City Government

Boise Brass Benefit While Workers Are Shined

The retirement of Boise Parks Director Jim Hall has prompted a “nationwide search” for a replacement with a promised salary of at least $100,000. But wait there’s more! It looks like Boise has taken a page from WallStreet when it comes to executive compensation.

A city worker sent the following info regarding the job to the GUARDIAN:

Salary: $100K minimum.

21 Days vacation days to start(regular employees start at 10 days, 15 after 5 years,
etc)

Unused vacation days are purchased by the City (an option NOT available to regular
employees)

4.5% match to voluntary deferred compensation program (Regular employees: .5% for the first
five years of service, 1.0% for the next five years)

“So….the more you make, the more the taxpayer lavishes you with perks. I know, I
know, it’s a competitive market, blah blah blah. I’m guessing that anyone who takes
a good look at the Boise P&R system will see a very nice picture: well funded
department, facilities in great shape, city-wide public support, engagement of the
business community, beautiful, safe little city: what’s not to like? So why do the
taxpayers need to shell out these big fat incentives to get someone to take the job?
Why isn’t the bonus of living in Boise Idaho enough for the big cheeses, since it’s
supposed to make up for low pay to every other public employee (oops, not to the
football coach, but the same argument applies.)

Anyway, this is how public systems go bankrupt. The money flows disproportionately
to the top. Don’t blame the rank and file.”

Sour grapes? Maybe not. The practice of having two compensation formulas–not rates–pretty much sends a message that bosses are more important than worker bees. Not only do the top brass get polished with a high salary, they have different rules. The deferred comp match on a $100,000 salary is worth $4,500 to a department head. However his subordinates making $30,000 get a whopping $150. The Big Boys can “convert” unused vacation time cash each February, but not the worker bees.

Boise City Councilors need to review the policies with an eye to cutting the benefits that are tacked onto the already high paying jobs.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Man that article was so informative. You come off sounding like a little whinning SOB. As a state employee of Idaho I have no problem with this and without these policies private industry would just eat up anybody worth giving the job to. This is standard procedure what boss doesn’t have it alot nicer, give me a break do some real investigating reporting.

  2. “without these policies private industry would just eat up anybody worth giving the job to.”

    What a meaningless whiny little screed that is. It doesn’t even make any sense.

    The point of the post is important. This IS the public sector. These ARE tax dollars being spent, collected from the backs of those that work in the PRIVATE sector who don’t get these lavish benefits. Kind of like the serfs working for the 1%.

    As it is the PUBLIC sector funded with TAX dollars, the benefit packages should be uniform and not excessive. The red herring that we need to pay these perks because no one will take the job without them and we can’t get good people, blah blah blah is just that, a red herring.

  3. I tend to agree with the city employee about the double standard. Personally, I’d prefer to see an established Parks employee promoted from within. Not only would we (residents of Boise) benefit from having somebody who already knows the department, but it would surely boost morale for the rank and file, to see one of their own get the gig.

    (I hope state employee Adam isn’t in a position where his communication skills are put to use! “Whinning”? “Alot”? Oh my!)
    (-;

  4. Is the P&R budget that much bigger now that the city is no longer maintaining some public parks?

    http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/06/21/2163078/boise-cuts-some-park-services.html

    (Or wait, since residents *have* noticed, will the city go back to regular upkeep?)

    Regardless, this is a needlessly inflated compensation package. I wonder what the old position offered in re: compensation, and why the (I would hope to be) dramatic increase??

  5. chicago sam
    Jul 11, 2012, 7:11 am

    Regardless of what they are paid they still haven’t figured out how to keep geese from pooping. Two good dogs every morning would do the trick but apparently nobody is paid enough to come up with a viable solution –or is it just job security to constantly have a problem

  6. I saw some guy in a boise city truck towning a personal trailer after hours the other day. So they apparently get to take the new trucks home at night too.

  7. Different Bob
    Jul 16, 2012, 4:17 pm

    As a long-term city employee I’m upset that the department heads and others at the top have better benefits than other non-union city employees. Silly me, I thought the city treated their employees equitably, although it doesn’t take a mathematician to know that when we used to receive 3% COLA raises, the higher-paid employees received bigger raises. I agree with my co-worker that the Mayor and Council need to re-examine the use of unfair perks to attract and keep quality employees, it’s not necessary, lowers morale and burdens the taxpayers. I thought I was a valued employee too, but now my 2% match to my 457 feels like a slap in the face.

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