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Tribune got it right in regard to benefits

The Tribune got it right. I am referring to the article on the special meeting of the City Council regarding contracts with upper management employees.

I don’t often find myself at odds with Ron Manfredi, who said the Tribune did a disservice to the residents, but in this case, I believe our local paper was trying to shine a light on an important problem we have with the City which is transparency.

Without going into great detail of the staff report and employee contracts let me state three main problems I find with this issue.

This report was written in an obscure, convoluted and confusing manner. I spent 18 years reading staff reports on the Board of Supervisors. Staff reports should explain in clear language what action is being requested to be taken and the justification. On the surface one would think the employee’s compensation packages are being reduced when in fact they remain the same and are locked in for three years. To have complete understanding of the proposal it was necessary to refer from the report to contract to see the impacts. That is not an easy or apparent presentation to the council or the City’s citizens.

What’s the rush? This item was placed on a special meeting for approval. Council is soon to hire a new city manager. Why would you adopt a new employee agreement right before a new manager was brought on board? Was it to make the manager’s life easier or to tie their hands? The new manager would not be able to modify these agreements without impacting all city employees and certain management employees would be protected for three years.

There is an election in upcoming weeks that affects council members. The council has taken heat for the outrageous salaries paid to city management staff. This sleight of hand appears to reduce benefits by approximately $65,570 for leave cash-out but reality is that most benefits remain the same… salaries remain the same… and the compensation packages are locked in for years. It appears some council members are more interested in protecting upper management than protecting the residents of Madera, who they are elected to represent.

I, for one, appreciate the Tribune digging into this matter. The citizens have been kept in the dark for too long about the way city government is conducted. We have paid and continue to pay rising fees and taxes while the city’s infrastructure crumbles, no new safety services have been created and no new jobs developed. Thank you for diligence. Let the light shine.

— Gail McIntyre,

Retired Madera County Supervisor

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