REGISTER VIEWPOINT: Health department raises some questions

What were they thinking? That question erupted earlier this month after the Erie County Health Department's board of director
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

What were they thinking?

That question erupted earlier this month after the Erie County Health Department's board of directors approved what by today's standards are hefty raises for the department's top administrators and other employees. The agency's director, health commissioner Pete Schade, received a $6,636 raise and the total payroll increase for the six top managers at the agency was nearly $23,000 alone. The board also approved raises of up to 4 percent raises for the more than 100 rank-and-file workers at the agency.

What were they thinking?

"They've been financially responsible in spending the money, so we thought the raises were appropriate," board president Linda Miller-Moore told the Register.

Every one of the employees at the Erie County Health Department might very well be deserving of a raise, but operating within your means does not strike us as heroic. The board effectively told Schade, "You have not driven the agency into the red, so here's an extra $6,636 for next year, bringing your salary to $117,416."

Schade's raise, and the other big bumps in pay especially don't make sense, it seems, given the hardships so many families are experiencing and the fact that need for the agency's services is on the rise. That would include families where wage earners have not received a nice bump in pay, and in fact, are living the realities of the leaner, meaner times that exist; families where wage-earners have actually taken pay decreases and health benefit cutbacks; and families where wage earners don't even have jobs.

The board opted to spend whatever extra money is available from the taxpayers to serve the bureaucracy rather that serve those in need. We, along with many readers who have shared their views, are disappointed the board does not see the need properly and opted for a bad choice over the right choice: Serve those in need.