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TO THE EDITOR:

Mr. Mayor, Councilors,

At a council meeting at the end of last year, the Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee informed us that the issue of the employees regaining their 10 percent was to be discussed in March. It is now almost May. Where is that discussion?

My department, Solid Waste, which is self-funded, has lost nearly 60 percent of our workforce as a direct consequence of this unnecessary wage reduction. Last week, we had three drivers trying to cover five routes. Is the council aware of just how much damage their continued inaction is causing not only the services provided to this city but also the huge impact it is having on employees and their families?

These are people, not just numbers on a spreadsheet.

There is a gaping chasm between councilors and the employees. When was the last time any of you visited the departments? Why are we not allowed to attend committee meetings? Even supervisors aren’t allowed to attend; they used to be so why aren’t they now?

The only people who have not been affected by the wage reduction are you, the councilors. While I understand that a reduction in your wages cannot be legally enforced, why don’t you donate 10 percent of your wages back to the city or to a charity? Surely it doesn’t take a vote for you to do the right and moral thing. Our leaders should lead by example.

Over the course of three months, I left multiple messages for the Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee and did not receive one solitary phone call. Finally, I was told that my calls were ignored as he had nothing to tell me. He could not justify the wage cut. This is appalling behavior.

I’m sorry, but if you cut my wages, then you should be able to justify it and at least answer the phone!

At least the Mayor has the courage of his convictions to come and speak to the employees. Why will councilors not meet with employees; surely we deserve that.

I have been reassured repeatedly that all employees are treated equally. I beg to differ. Just one example is the grant from the Yates Foundation to our first responders. How many councilors even asked to see the contract before it was unanimously passed?

According to the Mayor, NOT ONE OF YOU. In your haste, you voted on a contract worth hundreds of thousands of dollars without even reading it, and in so doing, you gave a large amount of control over the rest of the employees’ wages to an unelected entity. This is a shameful dereliction of duty. Does this show that you treat all employees the same? I think not.

Finally, is the council aware that a quarter, A QUARTER, of the city’s entire workforce has left since wages were cut just nine months ago!

I urge the council to reinstate our wages before your actions destroy this city’s workforce and the valuable services it provides.

Thank you,
Dave Davies
City of Artesia Solid Waste Department