I almost fell off my chair when I realized that the City of CdA gives SIX weeks of paid vacation after employees have been on the job over 10 years. Doesn’t that sound European? Don’t the French mandate that everyone have six weeks paid vacation each year…how’s that entitlement working out for them?
But the golden benefits don’t stop with a mere SIX weeks. Goodness, no! You have to add sick time of THREE weeks per year, for everyone, even the newbies. And then add in ELEVEN paid holidays, for everyone of course.
The total possible paid time off for city employees is just shy of THREE MONTHS per year, for those over 10 years on the job. And there are lots of people who qualify. New people to the city must settle for just under TWO MONTHS possible paid time off per year.
But don’t feel badly for the newbies, they advance quickly. After only 3 years with the city they are up to 3 ½ weeks of vacation, and after 5 years they jump to 5 weeks. (The Fire Dept’s rates are different and appear even more generous.)
Doesn’t this seem outrageous? But we’re not done yet. Buckle in for the list of paid benefits to go along with all that time off:
City benefits include:
Prescription Drug Insurance
Long Term Disability Insurance
Health Savings Accounts
Please remember that the City is does not make a profit to pay for these generous benefits; it creates no tax revenue, instead it uses your taxes. All of the vacation time, sick time, holiday pay and long list of other benefits are paid by taxpayer dollars.
In my last two newsletters, I showed you the 19 positions at the City that make over $100,000, and compared them to the 4 in Twin Falls and 0 in Caldwell, which are Idaho cities of equal population to Coeur d’Alene.
Let me add this little tidbit: No one at the County makes $100,000 or more.
The updated 2011 info from the US Dept of Labor shows that full time jobs in the CdA area average $38, 500 per year. And that’s if you’re lucky enough to have a job. Unemployment in our community has been stuck near 11% for many months.
How can our City pay levels be so out of line with the real world? Because they have a union. In fact, they have three unions: Fire, Police and City Employees. None of these unions represent the taxpayers, of course, and during the contract negotiations, guess who sits across the table from the union folks? City administrators who are supposedly representing the interests of the taxpayers but will directly benefit from any increases to the contracts!
Now a Washington State Union has donated $1500 to the CdA city council campaigns of John Bruning, Ron Edinger and George Sayler. The CdA Employee Union has donated $1500 to these three candidates as well. These unions want to make sure their golden pay & benefits will continue to grow.
How have we let this go so long, people? We all know there are many wonderful people who work for the city, but these salaries and benefits are out of control. The only thing you can do is Vote. And get everyone you know in CdA to vote also. It’s up to you.
Dan Gookin and Steve Adams will bring common sense to our council.
You can vote right now at the Elections Dept at 1808 North 3rd Street, or you can go to your usual polling place on Election Day, next Tuesday, Nov. 8. If you have questions about where to vote, just call the Elections Dept at 446-1030.
I will leave you with this wise thought from the French philosopher Voltaire, back in 1764: “The art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.”