Friday, November 6, 2009

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Carey "Corrects A Misperception." Not.

A little over a year ago, current Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dave Carey rode the "fiscal conservative" wave into office, handily beating incumbent one-term Mayor John Williams.

It's no secret that Carey was a favorite of the "Alliance of Concerned Taxpayers" (ACT) an organization of rag-tag malcontents whose primary goal seems to be hamstringing the Borough government - financially and otherwise.

Recently, it has come to light that perhaps Mayor Carey hasn't been all that fiscally prudent. Not when it comes to his pals, anyway.

As part of the spoils of war, last October the Carey administration brought into office with it some political appointees.

Two of the political plum jobs include the Mayor's Chief of Staff (Hugh "Scooter" Chumley), and the Mayor's Special Assistant (Susan Wilcox).

Both were staunch Carey supporters, being rewarded for their loyalty.

That's not surprising. It's how things work.

The surprising part is that both Chumley and Wilcox, when hired, started out at salaries that are each $20 thousand a year more than their predecessors were paid in the "spendthrift" Williams administration.

An odd way for ACT's pet mayor to demonstrate "fiscal restraint."

It gets better.

When these facts were brought to light, Mayor Carey defended the raises by claiming that he increased his employees workloads and responsibilities over their predecessors.

I call bullshit on this claim. The former Chief of Staff and Special Assistant had a workload that certainly equals or exceeds the current appointees, and both had decades of state or local government (or both) experience to boot.

Here on the Kenai Peninsula, like in a lot of places across the nation, many workers in the private sector are getting no raises, or they're taking pay cuts, or they're losing their jobs altogether.

Even Mayor Carey, who is incredibly tone deaf, realized this "excessive salary" revelation could be a political liability. He clearly needed to do something to squelch the ever-growing grumbling.

Just so you understand the Mayor's "drastic" action, here's some background information:

In July of this year, ALL union Borough employees received a 4-1/2% cost-of-living increase in their wages. It was in their existing contract, and was part of the Borough budget. Non-union, or "Appendix A" positions in the Borough also received the same cost of living increase. Both the Chief of Staff and Special Assistant are Appendix A positions.

So - moving with blinding speed, the Mayor decisively cut... the 4-1/2% cost of living allowance that Chumley and Wilcox received (with everyone else) back in July.

"The perception was that (the salaries) were excessive," Carey said. "I've corrected that."

I've got news for you, Mayor Dave:

The only perception you've "corrected" is your own.

The public isn't fooled.

Chumley and Wilcox are still receiving, respectively, salaries that are 18 percent and 20 percent above the previous administration.

That's hardly "fiscal restraint." It's a political pay-off.

Interestingly, ACT's silence on this issue is deafening.

Maybe the ACT group more stupid than I thought... or maybe they're just too embarrassed to speak up.


Matt Osborne said...

It fits the pattern: get elected screaming about waste, then waste as much as possible and decry the growth of government. Lather, rinse, repeat. Funny how they never expect it to catch up with them.

Wolfe Tone said...

I'd have had more respect for the guy if he'd said:

"I reviewed their salaries and responsibilities, and decided that even their predecessors were underpaid. So I made the salaries commensurate with the jobs. Next question?"

But he didn't. He's a weasel.

Rosie said...

A not too bright weasel, and that's going some.

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