Originally created 05/13/02

Get second opinion

For the past few years since consolidation, it seems that just about half of the Augusta Commission's time is spent hearing and arguing about wage disparities at city hall.

For most folks in the private sector, this is a poor use of municipal resources. Voters expect more from their elected officials than for them to spend incalculable hours figuring out if some city worker should be paid $35,000 or $36,000.

The latest salary brouhaha came in response to the salary recommendation study performed by the city administrator's office - a study that included a hefty raise for Fred Russell, the deputy administrator who oversaw the plan.

It was too much for a public that wants better performance from the consolidated government. People are willing to pay law officers more money, but no one believes all people working in the public sector should be compensated at the same level as those in the private sector.

After all, civil servants get the benefit of employment protections that far exceed anything private-sector workers have.

Mayor Bob Young has taken the lead in contacting the Carl Vinson Institute at the University of Georgia to perform an independent review of the proposed wage hikes. That's a good step and, hopefully, the experts there will be able to shed some light on what has become a municipal building obsession.


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