After seeing news of approval by council members of a 10 percent (approximately $11,000 annually) salary increase for Doug Bartosh, our city manager, and a renegotiation of his severance pay clause to double it, I revisited an article he wrote for The Verde Independent on Jan. 23 of this year. In the article, Mr. Bartosh offers his explanation of the city budgeting process.
Here’s a quote. “The City Council is considering every option to continue to provide basic services to citizens, protect our employees from layoff, and ensure our financial stability.” I wonder, was putting his 10-percent raise and new severance pay on hold during these difficult times considered by council members? I also wonder, how many other city employees are getting a 10-percent raise? And, since this is a “merit” raise, what are the criteria used by council members to make this decision?
As a point of reference, I spent 35 years in management working for the largest retail drug chain in the country. I ran some of the busiest, most profitable stores in the company and never received less than “excellent” on performance reviews. And I can tell you in all honesty, neither myself nor my peers ever received a 10-percent raise, not by half. And in tough times there were no raises. Interestingly enough the Sedona Fire District Governing Board recently froze all raises for the next fiscal year. So, I’d be very interested to hear the logic of the councils decision regarding Mr. Bartosh’s raise.
In the same previously mentioned article by Mr. Bartosh, he closes with the following quote. “We understand the city budgeting process is complicated it is difficult to understand the process by simply reading the newspaper or listening to the news. Citizens are always encouraged to ask Questions and the city will always be available to respond to such enquiries.”
So as a citizen I’m asking the above questions of our city council and eagerly awaiting the “always available” response. I also am sending the above letter to the editor of The Verde Independent to help my fellow citizens perhaps better understand the “complicated, difficult process” used by our city leaders to grant Mr. Bartosh’s raise and new severance pay.