Pay cuts, not raises, for city directors

Wayne Rowe


Thank You, Jill Schramm for your article “Council considers ways to reduce spending”.

I read the title but didn’t buy the paper. I read the article online. My first response – is council serious?

Does council really have to consider this? Aren’t they supposed to be following a budget? Aren’t they supposed to have the interests of the city in mind when they are doing their jobs as council members?

Shaun Sipma and Shannon Straight have been urged to look at raises. Of course, like a typical politician Mr. Sipma follows it up with “I am going gingerly, of course, down this path.”

Why Mr. Sipma? Are you afraid of upsetting other council members? It is time sir, to throw away the thought you don’t want to create a wave amongst council members. It is time to stand up, let your voice be heard even if you disagree with the majority of the other members of council. Are you afraid of actually accomplishing something or at worst doing so well someone suggests you should be mayor?

Then we have Mr. David Lakefield, the City Finance Director making suggestions that the average raise is only 49 cents. Yes, Mr. Lakefield you may be quite correct but how about you don’t look at it as an average. It really isn’t that difficult for any city employee to figure out what they are going to get paid after their anniversary date is reached.

Mr. Lakefield, and citizens of Minot. here is exactly what is expected by all staff annually. Each new member of staff will start at the bottom of the pay range. Each subsequent year, they receive a 5% raise until they reach the mid-point of the pay range. Once that point is met they receive increases of 2.5%.

Let me take this a step further. I was an Airport Facility Tech – my hourly rate of pay was $18.07. My raise for 2018 would be 5%. That would be 90 cents. Now, I am not going to suggest that any one of my previous co-workers at the Airport don’t deserve it. Anyone that has been through the Airport should see that building is being maintained impeccably. Mr. Keith Westover, and his six Facility Techs have a daunting task just trying to keep the glass clean. That is only one aspect of taking care of that building.

There are many departments Mr. Lakefield that the guys and girls doing the city work quite frankly deserve the compensation they get. My personal suggestion previously through this newspaper was and still is – for those especially called Directors to take a pay cut. Excuse me, Mr. Lakefield, yes I just suggested you should take a pay cut. What an incredible thought – that you could actually be the first to take a cut and be a leader for the rest of the Directors in the city staff. I believe I said anyone earning more than $75k could take a $5k cut.

Mr. Sipma, Mr. Lakefield – how much would that save the city?

Since the city must consider ways of reducing spending money let me share some more quick ideas. To start, reduce spending that is extravagant. A perfect example, Mr. Feltner, the Aviation Director if I recall correctly went to at least three conferences between January and July of this year.

Why does anyone go to a conference – to learn something correct? Hmm, I say Mr. Feltner was hired to run a profitable airport – but he needs to go to conferences to learn how to do that. Oh yes, and Mr. Feltner stuck it to me and said – we all must be responsible to the residents of the city. How about the Airport Committee push to ensure that the lighting system which will save power at the Airport is used to its maximum capabilities. I only personally suggested this to Mr. Feltner in April. In July, when I left the airport it still wasn’t being used. Mr. Feltner’s suggestion on saving power at the airport was to turn off all the TV’s for 2 hours.

How about stopping the practice of staff vehicles for personal use. Oh, sorry Mr. Lakefield, maybe this includes you as a director. Are you folks in the Director positions really that much more important than the guys and girls that are really doing the work? I really don’t think so.

I could go on, and would probably enjoy myself. But, I won’t. I am sure something else will come up that I will be quite ready to pounce on. It was a pleasure being part of the city staff but now as a free agent, I can and will jump into the public fray. After all, we all have a responsibility to the citizens of Minot.