You pay for what you get!

You pay for what you get!

When I said the following on the radio, I meant it!
Considering that local governing bodies account for two-thirds of your total Kane County tax bill, it’s incomprehensible that, in an election where the fiscal disposition of those bodies was clearly at stake, only 12.98 percent of you managed to make it to the polls
Therefore, I don’t want to hear another bleeping word about our “socialist” President out of you blatantly lazy conservatives again!
Yes! Liberals didn’t vote either, but they’re not the ones screaming bloody murder about the debt and taxation situation either (myself excluded).
Even though we’ll use a Geneva-centric scenario, it could just as easily apply to any number of Illinois municipalities. Because if you don’t vote, as our illustrious Geneva City Manager Mary McKittrick once said, you’re basically giving them the green light to do whatever the bleep they want.
And what Mayor Burns, Ms. McKittrick and Assistant City Manager Stephanie Dawkins want, is to pass out 2.5 percent raises to non-union employees under the guise of what they tried to call “salary range compression.”

Why wouldn't Stephanie Dawkins smile? She'll end up with an $80,000 plus pension!
Why wouldn’t Stephanie Dawkins smile? She’ll end up with an $80,000 plus pension!

It was a little trick intended to confuse the aldermen and, let me tell ya, it doesn’t take all that much to get some of them careening off into the ditch.
Thankfully, Alderman Chuck Brown noted that, while Geneva was really trying to slide their salary ranges higher, what “compression” actually meant was increasing the minimum range while decreasing the maximum. As Brown continued to press his point at the March 25 COW meeting, caught in yet another lie, Ms. Dawkins proceeded to display some very interesting shades of facial vermillion.
Because, if you recall, the City of Geneva regularly does a five year salary study where they survey other municipalities to determine the market value of each city staffer. Then they set the maximum pay rate for each position based on that study.
Quite frankly, I thinks it’s patently absurd that it’s done by the very city staff that benefits from the end result. C’mon! Geneva certainly has no problem paying consultants for all those other studies!
But now, hoist by their own policy petard, the only way employees who’ve maxed out salary-wise can get a raise would be to increase their salary range before that next five year survey.  Of course, they could get bonuses instead, but that wouldn’t count towards future raises or their pension.
So while you might wanna say “But Jeff! A 2.5 percent raise for a $75,000 a year employee only comes out to $1,900. Who cares?,” you have to consider the pension liability and the power of compounding before you dismiss my argument.
To wit, the average non-police and fire city employee makes $66,000 (we also pay 85 percent of their insurance premiums). The fact that some of those folks are union is offset by the fact that I’m including part-time staffers who generally don’t get pensions.
If each one of them gets a 2.5 percent raise, that adds up to only $200,000 per year. But if you compound the pension liability of an annual across the board 2.5 percent annual raise over the course of the next 20 years, it comes out to somewhere between $20,000,000 and $30,000,000.
Considering that municipal employees contribute just 8 percent of their salary towards their pension combined with how poorly the IMRF’s investment strategies have fared (less than a 1 percent return last year), your children will be on the hook to pay that massive pension bill.
And it’s already happening! One out of every four dollars you pay in Geneva in property taxes goes towards pensions. And it’s only going to get worse.
It’s not that Geneva city staffers don’t deserve raises, but they’ve already been getting ’em! When I previously alluded to the city administrator’s lie, it was that salaries had been either been frozen or raises were just 1 to 2 percent. But as I proved in this blog post, the 19 city employees making six figures did far better than that during the worst recession of our lifetime.
Even Geneva school teachers, who get no Social Security and pay 12 percent towards their retirement, took no salary increase this year.
Of course, when aldermen Brown and Marks caught on to and voted against this ploy, the Mayor removed it from the council agenda right before the election. And even though it isn’t on Monday’s (4/15) agenda, my suspicion is they’re hiding it in the budget hearing item.
This is the price of failing to vote my friends. A city that believes they’re entitled to your money. Like I said, you pay for what you get.

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