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Guest Editoriol

We're not getting our money's worth

You can usually tell who has the high ground in a debate by which side is using facts to support their argument, and which side is personally attacking the person making an argument.

Facts, as often stated, are stubborn things. So, I would like to offer some facts and let you make the decision if funding the public works director position in the 2011/2012 Sunnyside city budget is a prudent use of your money. After all, it is your money, not mine, not the city's and not the city council's.

Let me start with the cost for the position, per the city finance director. The annual cost with benefits is $125,580. The city is now on a two-year budget, so that brings the cost for the public works director in this budget to $251,160. Folks, that is over a quarter of a million dollars. This cost is slightly less than we pay the city manager position.

In 2010 the public works director position supervised the planning, building, code enforcement, water, streets and sewer departments. In 2011/2012 the city manager has informed the council that he will be taking over direct supervision of the planning, building and code enforcement departments. The city manager also wants to make permanent the position of public works supervisor. This position directly supervises the remaining departments left under the public works director.

As you can clearly see, the position of public works director has had a large reduction in duties (planning, building and code enforcement departments removed). The position has also had an additional supervisor placed under it (public works supervisor) to direct day to day operations of the water, sewer and street departments. Not to mention that each of these departments has their own supervisor.

Folks, I know my job. Council members are elected to represent you and watch your money. I cannot look at the ballooning pay of this position and the dwindling responsibilities and not recognize that we are not getting our money's worth. The cost benefit analysis is so negative that no one has even tried to justify it. They just attack me or the process of removing the position from the budget.

I know we can better use this money in Sunnyside. I think we need to dedicate these funds to rebuilding our infrastructure. We need more curbs, gutters, sidewalks and pavement, not quarter of a million dollar city jobs.

- Don Vlieger is a Sunnyside

City Councilman.

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