I noticed that one of the new president’s first actions was freezing the salaries of White House staff (and here is the key) who make over $100,000 annually. I also noticed in the local paper that the local college chancellor is up for an 18-percent raise ($ 38,000) on top of her $209,000 salary. Who knows how many perks are added to that?
Also, I remember looking up on the Internet the salaries of all the Contra Costa County employees (tinyurl.com/68dyes). The information is staggering. The county has several hundred employees making over six-digit-figure salaries. In fact, I noticed some in the $300,000 and even $400,000 salary range.
This is absurd. When our economy is dependant on the taxpayer (you and I), these dollars do not reflect “public servants.” These salaries are “pots of gold” dished out from our tax dollars. While it is very true that we have extremely talented employees in the public sector, the need to pay these types of salaries is becoming very burdensome on our overall services.
The excuses used by our public leaders are “If we do not pay more to this person, we may lose them to another agency.” This type of mythology is what is creating the “leapfrog effect.” One agency pays more so the competing agency pays more plus some (and the cycle continues), with the public taxpayer losing in all respects.
In addition, the benefit retirement for these salaried employees becomes a “pyramid-type scheme.” The first people to retire will place the most burden on the system. The bottom employees will end up needing to be bailed out by us (the taxpayer) or negotiate less.
This is happening right now in our county. We are trading public services for previous retirement needs due to the obscene salaries created by the “leapfrog effect.” I think the State of California and the counties should follow the new president’s lead and freeze all salaries over $100,000. Also, the legislators or maybe a taxpayers’ association should sponsor a bill that restricts all raises to a cost-of-living scale.
Moreover, any raises above the cost of living should be approved by the voters of the agency requesting the increase. If a public servant person can not live off of $1,925 plus benefits every week, that person needs to work in the private sector, where risk is not dependant on us (the taxpayer).
Just like the housing market, this public-salary bubble is going to burst the county budget without action.