City Pay Raises? City Avg $59,323 versus Private Median $35,989

I discontinued my paper subscription last November, but I have "Liked" the SWTR on my Facebook page and therefore receive headlines and articles of interest.  The latest such article of interest was about our City Administrator pushing for employee pay raises in 2015.  According to the 2014 City Budget, the city of Fort Smith has a total of 955 employees and a personnel payroll of $56,653,380.  Since the city administrator doesn't include the median income for city workers, we can only average the pay per employee, which comes to $59,323.  Now, according to city-data.com, the median household income in Fort Smith, ( which means there could be more than one worker per household), is $35,989 a year, which is the lowest of similar size Arkansas cities. There are plenty of hard working city employees that don't make $59,323 a year, but for transparency sake, it would be nice to have someone from city hall come out and give the median income for city workers.  After all, $59,323, versus $35,989 is quite a differential between city workers and private sector workers in Fort Smith

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Comments

Transparency

It would be nice to see the city pay scale posted so the taxpayers could see how much they are spending for city management because that is where the bulk of the pay raises will go. It seems that Gosack has received 2 very substantial pay raises in the near past and should remove himself from the mix.

The Top Is Loaded

with high salaries and the boots on the ground that do the real work are close to the average salary for private sector employees.

Who Is Getting The Money

2% pay raises do not seem like a lot until you do the math and see where the real money is going and its flowing to the top! 2% of $200,000 dollars is $4000 dollars per year and 2% of $30,000 dollars is a mere 600 dollars per year. It looks to me like someone is stacking the deck again and putting more sugar on the top layer so sugar Ray appears to be at it again and buying support with your tax dollars. Ouch!

15.000 Lost Jobs

Does anyone in city management really deserve a raise when the local economy has lost so many jobs? Fix the problems, be business friendly, create jobs, increase the city revenue without tax increases, Cut the crony nonsense, and then maybe a raise will be justified.

Jack, I love you, but averages do nothing.

M W is right. let's say for a hypothetical discussion that there are 1000 employees in Fort Smith and the payroll is 57,000,000. Done for ease of the mathematics. That's 57,000 a person. Now, let's say that 50 of these people make 100,000 each. That leaves 52,000,000 for the other 950 employees. Tha average for the 950 remaining drops to 54,737. Now, see how 50 people can affect an average by 2274 dollars? What if the department heads get paid even more? Gosack? Surely he gets paid more than 100K. that's going to drop the average for the majority more. Also, doesn't median salary also take into account the zeroes for the unemployed (those by choice and by not?) Jack, I'm open to your discussion on this one. But listen to a guy who has a degree in math. Averages aren't the way to discuss this. It's the median that's important here.and yeah, we don't have them.

Jack has a point...

Shouldn't the city government mirror the city and economy it exists in? There are many businesses in FSM that have not gotten raises for several years, or have skipped raises and benefits to help there conmpanies (whether voluntary or not). I really do not believe that the city is losing people to the private sector. That is apples and oranges you are comparing. Perhaps people are moving away. Who knows. While I agree averages do not work here, the income of $36K per household is very telling.

Houston, We Have A Problem!

We have a lot of high priced management that have been hired to get the job done but accountability seems to be missing.

The Numbers Don't Lie

Keep the numbers and facts coming Jack because the numbers don't lie! We all know that the top deck is loaded at city hall and the discussion needs a lot more facts about the city payroll that is very top heavy.

Actually, they can.

Jack made a MAJOR error in his comparison. You have to compare medians to medians, or averages to averages. Not one of each. This is comparing the proverbial apple to an orange. How so? Ten people each make $10,000 for some month long job. The average is $10,000, the median is $10,000. Now, let's say at an identical job, 8 people make $2,000 each, and the other two make $42,000 each. In this case, the total payroll is still $100,000, so the average is STILL $10,000. The median however is $2,000 because if you put all the numbers in order of salaries, you will find a $2,000 in the 5th and 6th spot (you average the middle ones). Jack is comparing the $10,000 average from job 1 and the median from job 2. Compare apples with apples Jack. Faulty statistical analysis like this makes those of us who know how to use them properly cringe. If you're a business doing this, it gets you sued for false advertising. Just pointing this out.

"Folks we don't know how much

your raises will be or if we can give you one at all..until after the special election coming up next week." Sorry. What would a statement like that cause you to do if it had been years since you had received one? That's right your brothers and sisters will all show up to vote with you, your wife, and mother-in-law now! The article said 'most' had not gotten but 1 raise in 4 years...why would they give anyone a raise if things were really this close? Can they come up with $100k for an old building to renovate...$340K for a survey...$400k to run utilities to the river...Yes to all of them but no to a raise? Something's fishy near the river.

The numbers do lie.

The numbers do lie when they are presented this way. As another Anonymous posted above, the pay scale is not even across the board. There are too many people in Fort Smith quick to throw out trash about the City, the real question is what are you doing to help it? Most of the time nothing but complaining. Most could not even fathom that work that goes into keeping little ole Fort Smith running from day to day. Step back, stretch, hydrate. Find a way to help Fort Smith instead of dogging it all the time. Attitudes like above are why Fort Smith is dieing or dead.....

What could be causing the attitude?

Many varieties of 'Big fish in a small pond syndrome' have run rampant here since at least the turn of the century. City governments over the years usually chosen from these select species have been very aloof towards the general population and treat them like it's absolutely none of their business how the money obtained from them, ballot trickery or not, is later spent. That's the good part. Next comes organized regular people hell bent to extract their deal out of the mess also. These people are 1/3rd mad at what's above them and 2/3rds angry at what's below. Beautification becomes beautifiscation very quickly with this drive around patrol and if it does happen to you, you simply deserve it just as much as they deserve either to buy it real cheap then do what they want or merely just get rid of you. (Write the rules where he can't comply so later it's not at all your fault you took it from him!) Fair is not a factor and in fact what they do is precisely what governments were formed to prevent. Could a lot of attitudes be dieing or dead here in the Fort simply because they've been shot? As far as wages who doesn't know the city has been jacking up the pay scale for years except for recently?

Thanks for the Love "Math Major", it's Appreciated!

However, without transparency from our city administration those are the only numbers available to work with. City-data.com incomes are based on number of households, hence income per household. That said, income per household could include two or three income producers living in a household. My guess, since city employees total 955, they would make up approximately 955 households, unless two or more city employees live together in the same household. But we would still need to know how many city employees have incomes of $200k, $100k, etc. to arrive at a median income for city employees. Maybe those in the public sector making over $100k should feel free to step out into the private sector and seek better pay, rather than receive a pay raise from those who are unemployed.
However, without transparency from our city administration those are the only numbers available to work with. City-data.com incomes are based on number of households, hence income per household. That said, income per household could include two or three income producers living in a household. My guess, since city employees total 955, they would make up approximately 955 households, unless two or more city employees live together in the same household. But we would still need to know how many city employees have incomes of $200k, $100k, etc. to arrive at a median income for city employees. Maybe those in the public sector making over $100k should feel free to ...>> Read the entire comment.