You've already heard the interesting story about Borough Mayor Dave Carey ensuring that his political pals are well paid.
You may be asking yourself, "Why didn't the Borough Assembly (the legislative body in charge of the Borough's purse strings) catch this earlier?"
There's a reason for that.
In an effort to accomplish his less-than-altruistic goals, Mayor Dave made a genuine effort to
During the FY 2010 budget process, Carey was specifically asked about proposed wage increases within the Mayor's office... and he obfuscated, dodged, weaseled, and, finally, up against the wall, told the Assembly something other than the truth.
Portions of a verbatim transcript of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting of June 2, 2009 follow. But first, I'll define some of the terminology used and the names involved, so that it is easier for the reader to understand:
Martin = Then Assembly President Millie Martin (she hails from Homer, Alaska).
Smalley = Assembly member Hal Smalley (who is also a member of the Kenai City Council, Vice-Mayor of the City of Kenai, and a past member of the Alaska State Legislature).
Mayor = Mayor Dave Carey.
PERS = the Alaska Public Employees Retirement System, of which Borough employees are a part.
40110 = the line item for regular wages in every Borough department budget.
The rest is pretty self-explanatory. Keep in mind that this is a verbatim transcript of a meeting hammering out the Borough budget, the hour was late, and how people actually talk doesn't read like a news article.
All emphasis and interjections are mine.
Martin: Are there further amendments?
Martin: Mr. Smalley.
Smalley: Thank you Madame President, at this point in time it is not an amendment but perhaps a question of the Mayor if possible.
Martin: Yes, if that if the Mayor is up to that.
Mayor: I want to hear the question first.
I'm not sure if the Mayor was trying to be funny or not... but he's not known for his witty repartee. To continue:
Smalley: On page 61 of the budget document under personnel 40110 Regular Wages, I see an increase of 8.86 % and the amount is $35,469. Is this an additional person? That is over here, where it talks about temporary staff to assist with administrative requirements on Stimulus, or is this an increase in wages of existing staff?
Mayor: It is partially a previous mayor did not have benefits whereas I do so that the same number of employees; however, there is a second employee that in the past did not receive benefits and now would. So that is benefits for two employees that were not in there previously and it there is some adjustment to salaries.
Smalley: And are you at liberty to identify what the adjustment in salary is?
Mayor: I don't know exactly I know one person stayed the same the other went up by... I don't have the exact numbers in my head, sir, l mean I could but... in terms of it is available but I don't know what it is exactly.
Smalley: Would the Finance Director?
Mayor: I believe so...maybe the HR Director.
Smalley: Thank you.
Mayor: I'm sorry I couldn't be more helpful but I am being as accurate as l can.
Martin: Did you have anything further Mr. Smalley?
Smalley: Not at this time.
So it was a "song and dance" response from the Mayor, and when Smalley gave Carey the opportunity, Carey shoved responsibility for any factual answer concerning wage increases within the Mayor's office budget off on either the Finance Director or Human Resource Director... neither of whom, apparently, were still at the meeting.
But Smalley was more persistent than Carey expected. After Smalley took a few minutes to think it over and study the budget document a little further, he's back again, asking some more pesky followup questions:
Smalley: Thank you Madame President. Again back to the Mayor if possible, going back to page 61 on Regular Wages, it shows the $35,469, if there are additional increases in benefits it would appear to me that those would show under PERS or Health Insurance, Life Insurance other categories that are in there. This was identified as regular wages so my question would be are these intended to be increases for Chief of Staff and Special Assistant to the Mayor, and if so how much are the increases?
Mayor: Mr. Smalley, again I don't know the exact amounts. I do know that Chief of Staff there was not an increase, but there was for the others, I don't know the exact amount. As well as the other the reorganizations in terms of the Fiscal Project Manager that was also again that was a change that was higher as well as the Economic Analyst but l don't have those exact numbers.
Nevermind that the last paragraph sounds like a Sarah Palin word salad answer... and perhaps the Mayor didn't know the "exact" amounts (a handy side-stepping technique), but to say that the Chief of Staff received no increase was... a
By the way... has anyone heard a peep out of Carey's support group, the Alliance of Concerned Taxpayers (ACT) yet?