Reward only hard-workers

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 31, 2003

Once again the salaries of high-level city officials in Suffolk has made headlines.

The Daily Press reported Friday that salary increases meted out to managers in the city bureaucracy in most cases exceed the 4.5 percent council authorized in the budget for city employees.

The top salary, of course, is that of City Manager Steve Herbert, listed by the paper as $117,000. A good living, to be sure, but not really comparable to what the CEO of a company that employees nearly a thousand people would earn, which is, in effect, what the city is.

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And as Mayor E. Dana Dickens noted, council merely approved how much is available for increasing the city’s payroll. It’s Herbert’s job to distribute it to best benefit the city.

Obviously, Herbert feels that machinery of city government is best served by better rewarding and retaining the top managers than it is by weighting the increases toward the rank and file workers.

That’s his prerogative and one is hard-pressed to find fault with it. While all employees contribute to the success of a company or a city, it’s the managers who have the biggest impact on moving it forward. They should be justly rewarded when they are successful.

By the same token, it’s difficult to believe that all city department heads are equally efficient and all deserving of larger than average increases. The best rewards should be reserved for those who have the greatest success, those who get the most out of the taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars.