LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - U-B editorial unnecessarily inflammatory

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Thursday's U-B editorial regarding city directors' salaries was erroneous and unnecessarily inflammatory.

As a public servant I have ample respect and tolerance for a vibrant, free press. It is understood and expected that editorials are opinionated. However, to paraphrase a U.S. senator, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts."

The editorial overstated four city director's salaries by $49,291, about equal to three winter month's worth of city street crews patching potholes. A significant amount and a significant error.

Nor did the editorial report that I unilaterally extracted benefits from the noted directors, nor did it provide the value of that reduction. It's $21,598. On a pro rata basis, it's the same reduction the city successfully negotiated for with the city's public safety employees. The bottom line is that these directors received a net 1.827 percent increase, which is still a tidy increase for the times. The total annual value of this increase for all four directors is $7,486.

The Parks and Recreation Department director salary range is $93,312 to $113,520. The 2011 salary is $105,952; the 63rd percentile. The position is occupied by Jim Dumont, a nine year city employee.

The support services director salary range is $103,296 to $125,676. The 2011 salary is $111,568; the 37th percentile. This position is occupied by Tim McCarty, a 10 year city employee.

The fire chief salary range is $103,296 to $125,676. The 2011 salary is $110,610, which is the 33rd percentile. This position is occupied on an interim basis by Bob Yancey, a 24 year city employee.

The chief of police salary range is $103,296 to $125,676. The 2011 salary is $110,579; the 33rd percentile. This position is occupied by Chuck Fulton, a 44 year employee and 28 year chief.

These salary ranges conform to the city's cost of labor compensation practice for the city's 59 non-union employees. As a check on our system the City Council and I have compared our directors' salaries against the Association of Washington Cities 2010 salary survey. We find our directors' salary range slightly, but consistently, below the average for our size city in this annual survey.

Finally, while I have your attention, I invite you to join us at the City Streets Town Hall meeting, 7 p.m., next Thursday, at the Senior Center.

Nabiel Shawa

Walla Walla City Manager

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