Citizen Calls Council to Face the “Third Rail” and to Control City Employee Personnel Costs III

March 28, Esteemed Mayor, Councilors, and Citizens’ Budget Committee members:

Personnel costs are the second largest expense item in the chart of accounts.

We all need to tighten our belts, and that includes city employees.

Here are a few simple suggestions to control the annual inflation of personnel costs.

1.     Freeze hiring at current levels.  No new positions at this time.

2.     Do not rehire positions lost to attrition unless they are deemed essential.

3.     Aggressively renegotiate employment contracts as they come up for renewal.

4.     No annual COLAs at this time.

5.     Stop paying the employee’s 6% contribution to PERS .

Of course, all existing contracts should be respected.  That does not preclude renegotiation before renewal.

The basic fact to keep in mind is that Ashland city employees are compensated, on average, far more generously than employees in other municipalities.  Compensation is so high in Ashland that no one is likely to leave their city jobs if their wages remain constant and their benefits fall. And if they do, there will be plenty of qualified people willing to take their places.

Please take these suggestions into consideration when constructing the budget.

Thank you.

Dean Silver, Ashland

//inserted by Sharon