Yes, some people are upset with the gross disproportionate range in salaries, as Bonnie Donovan wrote in the Jan. 31 Voices section.
However, I suspect more taxpayers are mad that city management and elected leaders ignore Santa Barbara’s compensation packages that are higher than the POTUS, a justice of the SCOTUS or four-star general. Where’s the Citizen Taxpayer Commission? Oh, wouldn’t matter.
Have a look at 2018-2019 compensation packages on californiatransparent.com.
Santa Barbara City Council member Mike Jordan was right that those promoted by Police Chief Lori Luhnow must like her. While in 2018 our chief was compensated $392,055, she compensated her subordinates Capt. Marazita $416,769 and Sgt. James Ella $410,674.
Voters apparently want to grow the bureaucracy and its control as evidenced by their choices.
There is absolutely no oversight of the city by elected council members. Council members are place warmers, who occasionally may choose to advocate for a constituent.
Seems all we really need is a gracious mayor to serve as our city spokesperson and ambassador.
Others besides me may wonder why long-term Rebecca Bjork is taking compensation cuts. As public works director, Ms. Bjork received $307,759 in 2018. Now Ms. Donovan reports in 2021, Ms. Bjork accepted $238,000. Presumably being assistant city administrator is less work and stress.
Suffice it to say, the city and county can survive and staff most essential positions by cutting payroll in half, and then cutting our property, sales and other taxes in half.
There’s simply too much tax money to waste in South County so pay more. There’s no public outcry. And, with ownership to their jobs and 90% lifetime pensions, bureaucrats will not change the system so the status quo remains.
In Santa Barbara, everyone will be bumped to $15/hour minimum plus benefits.
Denice S. Adams