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March 2, 2011


Buffington calls for audit of mayoral staff

by Deena Winter

Lincoln mayoral candidate Tammy Buffington today said if elected, she would do performance audits of mayoral staff and make real cuts in the mayor’s personnel budget.

Tammy Buffington

Mayor Chris Beutler announced last week that he and his 19 directors and aides would take a .5 percent pay cut, saving the city less than $11,000.

“We’re long past the point of making symbolic gestures that won’t help solve our budget problems and put tax dollars back in the voters’ pocketbooks,” Buffington said in a press release. “My staff will be subject to performance audits and the mayor’s office will be no different than any other part of city government. The mayor’s office won’t get special treatment and have salary advantages that other city employees don’t have.”

Buffington again criticized the mayor and his cabinet and aides’ retirement benefit of 12 percent of their salaries — with no matching funds required — given the mayor’s push for other employees to reduce their 2-to-1 match to a 1-to-1 match.

“The mayor must think that he and his top staff don’t have to play by the same rules as other city employees,” Buffington said. “It’s this sense of government entitlement that voters are getting tired of and want to see changed. The last three mayors have been from the same party and some senior staff have been in multiple administrations and real change is needed and expected by the voters,.”

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jane H Kinsey
    Mar 2 2011

    Thank you, Tammie. The Insider/backroom shenanigans of our City Leaders have to stop. Let’s hope that there are enough
    fed up voters to make her Mayor.

  2. Jon Duhon
    Mar 2 2011

    Tammy, how about we do an audit on how you are going to cut the $180 million needed for the South Beltway out of a $125 million city budget. Tammy, let’s get back to the realm of the real.

  3. Roger Yant
    Mar 2 2011

    The other night on the Koby Mac show on KLIN they figured it out that there were 19 people on the mayor’s staff who gave up the .5 %. They said the average pay for those 19 was around $113,000. Not bad for government work. Poor government workers, I sure all of you reading this like paying them all that money.

  4. in the real
    Mar 2 2011

    Thanks Deena for the good reporting!!

  5. Jon Duhon
    Mar 3 2011

    Roger, those 19 people oversee 1,200 employees and a $125 million city budget. In the private sector those same people with comparable executive management experience and responsibilities these employees would command a much higher salary. That pension is a big part of the reason those employees take the job in the first place.

  6. Ken Vice
    Mar 3 2011

    Ms Buffington should learn something about compensation.
    1. Matching is used by companies as a incentive to their employees to save for their future. A 5 or 6% percent match limit is fairly common. It is usually going into a 401k or 403b where the money can’t be withdrawn easily before age 59 1/2. It is used to encourage employees to save their own money for their retirement and get something exta for the sacrifice. In industry where I worked a 1 to 1 match is typical, but the salaries for managers’ like the mayor’s staff are higher. The total package is what matters. The 12 % is not extra. What the Mayor is paid is a joke.

    2. I am not sure who you consider the Mayor’s staff, but the manager staff are all hired & fired by the mayor. They are specialists in their field. What they are paid is a matter of negotiation. If you think you can hire a Fire Chief for $50,000 a year then I am glad you are not Mayor. Since you will hire them it is highly unlikely you will audit them.

  7. Roger C
    Mar 3 2011

    Those 19 staff members have salaries ranging from $58K to $131K, so it’s not like they are all making $100K +. I know it makes for easier spin to talk about the average, but the point has been made that many of those people, for what they are there for, would make significantly more in the private field. Some posters are reinforcing why they never made it to those “government work” positions. As far as Mrs. Buffington goes, shes going to need to start coming-up with some answers and solutions instead of talking points, and at some juncture she’s going to have to demonstrate she has some knowledge of how the city budget works (and just exactly what it is). Right now, my opinion is that her campaign is pretty much hopeless.

  8. Jane H Kinsey
    Mar 3 2011

    Maybe the City could hire a fire chief for $50,000 a year. It has never tried since Johanns left office. Did you know the average family salary in Lincoln is $44,000 a year, while the national average is $55,000? Why should firefighters make way beyond the average? It is because they have a strong union which has been in trouble before with the fire truck situation.
    City department heads are way overpaid in consideration to the private sector. They go to work for that and then have a job for life without much effort. I have never seen a local government employee overworked. They are really running the city as the elected officials come and go but they are constant. They have a lot of power besides the income.

  9. john
    Mar 3 2011

    Jane: Regardless of the issue at hand, How do you have so much time to blog responses during the day at your work? I see you are putting in a lot of effort to your WORK.


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