City Council should not renew contracts

Jan. 15, 2014 at 6:04 p.m.
Updated Jan. 14, 2014 at 7:15 p.m.

Editor, the Advocate:

I am writing in opposition to the contract renewal and salary increase for both the city manager and city attorney of Victoria at the next City Council meeting Tuesday.

These employment contracts will most likely be renewed by council without discussion or objection. I must protest the terms of duration - two years, plus one year if contract is not renewed, severance package one year pay plus benefits after discontinued service and indemnification - when the city pays all legal fees related to time of service for life. I find these contracts hypocritical because of an event in 2012. The Victoria Police Department wanted to discuss the idea of collective bargaining. The current city manager and attorney objected because of the huge restraints the city would be under if Council agreed. I see no difference in these contract negotiations and what the police department requested.

The total amount of these two salaries and benefits to be considered is about $400,000. The three-year duration of these contracts is minimally a $1.2 million commitment. In essence, this is a debt of service because there is no option of negotiation during budget shortfalls.

Additionally, the budget was completed in September 2013. Were the pay increases included? If so, why were they not identified as department one-time expenditures? If they were not covered in the budget, where is this extra money coming from?

A majority of council wants to offer something comparable to the statistical average salary for city manager and lawyer. But the salaries researched - by the city manager and attorney - are based on cities with greater population, household median income and other variables. If the majority of council is reluctant to reconsider, then all city employee salaries should reflect the same respective averages. But I am sure that course of action is unreasonable to the majority of council. Therefore, why would it be reasonable to commit the city to terms based on the same statistical information for just two employees?

If you have ever paid property taxes, sales tax and/or water bills in Victoria, contact your councilman and order them to vote no contract, no raise.

Gabriel Soliz, Victoria



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