Tradition is alive and well in Pendleton. This was reaffirmed with the recent vote of the city council giving the city manager a 3% cost of living (COLA) pay raise. Elected officials have a tradition of supporting such raises. In our city manager's case, that 8% raise last year was not based on any particular accomplishments, but to ensure that his salary wouldn't be exceeded by the chief public safety officer.
This latest raise, I'm guessing, was recommended by the city's personnel manager since other salaried managers were also getting a 3% COLA raise. This would also ensure that rising water/sewer rates and the proposed 13 cent gas tax would not result in any undue hardship. The raise plus the additional stipend he receives to cover his gas purchases should be more than adequate.
I was surprised when Scott Fairley objected to the 3% COLA raise. Scott is, for those who don't him, an employee of the governor's office and is perhaps well aware that our city manager's annual salary already exceeds that of Gov. Kate Brown's by well over $30,000. Kudos to Mr. Fairley.
I see another resident wrote about the condition of our city streets: "We created the problem, so it's up to us to pay for its solution." I disagree. The problem was created by our city officials when the decision was made to ignore our streets and spend the money intended to maintain them, such as franchise fees, on other projects. City officials would have you believe that it's our own fault since we failed to approve previous gas tax proposals.
I did notice a goodwill gesture in the new budget proposal — the city manager has offered to cut the city's contribution to the Main Street flower basket proposal from $1,500 down to $750 to bolster the street maintenance program. Seems the Downtown Business Association members still aren't willing to pick up the cost of their own program.
The writer is correct about one aspect of the solution: We will all end up paying dearly for the poor decisions of the past. I'm afraid there are quite a few of us that didn't get anywhere near a $4,000 pay raise combined with a monthly gas allowance to help pay that bill.