Letter writer: Local officials need to get the message on taxes and spending

Dear Editor:

Since 2008 Californians’ median household income has remained flat while the cost of living and taxes have increased. It would be one thing if our tax dollars were always well spent by government. Unfortunately, our politicians are not as careful with our money as we would be if we were allowed to hold onto it.

Case in point is the $349,000 in wages and benefits doled out by the Brentwood Union Elementary District to former Superintendent Merrill Grant in 2013, making him the seventh highest paid K-12 employee in the state.

That’s despite the fact that Grant had been fired in February of that year for mismanagement of the special education scandal that has socked the district with $9 million in legal costs with possibly millions more in payouts to come.

Then there are our county supervisors, including East County’s Mary Piepho and Federal Glover, who recently voted themselves a 33 percent pay raise. Don’t you wish you could do that? Their $129,227 salaries are in addition to their health insurance, $7,200 car allowance, retirement savings account and pension – adding up to more than $200,000 in compensation per year.

The supervisors, who have pled poverty in contract negotiations with county employee unions, will now have to open up the compensation floodgates, sticking taxpayers with the tab or cutting back on services.

The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, which has been closing stations, lavishes half of its budget on retirement expenses, wasted $125,000 on a tax hike PR firm, wasted tens of thousands more on a failed tax hike mail ballot and raised the chief’s pay to nearly $140,000.

ECCFPD will spend tens of thousands more on another attempt at a tax hike, despite receiving an extra million dollars in property taxes this year due to the rebound in the housing market.

The Oakley City Council raised City Manager Bryan Montgomery’s salary to nearly $210,000. Three years ago the council attempted to secretly grant Montgomery a sweetheart mortgage deal costing taxpayers several hundred thousand dollars – until forced to rescind it after a newspaper article generated taxpayer outrage.

On Tuesday voters nationwide spoke loudly that they want to rein in the tax-and-spend policies of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Unfortunately, in blue California it pretty much remains business as usual with government of, by and for government employees.

Dave Roberts


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