Thursday, November 13, 2008

Comfortable Compensation for Coody Staff

"We pay our employees very well," said Mayor Dan Coody during a debate at City Hall last night. That was one of the few claims he has ever made that could be considered an understatement. Coody should know about sweet salaries, because 24 of the top 26 city employees making over $80,000 in the 2009 budget are Dan Coody and his appointed staff. The elected City Attorney Kit Williams ($103,860) is also in the Top Tier.

Among the Coody staffers that he pays "very well" are Gary Dumas ($112,438), His Honor Charles Daniel Coody ($107,039 plus $5,000 car allowance), David Jurgens ($104,335), Greg Tabor ($102,21), and Paul Becker ($101,764). Coody also said during the debate that the city was doing an excellent job with diversity, but you will note that this elite group of top paid staff share certain characteristics of race and gender.

Alderman Lioneld Jordan said he would work toward getting a cost-of-living adjustment for the other 736 city employees, because they have not had one in two years. To do that and still present a balanced budget, Jordan said he would start with a salary freeze on city employees that make more than $80,000 a year. "Some of the cuts will come from the top down" in his administration, he said.

Dan Coody has seen his salary increase by approximately $24,000 in the last four years, a nice 28% pay hike when you realize that many city employees make less than $24,000 a year, have had no cost-of-living adjustment, do not get a $5,000 car allowance, do not get unlimited paid leave for vacations or personal business, do not get paid trips to Europe, and are not eligible for the annual $55,000 life retirement that Coody stands to be paid from city general funds.

Some animals are more equal than others
. Perhaps Mayor Coody deserves all that he is provided by the taxpayers, but he doesn't have to be so smug about it nor so disdainful toward those who have less.

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