After putting a spot light on what the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer's Association has characterized as an illegal water tax and then discovering rampant misappropriations of earmarked funds, its frustrating to learn that City Manager Joe Felz is up for a raise.
According to the August 16, 2011 City Council agenda and associated staff report, Felz will get a salary of $201,000, for his salary, $41,000 for retirement costs, and $24,000 for benefits. It's not clear if the "benefits" include Felz's $625.00 per month car allowance. Felz currently earns $166,250 per year.
Felz is the most approachable and humble city manager I have met but does that mean we should be giving him a MASSIVE raise in the midst of multiple crises?
We have an $8-million budget deficit which city staff says will be shored up through employee contract negotiation. At this rate, are deficit will GROW, not shrink. It's not fair to ask other city employees to take huge pay cuts while the top dog gets a big raise.
The City has been applying an illegal tax on the Water Fund, siphoning nearly $3-million a year to cover salaries and benefits for public safety employees.
The current budget (with its deficit) shows that earmarked taxes for sewers and storm drain maintenance are being used to cover salaries and benefits in the fire department, community development, and human resources.
And then there is the most recent debacle, the complete mishandling of the death of Kelly Thomas at the hands of City employees. Who knows how much this will cost Fullerton taxpayers...
I’m all for giving our new city manager time to right these many wrongs but I think pay should be based on actual performance and not intentions or platitudes.
If you want a raise, close the budget deficit, end the illegal “franchise tax” on water, end the practice of misappropriating public funds, and put a stop to police corruption.
You know the timing couldn't be worse and think about how this will reflect on the City of Fullerton. Please do the right thing and reject the raise.