Not even two months after the new administration took office, they are obviously clueless on how to balance the city's budget, counting pennies and sitting in back rooms "being creative" in finding ways to balance the city's budget.
Concessions and furlough days from the unions didn't work the first time, nor will they work again. Mayor Bell says we all need to be in this together, but he's asking for concessions again while a new fire class is hired and some employees get raises. Steve Herwat, deputy mayor of operations, says it's OK because they have fewer people than the last administration. Well, so does every other department in the city, but you want them to take a pay cut.
This administration came in with no plan to balance the budget and no plan for job creation. With no jobs, people will continue to stay away and move away. Because of this, fewer income taxes will be collected and the deficit will continue to grow.
If the employees Mayor Mike Bell just gave substantial pay hikes have been on the city payroll for 20 to 30 years, they evidently see the benefits of their positions and weren't going anywhere. And if they did leave, there are many competent people available to fill those positions at a lower rate of pay. It's called "new employee rate" under the tier system.
When I opened my Blade on Feb. 9, I blinked hard to make sure I was reading the headline correctly ("City officials given raises up to 26.9%," Feb. 9).
I am astonished that any city employee would get a raise when Mayor Mike Bell is asking the unions to take a 10 percent pay cut. It flies in the face of reason.
Thanks you for reporting this story. It makes my decision on how to vote on the "temporary" tax very easy.
Penelope Edwards Nagy
Mayor Bell has lost his credibility with many of the same people who put him in office.
Perhaps he doesn't think the union workers he asked to make concessions are as important as those whose salaries were increased. Since Peg Wallace, acting director of human resources, has worked for the city for 30-plus years, perhaps it's time she consider retirement to make room for someone who could do her job at less pay.
Let's face it: No one is irreplaceable, not even the mayor.
ROBERT L. SLASINSKI
I have nothing against Peg Wallace, Adam Loukx, or Clarence Coleman ("City officials given raises up to 26.9%," Feb. 9), but what was Mayor Bell thinking? Many people I talked to before Mr. Bell was elected said he was a nice guy, but if he wins he would be like all politicians who say one thing while campaigning and the another after being elected.
I said, "no way," he says he won't raise taxes and he will be a man of his word. Of course, now he blames the last administration for whatever he has to do that he said he wouldn't. I am so disappointed. Ask city workers to take another 10 percent decrease? It is always the lowest paying workers who have to take the hit, just like teachers do.
Cut us a break, Mike. Back off the city workers. Give the upper management a 5 percent raise and leave us with what we have left.
West Lincolnshire Boulevard
Never so early on in a Toledo mayor's term of office have I decided not to vote for his re-election or for any tax increases on the ballots. Giving out substantial raises and pushing for undeserved settlements ("Mayor urges city to settle suits filed by ex-employees," Feb. 3) at a time of financial crisis is insane. I have lived, worked, paid taxes and voted in Toledo for 51 years. I cannot wait to move.
How disappointing to hear that Mayor Mike Bell is giving raises to certain members of his top city officials. Was it a case of "you rubbed my back, now I will rub yours?"
How can he justify asking pay cuts and benefit cuts from some and then turn around and reward others? These people should be glad to have a steady job, and a government one at that. Reward them later, when the economy starts to pick up. They should feel embarrassed about taking these nice raises when others are being asked to sacrifice. If they want to see Toledo prosper, they should give up a little, like many others are doing. Has Mayor Bell cooked his goose with Toledo voters? Time will tell.
Jenifer A. Klostermeyer
I've been in a union for over 30 years and negotiated many contracts. One thing I taught my union officers was that when they negotiate with management, concessions are not on the table. You might not get everything you want, but you don't give up what you have because you will never get it back.
National wage increases for unions over the years have averaged about 3 percent a year. Now that times are leaner, it's down to 1.5 percent a year, if that. At 3 percent a year they were almost keeping up with the economy; at 1.5 percent they're struggling to make ends meet. Now, management wants to take that, and then some.
My theory has always been based on house cleaning: when times are hard, start at the top and work down. I shop at the same stores as management and the price of bread should be the same for both of us.
Families have had to cut expenses, but the City of Toledo and Toledo Public Schools refuse to cut expenses.
Their solution is to increase income taxes, traffic, parking, and nuisance fines, and application and permit fees.
Mayor Bell said that if he laid off all the nonessential employees, the city would save only $13 million (“Bell talks to unions, says defi cit near $44M,” Jan. 15). That sounds like a good place to start.
High taxes encourage residents to leave the city, discourage businesses from creating jobs, and create a self-fulfilling prophecy of more bad times.
The city and school system need to cut nonessential services, unnecessary employees, and pet projects, but quit raising taxes.
Residents can't survive without eating.
DUANE J. TILLIMON
West Alexis Road
Raises for a few were a bad idea
Mayor Bell's decision to give a few city workers increases of 8.7 percent to 26.9 percent should not have happened.
Think they can't be replaced?
At wages of $45,289 to $76,500 a year, I'm sure the list of qualified unemployed people would be very long and the new hires very thankful to have a job.
As for reduced staff and doing the work of two or three people, that's happening to everybody with a job.
Wake up; times are hard.
Position depends on where home is
The writer of the Feb. 3 letter “Some neighbors welcome school” stated that as the owner of property adjacent to the proposed Central Elementary School on Wolfinger Road, he would welcome the school .
He further suggested that my opposition is based on the fact that the school is going to be built next to my home.
He failed to mention that he lives in Sherwood Forest, and the adjoining property he owns in Spencer Township appears to be a junkyard of sorts.
THOMAS A. YODER