City should trim excessive salaries

To the Editor:

City should trim excessive salaries This is an open letter to the Ridgecrest mayor, city council members and city management.

It is apparent that Ridgecrest city finances are a real mess! No one seems to know exactly how bad it is — are we in debt by $1.3 million, at risk of not having a budget reserve, and are more surprises lying in wait?

I know there is talk about closing Pinney Pool, cutting services to the community, backfilling poor city budget/spending decisions with Measure L funds, etc. The one thing I have not heard discussed is matter of at least 10 city employees receiving annual salaries in excess of $100,000 as shown in the accompanying chart for 2010 and 2011 Ridgecrest $100,000+ salaries.

Note that 2012 salaries are not posted at http://publicpay.ca,gov/ (search “Ridgecrest”). There was a 19.8-percent increase in these salaries from 2010 and 2011. What was percentage increase that occurred between 2011 and 2012? And here we are in 2013 and still unable to fix the budget!

I am in no way downplaying the skills of these employees. I am suggesting that their salaries and benefits be reviewed by the mayor and city council members as a partial solution to the city’s fiscal problems (e.g., perhaps a temporary two-year cut to these salaries effective immediately).

Citizens of Ridgecrest (young and old) should not have bear the brunt of the fiscal mess the city finds itself in! Nothing should be off the table and laying off additional “worker-bee” employees (i.e., lower paid) is not an acceptable solution.

Thank you.

Howard Smith

Story First Published: 2013-03-20