Oct. 4, 2012
To the editor:
It is important that employees in the public sector be treated fairly when compared to similar positions. The city of Fairbanks has utilized a system that looks at the entire package when comparing with other entities, including paid time off, health care, pensions and other compensation along with the base salary. Utilizing this system, one can assign a total dollar cost per hour actually worked and come up with accurate comparisons.
Recently, the city compared their management employees with the pending Alaska State Employees Association borough contract and shared the information with the Borough Assembly and administration. The differences are rather shocking, in that the top borough ASEA positions are not only paid far more in base wages, but also have more time off, more holidays and contribute far less to their health care. The proposed contract would continue the practice of awarding annual cost of living increases, but also allows step increases of almost 2 percent on top of that for up to 20 years of service along with a large retroactive pay settlement. At the high end of the scale, a borough director is nearly 40 percent higher than the city counterpart.
During the recent public hearing before the borough, the administration stated that they felt comparing with the city was not a good comparison and would rather compare with the school district, which they believed would cast the ASEA contract in more favorable light. The school board representative informed them that some of their information was not accurate and that the school district was trying to control labor costs.
It is frustrating for me that when we hear of funding shortages in animal control and for planting flowers, the administration has no problem spending over half a million dollars to accommodate this new contract and then tells us it is a good deal.
Marie E. Mason