Open Government Project
A Government Watchdog Group
State of Texas
City of Galveston
Public Interest Groups
I Feel Your Pain?
by David Stanowski
19 October 2010
When the residents of Galveston are forced to suffer through the damage from a hurricane, and/or an economic contraction, do the administrators at City Hall share the suffering of the people, or are they totally insulated from the hardship facing the rest of the City?
Most residents suffered property losses in 2008, and a reduction in income in 2009. Sales subject to sales tax in the City declined 2.86% from 2008 to 2009, but the drop would probably have been far greater if people were not forced to spend so much on their rebuilding efforts. Hotel revenues dropped 24.28% from 2008 to 2009, likely serving as a more accurate proxy for the loss of income suffered by the average resident.
Did City administrators take a salary cut in 2009 to mirror the average loss of income in the City that was probably in the 15-25% range? The table below shows no salary cuts at City Hall. They merely froze their pay at 2008 levels!
Sales subject to sales tax in the City are down 19.01% year-to-date in 2010 compared to the same period in 2009. Hotel revenues are down 6.72% year-to-date in 2010 compared to the same period in 2009, indicating that the local economy is still weak, and the average resident probably has seen a second year of income declines between 7 and 20%.
Did City administrators take a salary cut in 2010 to mirror the average loss of income suffered by residents? The table below shows that the City Manager decided that one year of no income growth was enough; regardless of how well the City economy is faring, and gave everyone at least a 6% RAISE!!
Who allowed him to get away with this? It’s time to start asking the Mayor and City Councilmembers some tough questions about a budgeting process that recognized the need to cut back on public safety, but allowed these outrageous raises to stand. It’s also time to discuss at least a 15% reduction in the administrators’ salaries listed below, coupled with a pay freeze until the local economy is healthy again!
Remember, the most recent estimated per capita income in the City of Galveston is $25,106 which puts the people listed below among the most highly compensated in this city!