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Automatic raises create automatic problems

Just before the election, we start to see the reality of City Hall- while income has been dropping every year, it’s been business as usual. Two raises a year for managers- regardless of the performance of the city. There are no metrics to use, because the city doesn’t believe in accountability. This is where a 311 system [1] would start to make a dent- as would goals and objectives for improving quality of life:

Summary of wage and step equivalent payments to city of Dayton managers

2005: 2% merit raise, and 1.1% step equivalent (3.1% total)

2006: 2.5% merit raise, and 1.16% step equivalent (3.66% total)

2007: 3.0% merit raise, and 1.16% step equivalent (4.16% total)

2008: 3.0% merit raise, and 1.11% step equivalent (4.11% total)

2009: 0% merit raise, and 1.19% step equivalent (1.19% total)


City of Dayton

via City workers’ raises to be slightly less than $300K, official says [2].

If you add the percentages up (without the compounding effect- that’s 16.22% over 5 years! While income tax revenue has decreased every year. Guaranteed FAIL.

Another amazing tidbit:

Tom Biedenharn, the city’s director of public affairs, said there are 416 managers in the organization of 2,097 full-time employees. Of those, 381 are eligible to receive the “step equivalent” raise. The raises will not exceed a total of $292,350, Biedenharn said.

If you do the math, there is one manager for every 5.04 workers. Not exactly a formula for success, or saying much about the managerial capability of these managers. Something is grossly wrong with our city organizational structure.

But, don’t get me wrong- I actually believe we should be paying our people top dollar- for top performance. Show me a city manager who can reverse the population decline and I’ll gladly pay him $250, 000 a year or more- as long as it’s tied to real metrics. Show me a way that police officers cut crime in half with the same staffing, and I’ll pay every cop $100K plus a year. What has to stop is paying for failure.

We also are looking at the wrong thing- as is usually the case. While people are all upset about these pay raises- they are ignoring the squandering of our tax dollars to private businesses like MedWork and Bob Schiffler [3], or BGH [4].

Every week the city is involved in bribing businesses with corporate welfare to stay in Dayton- instead of providing a place where they want to locate. That’s the real crime.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed [5]! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating [6]. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!
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@ “If you do the math, there is one manager for every 5.04 workers.” 

Wow, at first I would think I’m in the wrong department!  I have 16 employees on a 24/7/365 operations and many make more that I do as their mid-manager.  But hey, I’m just thankful I have a job and those that do make more .  .  .  are worth what they get paid!  They are the ones that make this part of the city function quietly behind the scene.

Will Brooks

Rewarding failure is a guarantee for more failure.


Yes, like our welfare system.

David Lauri

Funny how some people who comment on welfare can rely only on unsourced anecdotes and not on any statistics and then, after doing so, take some thrill in having won something.

Civil Servants Are People, Too

From what I’ve been told, there are a lot of mis-perceptions and inaccuracies with this pay issue.
First, the city of Dayton does indeed use performance metrics.   Any candidate for a  city commission should know this, and be at least vaguely familiar with what they measure.
Second, the merit increase was the maximum that staff could achieve, based on that performance.   It was not automatic (although the tiny step increase was automatic for those that were eligible).
Third, people need to understand that Dayton’s 380 “managers” include non-union staff-level employees like planners, project managers, financial technicians, and so on.   They are not managers in the traditional sense of controlling budgets and personnel, except for the top 30 or 40 department heads.   So it is more like 50 employees per manager.
See: http://www.cityofdayton.org/cmo/Pages/CityStaffListing.aspx
Finally, performance is relative.   No city in the country can change the national economy.   No city in the country can bring back the scores of manufacturing jobs that have gone overseas.   We need to look at what the goals were and whether or not they were accomplished.  The evaluation should be:
1. What are the metrics?
2. Are they appropriate?
3.  Are they being met?
See: http://www.cityofdayton.org/departments/omb/Pages/2010plan.aspx
To suggest “the local economy is bad and therefore city hall is to blame” is overly simplistic, impossible to prove, and most likely factually incorrect.  I would expect more from any candidate for public office.
Yes, there are valid policy issues here.   But in any city, evaluating performance is not the same as cutting for cutting’s sake.


DL – I am glad you find welfare funny. What statistics do you want? The number of people on welfare? There are people on welfare, that is a fact. There are people on welfare who should not be on welfare. People fraud the system. I supplied you with stories and some examples in articles, you chose to dismiss them.

It is a failure in many ways. It takes money from people who work hard and essentially gives it to people who don’t work or don’t work as hard. Sure, there are a lot of people who need help. I am fine with that. I understand that. What I do not understand is why we put up with the fraud associated with welfare in its many forms? You laugh at it, you think it is funny. I think it is disgusting. My money goes to fund thieves. That is not funny to me.   You love the LCD. I expect more. You do not.

Answer me this. Is the welfare fraud?

Do people misrepresent themselves when applying for welfare (like not reporting income, reporting nonexistence kids, not reporting spousal support)?

I say it happens, I have linked examples of people who say it has happened. What is so hard to understand about that? You want concrete statistics? Find them yourself, bc if I give you one or two cases then who is to say how many other cases are out there of similar nature that have not been reported? One case is too many. If I give you ten cases that won’t be good enough for you. Fraud happens, and by the very nature of the word “fraud” it would be near impossible to get concrete statistics on how often it happens. Fraud involves hiding information and misrepresentation. So if there are ten cases we can assume there are more, but no one can calculate that because of the very nature of fraud. Kind of like you saying you were something but you knowing it was a lie the entire time.

Bruce Kettelle

How many people receive welfare?

In 2005, the government gave temporary assistance to approximately 2,000,000 needy people. In comparison, more than twice as many people (nearly 5,000,000) were granted welfare in 1995.


I guess the question is how many fraud the system, even a little bit? After all, it is our tax dollars funding these criminals (those who commit fraud.) DL thinks it does not matter. I think it does matter.

Welfare exists beyond the monthly check. Section 8, food stamps, social security fraud, so called “work” programs, etc are all a part of the greater “welfare” system I am talking about. So there are more than 2 million people on “welfare.”

The larger question may be “Is it right to take money from one person and give it to another person?” My answer, for the most part, is NO. Same goes with corporate welfare. All “welfare” should be re-examined and eliminated or changed drastically. We just love to tax, tax, tax and spend, spend, spend. Both Republicans and Democrats. It just gets old.

David Lauri

DL thinks it does not matter.
Care to point to a specific comment I’ve made where I actually said that?


You never said it, your tone implies it however…..

So, if you can, answer my questions?

Does welfare fraud exist? If you think it does exist, do you care?

If it does not exist, explain.
I have commented that welfare fraud exists, and that welfare fraud and welfare in general is immoral. Is it ok to take from one person and give to another?
Why is ok to take my money and give it to people who commit fraud? Do you care about your money, your tax dollars?

Helping people is one thing….. but helping criminals or making people dependant on tax payers is bad. If you care then you would somewhat agree, not challenge the fact of welfare fraud.

Keep the cycle going….

Also, do you think it was wrong what Michael Vick did to dogs? After all, it was a part of his culture.


Taking a note from DL, I guess a no response to my questions means I win. Thanks.


There is some serious misunderstanding here.  The media (and this blog) have been referring to all “white collar” employees as “managers,” giving the the public the impression that the city staff is loaded with executives and high-end managers who each manage just a handful of people.  That’s not how it is, except in just a few small departments.  The so-called “managers” are anybody who isn’t in a union — and that includes everything from recreation program coordinators to accountants to video techicians to priority board coordinators and, in some cases, administrative assistants (“real people with real jobs”). So it isn’t even close to the top-heavy scenario that is being implied by some critics.  Is it perfect — of course not — but the issue is being overstated.