[EDITOR'S NOTE: This new column by Earl Gipson is a view of SeaTac city government. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The SeaTac Blog. We are seeking additional regular columnists to reflect opinions and views of SeaTac residents. Those interested can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
by Earl Gipson
Arrogance has no bounds when it comes to SeaTac City employee salaries. Human Resources Director Anh Hoang (winner of last year’s 17K raise) requested Council to approve 4 non-represented “job audit” raises for salaried (non-union) personnel in Tuesday’s “Study” Session. Make no mistake the Council is boxed in to approve these raises by their own inability to understand the salary system and also not enough votes to overturn the rigged ordeal.
Lets see if I can explain this mess. There are 82 ranges (~3 percent each) within the non-represented salary job classifications and 6 step increases within each range (~ 5 percent each). By the Council approved structure, SeaTac uses 13 “comparable” cities within our region to determine the ranges for each loosely defined position. The City Manager does not have to all 13 cities providing information to determine “market value” of any position. In fact only 3 were used in one case with other cites either providing no information or could not be determined (per Ms. Hoang’s own words). Are you following so far?
The City Manager’s (Mr. Cutts) authority in granting non-represented raises is only limited by certain “types” of increases. Merit increases and by salary surveys increases can be granted at will unilaterally by the city Manager. “Salary Audits” are the only thing that needs Council approval and they can increase or decrease (NEVER happened-surprised?) per the procedures. Also, per the 2009 SeaTac Municipal Code changes there is no cap. Does Bell, California ring a bell?
An aside for Parks Director Kit Ledbetter. Mr Ledbetter was one of the recipients of the increases via job audits approved by the Council. Myself and others observed Mr. Ledbetter lurking in the foyer listening (out of sight of the Council) as his increase was debated and giving the thumbs up as it was inevitably approved and promptly exited. Mr. Ledbetter, please show some class next time and at least use the men’s restroom or sit facing the Council. Have to back up quietly when someone hands you your paycheck?
I’m not done yet by any means and the Council Retreat on 02/23/13 will also be covered and I’m sure readers will find that equally enlightening. Curse my memory and records.