worthy project of his own choosing, no? We've heard Boss Godfrey's Velodrome Fund is accepting private donations and remains a mite short of funds.

We're posting this article on the fly... gotta go. But don't forget to lodge your own ever-savvy comments and observations.

25 comments:

45 k said...

...and, it looks like our clothes-less emperor and his band of sycophants are planning to raid the city coffers to give the mayor a pay raise of 25%.

Because, see, all the other cities of similar size and bent that were surveyed are doing it.

And while they are at it, the city council will give themselves a raise too.

I am of the mind that the Mayors salary should be commensurate with the average wages of those who live within the city that he administers, not pegged to the average wages of a business executive in the private sector.

Curmudgeon said...

Rudi:

Looks like Hizzonah has finally gotten someone on board the G-Train who knows a tad or two about PR. Or he's finally decided to listen to his PR people. And saying he'll turning down an increase that won't happen in any case for two years if he decides to run again and if he's re-elected isn't giving up much. It's posturing, as you note.

On the broader question of whether Ogden's mayor should be paid more: as people consider that, they need to separate their answer to that question, whatever it is, from the man now occupying the office. The question is, what pay should attach to the office, not what pay do we think Hizzonah deserves based on his performance therein. Two very different questions.

And you're right on target about Council. Those of them doing their jobs right put in 20 plus hours a week regularly, and sometimes more. For which they draw about 8K a year. They are way under-paid for doing a time-consuming and very important job.

But I'm not sure Ogden officials should be drawing comparable pay with SLC ones. The size of the cities involved and the size of the budgets they manage are not comparable.

As for the group that began calling for higher pay for the Mayor of Ogden a while ago.... they're listed in Mr. Schweble's story --- the way I read that was that they were saying "we have got to be able to do better than Matt Godfrey, and if we have to up the ante to get someone in the office who knows his posterior from his middle arm joint, then let's bite the bullet and do it. It'll be worth every penny."

I couldn't agree more.

ozboy said...

Mr. Curmudgeon

Your take on the motive for the initial salary increase proponents is exactly what their PR flacks wanted the public to think it was. The thing is however, I smell a rat. I think at least several of those named suits are known cronies of his holiness Lord Mayor Godfrey. I think it a safe assumption that in fact all of them are Godfrey boosters or stand to make money off his action.

The proof of the pudding will be if and when said raise goes into effect - will Godfrey then decline it. The public has a short memory of campaign pap like this and Godfrey well knows that he can make promises today and his loyal followers will not put up a squeak when he fails to deliver on them.

Another point - I believe that he either makes a lot more money because of his being mayor, or he is feathering his future bed in some other big way for his post mayor life. As long as he is mayor he can feather that nest to a lot higher level than the $28,000 raise would.

And Rudi, the salary chart was great - thanks, but it might have been good to include the Ogden salaries on the same page. The disparity of council salaries compared to the other cities would have been more apparent.

One other point - council members and mayors also have other sources of incomes associated with their job than the utahright web site publishes. Those numbers on that site are just the base salary from the public. Other common salaries for elected officials come from board memberships in things like the sewer district, the irrigation water district the burn plant board, etc. I don't know to what extent that applies to the Ogden mayor and council, but I know it exists in other Utah cities and towns.

One thing we do agree on concerning this subject, and that is the Council pay seems way low compared to what they do and the bull shit they have to put up with from the Godfreyites. Even doubling their pay, which of course is not being proposed, would still have them quite a bit below SLC.

I also believe that aying the council, or the mayor more, is not likely to really be an inducement for better candidates as I think the best possible candidates would be motivated less by money and more by civic service.

My bottom line suggestion to the council is to double your own salary and keep Godfrey's where it is so that he can't use his turning down a big raise as a campaign smoke screen.

Jennifer said...

Rudi, Rudi, Rudi ...

If I am to compare these other fair cities' elected officials' salaries with Ogden ... and in order to form an opinion on whether the begged question of *Do Ogden City Elected Officials Merit a Pay Increase?* ... I would have a look at the current Ogden Salaries on the same page as the other cities.

Just Sayin,

TLJ

OneWhoKnows said...

Godfrey is just baiting the hook and putting out a feeler if he could retain his job for another term. The ground work is being laid for his re-election, but we must all remember how he had his friends cheat for him last time and barely pulled off a squeeker. His ego could not stand a defeat at the polls and he'll probably wait until the last minute to tell us all what his plans will be. I think we all need to tell him what our plans are! Don't fall for his bullshit again, three times should be enough.

RudiZink said...

Jennifer and Oz:

The current and proposed salary parameters were already set forth in the Std-Ex story:

"The proposal recommends that the mayor's salary increase from the current level of about $80,000 a year to $108,857 effective Jan. 3, 2012."...

"The city council is also considering raising the salary of its chairperson from $10,917 to $13,884 and its vice chairperson from $9,860 to $12,888.

The salary for remaining council members would increase from 8,803 to $11,880"
.

AFAIC, reiterating these figures on the archives page would have been unnecessarily time consuming and redundant.

I believe that readers with reasonably normal memories and attention spans needed not be spoonfed, especially in a circummstance like today, when I was posting within a tight personal calender.

Curmudgeon said...

Oz:

I wouldn't dismiss Kym Buttschardt, Scott Parkinson, Ryan Christiansen, and Mike Dowse as mindless Godfreyistas. They've been in his camp in the past on some issues, not on others, and some of them supported his re-election. But they are all people of generally proven business judgment, as Hizzonah is not. And the fact is, Hizzonah has not been able to deliver on his promises to some of his former business supporters as he has in the past. He couldn't deliver on the 25th Street rezoning; he couldn't deliver on the ice tower; he couldn't deliver on the gondola; he couldn't deliver on the outlet malls in the Washington St. rehabs; he couldn't deliver key hand-picked council candidates, one of whom cut and ran before election day; he hasn't delivered on the Junction as promised; his hand-picked developer couldn't deliver on the River Project. And so on.

Mayors who can't deliver for business supporters over time, and whose business judgement looks more and more suspect over time, generally find their former good buddies drifting off. [When's the last time you heard a strong statement from the president of the Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce supporting Hizzonah unconditionally? Been a while, hasn't it? Not a really strong one since he led them over the cliff on the gondola.]

So I don't think it's necessarily a stretch to take the call of the four for more pay to attract better mayors as an indication of their ebbing confidence in Hizzonah. A bit oblique, maybe, but not much.

Of course, my understanding of the political economy of mayordom comes from the fact that I'm the grandson of a Jersey City cop during Boss Hague's reign there. And the rules of the road were very simple for mayors in Jersey: if you couldn't deliver to your backers, you became an ex-mayor real fast. And of late, Hizzonah has not been able to deliver.

Just a suggestion....

Jennifer said...

Rudi: the blogger with attitude ... hrmph! Oh, to endure the labor of Cut&Paste with such a tight schedule ... a thousand apologies for expectations over and above my allotted quota for the above-average gentle-blog-reader ...

[snicker & snort]

=)

TLJ

RudiZink said...

"Rudi: the blogger with attitude..."

Ya think?

:-x

Dorrene Jeske said...

I was disappointed that the article did not state what the proposed increase for city employees would be in 2012. They should be the first concern of the mayor and city council as they have been without a real increase for a couple of years. They did receive some help with their benefit package last year as the city picked up the increase in insurance premiums which was significant.


The council received an increase in pay only once during the four years that I was on the council and it was a 2 percent increase. The mayor did not receive an increase in salary for three of the four years that the council didn't receive one. But there is a big difference -- the mayor has several expense accounts available to him so he was not really hurting.

I've been told that Murray is the closest city in size to Ogden, which I think should be a key factor when considering a pay increase. So for those of you who are comparing, take a look at Murray's mayor and city council members pay. It isn't right to compare Ogden to Salt Lake City as there are too many differences in their roles to make it fair.

I would like to see the mayor's salary increased after the city employees receive a decent increase in pay and they are satisfied. We have lost way too many trained firefighters and police officers to surrounding communities who offer them a better salary. It's a poor business practice to train employees for someone else -- the administration needs to get their heads out of the hole they've buried them in. I've listened to their senseless arguments and nothing will change for our firefighters, police officers and the citizens of Ogden who are also victims until the administration changes their attitude. I'm not saying that an increase in the mayor's salary will give us qualified and conscientious candidates, but it might help as I have heard good could-be candidates say that they couldn't afford to take the cut in pay.

fireman Joe said...

Dorrene-2%, based on pay for performance. We still have the problem of people being here 7 Plus years and still making the same wage as the guy who just walked in off the street.

David S. said...

This is an OUTRAGE. How can they offer a pay raise to the mayor when they continually decrease public education funding? I am a Student, I have 100% attendance, and have earned 10.50 credits this year alone. Education of the youth is the foundation of the future. So why not put that twenty-eight thousand dollars to something important like education? The mayor makes more than enough money already.
For the wellbeing of myself i sincerely hope that Mayor Godfrey does not get re-elected.

oops wrong target said...

Hate to break it to you, David. Ogden City doesn't fund the Ogden School District. Perhaps you could take your complaint to the state legislature, which is the true source of problems related to public school funding.

Curmudgeon said...

David:

The Mayor and City Council are not responsible for cuts in education funding. They don't control the education budget. The budget shortfalls and cuts that have you concerned --- rightly concerned --- are largely the result of legislative action [or in action]. In particular, the state legislature blew massive holes in education funding when it reorganized state revenues a couple of years ago.

You want to hold the mayor and Council responsible for their actions, fine. But you can't fairly hold them responsible for damage done by the legislature in cutting education funding.

Dorrene Jeske said...

Fireman Joe,

Thanks for the info. I think that 2% is ridiculous -- it doesn't even begin to cover inflation and cost of living expenses for one year, let alone three!

George K said...

Dorrene,

Have you considered that If we didn't have the high-salaried directors that are on the city payroll, then maybe there would be enough money for the employees to receive a fairly decent increase? People need to remember that when and if the mayor runs for another term. Over 1.3 million dollars of the budget goes to pay the salaries and expense accounts of six directors and one CAO (that doesn't include the mayor)! Think about it -- does Ogden really need to have these high-salaried directors along with 21 managers or their equal at close to $100,000 a year plus expense accounts? I don't think the citizens of Ogden are getting their money's worth.

OgdenLover said...

$80,000 a year is pretty good for a former pizza delivery boy who had trouble holding on to a steady job.

I agree, the rank & file City employees should get an increase even before the Council, which certainly deserves it.

Stephen M. Cook said...

So, he jumped from being a pimply faced guy with a pizza pie, to an 80k job with perks and a pimpin' entourage of dour suits and teatotaling lackies.

Every student of bookkeeping should be so lucky as to go right from classroom inexperience, right on the public dole/public service.

One would suspect, given his penchant for not being able to deliver on multi-million dollar promises to hard-nosed campaign donors, that he has a packin'bodyguard contingent as well.

Pimpin' and packin': That's Phatt Matt.

The Real David S. said...

It looks like there is more than one David S around here. Who'd have figured?

Jennifer said...

For the first David S & Curmy (my pal):

Tax increment funding of city-held debts ARE affecting the funding for education in Ogden City; and this form of funding originated on the ninth floor ... of course they had High Hopes (like the little ant on that rubber tree plant) - which hopes never panned out, and they're stuck in tax-increment debt funding for the next twelve years + adding more tax increment funding for other projects ...

TLJ

4inchstelletos said...

What does anyone out there understand about city ordinances? Isn't it true that an elected official is bound by city ordinances? If an ordinance is out there stating an elected, salaried official makes some X amount of dollars as pay, then it would clearly seem reasonable to believe that regardless of wanting a $28K raise or not, that elected salaried official would still get the raise simply because the ordinance is in place. If this is the case, which I personally do not know for certain, it would be an ideal way for said official to play the game in hopes few understand this. Claim you won't take a raise, hope for kudos via votes from taxpayers proud of you for refusing said raise, get re-elected by voters who believed you didn't get that UNDESERVED raise, and then you get to play Boss Godfrey for yet another hellish term, WITH a load more pay.
Again, I could be wrong.

Curmudgeon said...

Jennifer:

Yes, Jennifer, but the huge cuts to education funding in districts across the state are not the result of tax increment funded projects, not even in Ogden. Yes, they affect education revenues, but they are by no means the major source of the recent funding problems. If all WC schools had to deal with was the delayed revenues because of tax increment funded projects, they'd be, I think, overjoyed.

Oh Ya! said...

Oh my heal,
They are all talking about a raise when in fact they should all take a decrease just like the legislature did this year. I mean if the legislature that makes 6,000 a year and takes a 10% cut, shouldn't the mayor and all the other ones take a cut. Lets get real. This is not the time to talk about raises when in fact we have a $250,000.00 fine to pay off. Get the chief to sent his salary to the council.

Curmudgeon said...

OY:

That this is no time for the city to eat a $215,000 fine just to keep on Double Dip Greiner as [simultaneously] Ogden's Retired Chief of Police and Ogden's Chief of Police is certainly true enough. On that at least we are in complete agreement.

Cindy said...

The Legislature is to blame for budget shortfalls? You have to be kidding me! We are the best fiscally managed state in the Union. Didn't you see our Legislators patting themselves on their backs last year?

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