Dickert said city staff is working for a 0 percent increase budget with zero layoffs.
"That's the goal," he said. "That's the entire emphasis of the next three months. I don't want to raise taxes, and I don't want layoffs."
He added that pay raises for city employees are "impossible."
"Not only can't taxpayers swallow them, but it's impossible for the city to swallow them," Dickert said. "There's just no money."
A city employee sent us the letter below laying out what they consider an ominous sign ahead of the 2010 budget.
All city employees received a letter from City Administrator Tom Friedel laying out exactly how much they're getting paid by the city, including retirement benefits, health benefits, life insurance, Social Security and Medicare contributions and, of course, total wages.
I remember getting a similar letter from Lee Enterprises a few years back as a not-so-subtle reminder that my pay was more than what was in the bi-weekly check. It also preceded the minimal across-the-board raise all employees received - and the de facto months-long hiring freeze.
With the city facing a tough, tough budget for 2010, city employees are on edge about their pay and even their jobs. This "rah rah" letter, as the writer calls it, did little to ease concerns.
Here's excerpts of what was sent:
A Letter dated August 2009 was sent to all City employees by City Administrator Thomas Friedel.
This letter was to notify all City of Racine employees of their 2008 total compensation and benefits summary.
The compensation for each City of Racine employee is public record. Within public records things like Social Security and Medicare Contributions are not included because these are government mandated taxes employers have to pay for each of their employees.
In the case of the letter received in our home it goes like this:
Total Compensation: Gross Wages
Wisconsin Retirement Pension Paid by City $
Social Security Contributions Paid by City $
Medicare Contributions Paid by the City $
Prescription Claims Paid by the City $
Medical Claims Paid by the City $
Health Insurance Administrative Fees $
Hartford Life Insurance Premiums $
Total Compensation and Benefits Paid by the City Total in Dollars and cents
Was this done for PR? Because the employees who have been discussing this are not appreciative of this type of unsolicited mail. In this economy everyone is grateful for their jobs and a whole lot of city employee’s wages have been frozen.
I would appreciate if you would build a story out of this but please leave our name out of it.
I am interested in hearing if other employers are doing similar rah rah letters to their employees and where this idea came from and why now? Was this presented at a City Council meeting?