Finally, someone in this country gets it right. It took a while, but we've finally seen the appropriate response. A reader (John in Tennessee) emailed me the following link:
The article was released on 3/4/2010; written by Rebecca Ferrar of the The Knox Sentinel Co. Her article states:
Knox County's Juvenile Service Center superintendent has taken the unusual step of proposing that his salary be cut to help meet Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale's request that all departments prepare for possible budget trims. Richard L. Bean's annual pay would shrink 8 percent, from $66,000 to $60,720, with the cut.
Finally, someone working for a municipality recognizes the handwriting on the wall and volunteered to do the right thing. I applaud Richard L. Bean. The article further states:
In a Feb. 24 letter to his 64 employees, Bean says he is suggesting his salary reduction as well as a 4 percent cut for employees to comply with the mayor's request for a plan that anticipated a 4 percent department budget reduction. Pay cuts would be made in lieu of possible layoffs, he said.
Bean said he has four cooks, a person who does laundry and an assistant at the Division Street center that bears his name. The remainder are certified correction officers, who monitor juveniles held in custody. Salaries range from $26,000 to $37,000, he said.
"We're just praying it (cuts) don't happen," Bean said. "We've got the shock over with, and (employees) will see we're trying to take care of the employees."
In a further significant step, Richard made the tough choice of recommending cuts across the board, in an attempt to save everyone's job. I'll be the first to admit their compensation levels are not egregious, and no where close to other states like California for municipal workers. However, it seems like they understand it's a problem of math to bring their budget in line, and instead of laying off people, they've decided to act like a family and protect everyone and provide the same service levels to their community. I must say, "That deserves a standing ovation".
Now, the city has yet to finalize their budget, and even more reductions might be needed; only time will tell and times are just that tough. However, these unselfish acts are inspiring and brave, and only serve as a beacon for public unions everywhere who still don't get it.
Hope all is well.