How much is a Dayton City Commissioner overpaid?

Kettering recently put a charter change on their ballot (something Daytonians would find nearly impossible because the charter requires a percentage of registered voters instead of a percentage of voters in the last election) and cut their council members salary in half.

Well folks, I’ve got news for you- cut Dayton City Commissioners salary in half and they will make almost double what a congressman makes hourly. Yep, that’s right, your commissioners think pretty highly of themselves.

Here’s the math: A congressman is a full time job- paying $178K a year or $85.57 an hour. A city commissioner make $37K a year for a job that requires on average 2 hours a week- that works out to $355.76 an hour. Even when you measure a congressman’s job based on only the time in session- around 150 days, 1200 hours, congress only makes a little less than half what a city commissioner does on an annual basis or $150 an hour.

Now of course, Nan Whaley will tell you she works at it full-time, and Gary Leitzell says he spends between 30 to 35 hours a week at it (note the Mayor makes around $45K a year) but Commissioner Matt Joseph has a full time job at a defense contractor and Commissioner Joey Williams is a bank president pulling down at least a few hundred thousand a year. Are they really putting in the hours? Of course, we’ve got Dean Lovelace who took a year off with pay, so he’s making something close to $15K an hour for the last year, but that’s ok since Nan, Joey, Matt all gave him a hall pass.

When I first ran for Mayor 20 years ago, the position paid $28K a year and the commissioners made around $24K.  The average family of four in Dayton was making around $18K working hard. Maybe, it’s time to at a minimum tie commission pay to the average household income in the city- whatever it is, cut it in half. Or, do what I propose to do if elected: I’ll track my hours and bill my consulting rate of $150 an hour for every hour I spend working as a commissioner, anything above that, I’ll turn back into the city. And, to make it sweeter, if you elect me and none of the Democratic party endorsed candidates, I’ll cut my rate to $85 an hour, same as a congressman.

However, if I get elected and have to serve with the people who will spend $50K or more to get a job that pays $45K a year- and I can’t change the charter so that the voters can recall any of us, I’m going to take everything over $150 an hour to put into a fund to elect new replacements for the overpaid commission you have now.

And one other thing… please explain why the Mayor needs an aide who makes as much as he does? Why not just pay the Mayor a full time salary of $90K and skip the aide?


And- btw- here is the best list I can come up with on who is trying to get on the primary ballot right now:  It’s not too late to try to get 500 signatures and join the circus.

Esrati needs your help to win a fight fairly

A few readers have sent me messages asking why not as many posts of late? Did the Monarchy of Montgomery County stop being evil? Did your tax dollars all of a sudden just get diverted to providing actual needed governmental service? Did our political leaders all just wake up and realize that it’s not about politics- but community service? Hardly.

It’s called my-domestic-partner-is-in-Philly-on-business and I’m a single parent. Kudos to all single parents- it’s a huge responsibility and a lot of work. So far- no food poisoning thanks to my cooking, or injuries due to neglect.

I’ve also been collecting signatures for my City Commission run this year. Matt Joseph and Dean Lovelace are up for re-election and I believe you should have a choice in a primary- that means more than four candidates which will force a primary. Of course, I believe that the primary doesn’t serve the citizens- actually reducing choice- if we moved to Instant Run-off Voting– we could save an election, cut the campaign time- and give independents a better shot in this supposedly “non-partisan” election. It’s non-partisan in that party names don’t appear on the ballot- not that it matters.

I got a letter from the Montgomery County Democratic Party– of which I am a member- announcing that “This year. we ask your support once again as we work to keep Matt Joseph and Dean Lovelace on the Dayton City Commission” by buying tickets to their “Frolic for Funds.”

Note- the petitions aren’t due yet, the candidates haven’t filed- yet the party has already picked candidates.

How “Democratic” is that? In fact- is part of the cost of this mailing being borne by the candidates?

Shouldn’t it read “This year. we ask your support once again as we work to keep Democrats on the Dayton City Commission”

I have to collect 500+ signatures of registered Dayton voters by 4 March 2011 and turn in notarized petitions. If you’d like to help- please contact me at david (at) elect esrati dot com and I’ll get a voter list for your neighborhood- and a petition to you. It’s a great way to meet your neighbors.

I ask that each person get at least 40 verified signatures (one petition). For all the time I’ve spent supplying you with news and info for discussion on this site- this is one of the few times I’ve asked for something in return. Please consider helping me give voters a choice this May in a primary.

Thank you.

Risk; and electing challengers

Seth Godin wrote about risk and apparent risk today on his blog.

And while the Dayton Daily News seems to think (“Incumbents Joey Williams and Nan Whaley …are the best bets for Dayton voters.”) that adding one or two heretics to the Dayton City Commission would be a really bad decision- the reality is, it still takes 3 votes to pass anything. If Matt Joseph, Dean Lovelace and the remainder of the “W” faction (Whaley or Williams) decide to vote against challengers Gary Leitzell and me (if we are both elected) there will be no change at all.

Seth writes:

There are people who I will never encounter in a restaurant.

That’s because when these people go out for dinner, they go to chain restaurants. These are the tourists in New York who seek out the familiar Olive Garden instead of walking down the street to Pure.

That’s fine. It’s a personal choice.

But it got me thinking about the difference between apparent and actual risk, and how that choice affects just about everything we do…

Apparent risk is what gets someone who is afraid of plane crashes to drive, even though driving is more dangerous….

When things get interesting is when the apparently risky is demonstrably safer than the actually risky. That’s when we sometimes become uncomfortable enough with our reliance on the apparent to focus on the actual.

via Seth’s Blog: Apparent risk and actual risk.

It reminds me of a joke my Grandmother liked (one of her cleaner ones)-

Everyday John would sit down and open his lunch box and complain to his co-workers: “Meatloaf, everyday, meatloaf” and proceed to eat his meatloaf.

After months of this, Frank asked him, “John, if you hate meatloaf so much, why don’t you ask your wife to pack you something different.”

John looks up- and says, “What wife? I pack it myself.”

If we keep electing people who talk about streamlining government, but haven’t done it. If we keep electing who the party tells us to on slate cards, we’ll be the Johns of this world. And judging by some of the alleys in Westwood I saw yesterday- we’re pretty close to that right now.

Are you ok with the same old  meatloaf from the Olive Garden?

Vote for Change in 08, but Dems think that Dayton should not change in 09

While Dayton will vote heavily for the Change candidate for President in November, the local slate will be all the same according to today’s Dayton Daily News:

Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin … plans to seek a third term.

… McLin has also asked the Compensation Board to freeze her salary in 2009 and the salaries of all commissioners. The request follows City Manager Rashad Young’s request of employees to forgo raises to cut a $13 million deficit.

“I wouldn’t ask anyone to do something I wouldn’t do myself,” McLin said.

On Thursday, Commissioners Joey Williams and Nan Whaley, also Democrats, said they will seek re-election as well. Unlike 2007, when Commissioners Dean Lovelace and Matt Joseph ran unopposed, Republicans plan to challenge all three in 2009.

“People are frustrated,” Montgomery County GOP Chairman Greg Gantt said. “We expect to have candidates for mayor and the city commission in 2009.”

Mayor McLin will seek third term.

This pre-emptive announcement is supposed to scare away other candidates, along with the insane requirement for 500 signatures on their archaic petition (you can run for Congress with 50). The Montgomery County Democratic Party hasn’t even asked if there were other candidates who would like to run.

At this point, Gary Leitzell from Walnut Hills has already taken out petitions and is planning on running against McLin. I’m running for Commission as well. I’ve already posted previously about another possible Mayoral candidate who could easily unseat McLin.

There is also the question of if there will be a special election before too long, if Commissioner Dean Lovelace doesn’t return to his seat from his recent stroke. Don’t quote me, but the charter only allows something like 5 excused absences in a row before you have abdicated your seat. Our lack of a current Clerk of Commission means this will probably not be enforced.

At one point or another, every current member of the Dayton City Commission has severely let the citizens down, from Commissioner Williams abstaining on the gay rights vote, to Lovelaces vote against it- to the Mayor’s absolute inability to inspire the business community to believe that we have a captain at the helm, or Matt Joseph’s sole contribution of party’s for interns or Nan Whaleys…. well, what exactly has she done except carry the Mayor’s purse and hatbox?

Vision, leadership, new ideas, or even debate hasn’t come out of this Commission for years. The only one who has talked policy at all has been Lovelace with his lead on predatory lending- however noble his actions, they were at the wrong level of Government.

The first time I ran for Mayor, we had 6 candidates. Maybe in 2009 we’ll be lucky enough to have some real choices in the primary and viable challengers in the general election.