FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Cut From the Top

The recent controversy over the intriguingly high salaries of three public officials in the City of Bell should serve as a template for all budget negotiations throughout the state going forward and into the future.

Every time a budget deficit appears, it is always the lowest paid and most vulnerable citizens who are asked to sacrifice.

The furor over the salaries that public officials in the City of Bell have been paying themselves shows that in all matters regarding city, county, and state budgets, we must cut from the top.

With a population of less than 40,000 residents, the Los Angeles Times recently revealed that Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo drew a paycheck of $787,637 a year, almost twice as much as President Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia made $376,288 a year, while Bell Police Chief Randy Adams earned $457,000.

That is $150,000 more than Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.

After the three officials step down, they will receive sizeable pensions.

Rizzo will collect a pension of $600,000 a year, and Adams will collect a pension of $411,300.

The American Federation of State County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) shares the public’s concern over how our tax dollars are being spent, especially in light of the billions given to bail out the financial institutions responsible for our current economic crisis.

With unemployment at 10% nationally and 12% in California alone, the consensus is that government can and should do more to help those who have lost their jobs and homes.

Unfortunately, this pattern of plundering the general fund and siphoning off taxpayer dollars for personal profit has been going on for a long time, and it occurs in many ways.

High administrative salaries are one way.

Outsourcing the work of civil servants and channeling tax subsidies to private businesses are another.

For example, in San Jose the city manager has proposed outsourcing municipal video production services to a private company named CreaTV at the recommendation of a department manager who previously sat on CreaTV’s board of directors, and who will now be tasked with managing San Jose’s video service contract with CreaTV.

This, despite the fact that private contractors generally cost 50 percent more than civil servants.

This same outrageous activity is repeated at the state level, where taxpayers shell out $34 billion a year paying private contractors to perform the same work as civil servants.

These acts of outright theft result in increased poverty and severe reductions in valuable public services such as health care and human services, education, and parks and recreation that a majority of voters support.

In the end, they serve to reduce our first class state to the status of a Third World nation.

We must make sure that our precious taxpayer dollars are spent only on programs that have been shown to advance the common good, and which enrich our commonwealth.

This can be done by ending high administrative salaries and tax subsidies to private businesses and eliminating the practice of contracting out civil service work.

WILLIE L. PELOTE, Sr. is an Assistant Director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO.

 

WORDS THAT STICK

?

 

More articles by:

March 20, 2019
T.J. Coles
Countdown to “Full Spectrum Dominance”
W. T. Whitney
Re-Targeting Cuba: Why Title III of U.S. Helms-Burton Act will be a Horror Show
Kenneth Surin
Ukania’s Great Privatization Heist
Howard Lisnoff
“Say It Ain’t So, Joe:” the Latest Neoliberal from the War and Wall Street Party
Walter Clemens
Jailed Birds of a Feather May Sing Together
George Ochenski
Failing Students on Climate Change
Cesar Chelala
The Sweet Smell of Madeleine
Binoy Kampmark
Global Kids Strike
Nicky Reid
Where Have All the Flowers Gone?: Requiem for a Fictional Party
Elliot Sperber
Empedocles and You and Me 
March 19, 2019
Paul Street
Socialism Curiously Trumps Fascism in U.S. Political Threat Reporting
Jonah Raskin
Guy Standing on Anxiety, Anger and Alienation: an Interview About “The Precariat”
Patrick Cockburn
The Brutal Legacy of Bloody Sunday is a Powerful Warning to Those Hoping to Save Brexit
Robert Fisk
Turning Algeria Into a Necrocracy
John Steppling
Day of Wrath
Robin Philpot
Truth, Freedom and Peace Will Prevail in Rwanda
Victor Grossman
Women Marchers and Absentees
Binoy Kampmark
The Dangers of Values: Brenton Tarrant, Fraser Anning and the Christchurch Shootings
Jeff Sher
Let Big Pharma Build the Wall
Jimmy Centeno
Venezuela Beneath the Skin of Imperialism
Jeffrey Sommers – Christopher Fons
Scott Walker’s Failure, Progressive Wisconsin’s Win: Milwaukee’s 2020 Democratic Party Convention
Steve Early
Time for Change at NewsGuild?
March 18, 2019
Scott Poynting
Terrorism Has No Religion
Ipek S. Burnett
Black Lives on Trial
John Feffer
The World’s Most Dangerous Divide
Paul Cochrane
On the Ground in Venezuela vs. the Media Spectacle
Dean Baker
The Fed and the 3.8 Percent Unemployment Rate
Thomas Knapp
Social Media Companies “Struggle” to Help Censors Keep us in the Dark
Binoy Kampmark
Death in New Zealand: The Christchurch Shootings
Mark Weisbrot
The Reality Behind Trump’s Venezuela Regime Change Coalition
Weekend Edition
March 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Is Ilhan Omar Wrong…About Anything?
Kenn Orphan
Grieving in the Anthropocene
Jeffrey Kaye
On the Death of Guantanamo Detainee 10028
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
In Salinas, Puerto Rico, Vulnerable Americans Are Still Trapped in the Ruins Left by Hurricane Maria
Ben Debney
Christchurch, the White Victim Complex and Savage Capitalism
Eric Draitser
Did Dallas Police and Local Media Collude to Cover Up Terrorist Threats against Journalist Barrett Brown?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Straighten Up and Fly Right
Jack Rasmus
Trump’s $34 Trillion Deficit and Debt Bomb
David Rosen
America’s Puppet: Meet Juan Guaidó
Jason Hirthler
Annexing the Stars: Walcott, Rhodes, and Venezuela
Samantha M. - Angelica Perkins
Our Green New Deal
Mel Gurtov
Trump’s Nightmare Budget
Steven Colatrella
The 18th Brumaire of Just About Everybody: the Rise of Authoritarian Strongmen and How to Prevent and Reverse It
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Riding the Wild Bull of Nuclear Power
Michael K. Smith
Thirty Years Gone: Remembering “Cactus Ed”
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail