Does Charter Review Commission want a High Paid Council?
Listening to the council today was an ordeal. What would they do all
day if there were no tax abatements to dole out? Not just tax abatements
but they also voted to make the final pay off on another John Ware crooked deal.
When the Mayor made her annual statement against the Big 8 payoff and the original
deal, Don Hill started a chorus of "we ought to be happy to pay shakedown
money to the Big 8", "sports events book up our hotels", etc.,
etc., etc. Of course, Mayor PreTend Mary Poss chimed in with how much she loves sports
and the importance of sports to her and Dallas. I was just listening to
the radio and still had to laugh at the picture of how important physical
activities, much less athletic events, are to Mrs. Poss.
I was hooked because it sounded like it was going to be a fun day at City
Hall. It got better and better. They revisited the North Dallas water tax that Ed
Oakley and Ron Kirk pushed through last year. The Water Dept. wants to
spend another $500,000 to continue to educate us about water conservation.
That got tabled.
Before they broke for lunch, Mayor PreTend Poss named
the restaurant "furnishing" their lunch and desert. It was like
the non-commercials on PBS.
One fun thing to watch for between now and council filing deadline in March -- Oakley and Mark Housewright trying to
one-up each other. They were discussing a new program at MLK Center
where the community can cash checks until fairly late in the evening.
Shakedown Chaney took a staff person through the paces as if he was an
attorney cross-examining her, when he knew the answers in advance, but acted
as if he was happily surprised. Then Ed Oakley pretty much said he was
responsible for this new private-public achievement, and he may have been
because he found the "young man" who is the brains behind this rec
center bank operation.
Maybe I'm mellowing, but they didn't seem so horrible today. Well, no
worse than usual, but not much better. While they were in executive
session and lunching on those donated lunches and I was munching on my
self-purchased lunch, I was thumbing through the DMN (on-line) and caught Gromer
at new way to boost council pay
. . future mayors and City Council members may get a financial windfall,
if they accept it.
Commission members are brainstorming ways to boost the pay of
the mayor and council members, with a goal of each getting $125,000 and
$75,000 a year.
. . . The politically astute in Dallas realize that voters are not likely
to approve such salary changes. So commission members are toying with a
charter amendment proposal that would create a compensation committee for
the mayor and City Council.
The committee would determine the salaries of the mayor
and council members. The recommendations would have to be approved by the
council. . . .
"Stay away from council pay," said council member Sandy
Greyson. "We just did it. It's too soon to try it again."
. . . But commission members like the proposal for two reasons:
? It allows salary increase plans to evade voters who historically are
opposed to such changes.
? And it provides light cover for council members who don't want to be
put in the position of developing their own pay raise proposals.
member Veletta Forsythe Lill said . . . "I'm not comfortable
with it," . . .
Commission member and former council member Don
Hicks said council pay raises should be tied to the raises of other
city employees . . . .
DeMetris Sampson orchestrated the southern
sector campaign for the successful 2001 vote on council pay. She said
Dallas remained polarized, with the north against added compensation and
southern sector voters in favor. . . .
Michael Jung urged the commission to be cautious
about putting a compensation committee proposal before residents. . . .
"Some people feel it would not only take
down the increase, but all of our recommendations," he said. . .
Well, that changes everything. It's one thing to listen to a bunch of
buffoons making pompous pronouncements, but to pay them $75,000 to do what they
are doing would make us dumber than them.
Can you believe it? We are laying off people who really do something for
their salary. Our police and
firefighters are underpaid. The council wants to change benefits employees
have had for decades. This Commission is looking for ways to pay a bunch
of amateurs $75,000 a year. Talk about out of touch with reality!
I have been surprised at how both civilian and public safety personnel do not seem
to realize what is going on out in the private sector. People are taking
salary cuts and freezes to protect their jobs. Those folks don't like it,
but they are doing what they must to stay employed. When the Mayor
looked at SIP pay and now accrued sick leave, city personnel went
ballistic. You have to wonder if they read the paper. I don't agree
with tampering with the benefit package for city rank and file, but I do think City
Hall management should be prohibited from accruing sick leave.
worries me most about the changes in City Hall personnel matters is that we are
laying off the new, high energy folks and the dead wood have seniority and will
keep their jobs.
It is ludicrous for anyone to consider paying a newly elected city council
member $75,000 when a police or firefighter rookie makes less than
$35,000. I'm telling you this is just the first step to ending term
limits. Being a council member is not a full-time job and should not
be. Talk about denial!
When you have the ODB wanting to demolish the Mercantile complex for "green
space" Downtown at the same time we must borrow money (the bond package) to
fix our deplorable streets, you know you have stepped into Alice's World on the
other side of the Looking Glass. But, then, the ODB look at the "Big
Picture". Reality is for the little people who must pay for those
It is particularly disheartening when citizens are serving on a commission to
review our form of government and their first priority is creating a scheme to
let council salaries be raised without you voting on the matter. We don't
need a high paid council of amateurs running things, we need to pay our rank and
file personnel (civilian and public safety) good to high salaries so that we are
getting the best professionals to run things at City Hall. What we have
currently is a bunch of very high paid Managers, Asst. Managers and Department
Heads who don't deliver.
It is bad enough the Charter Review Commission is even considering salary
increases when it's been just over a year since we gave the council a
raise. But, this Commission is trying to create a system that keeps Dallas
taxpayers out of the decision making process regarding council pay.
I am saying right now -- VOTE NO to any suggested change in our city government
or process. NO to changing checks and balances at City Hall. NO to
salary increases for council. NO to changing council terms or term
limits. Calling this Charter Review Commission was a huge and expensive
CALL IT OFF.