It’s easy to spend another’s money

Published 9:11 pm Wednesday, September 14, 2011

To the editor:

Two editorials last week caught my eye. On Tuesday and Wednesday you pointed out the disconnect in thinking on the part of both the City Council and members of the city staff concerning first, bonuses for city staff and second, the so-called recycling fee.

It’s a nice thing to see the city getting more “green” by forcing citizens to recycle and for the city fathers to be so nice to their employees by giving them generous bonuses. But why would the citizen’s representatives and the city staff be so calloused that they are willing to thrust more burdens on Suffolk’s citizens at a time when a great many of them are now out of work or are in jobs where they haven’t had a significant pay increase for years?

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Council can be magnanimous to the staff, because members are committing someone else’s tax dollars to fund the bonuses. Sure, they have to pay taxes too, but I’ll bet none of those who voted for the bonuses have been given a pink slip this year, and almost all of them won’t even notice the extra burden of the real estate tax.

As for the staff, they surely told members that if council didn’t give bonuses, the staff would be unhappy and might even go to a neighboring city looking for a job. That’s an old argument that always worked when we had a thriving economy, but it’s dead wrong in this economy.

Most people like to be liked. What better way for department heads to earn good will than to ask council to give their staff members a bonus? They will go on their merry way when their careers in Suffolk are over. They’ll just go somewhere else, as department heads and city managers have done for many decades.

It’s easy to be a big shot and gain loyalty by spending someone else’s money.

There is the “disconnect.” They just don’t care about Suffolk’s citizens as long as they have a good resume for their next job and don’t have to look for new help. They are disconnected from Suffolk’s citizens!

Gene Denison
Hertford, N.C.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Gene Denison was a longtime Suffolk businessman and a former employee of the Suffolk News-Herald.