Commentary: Not a Good Time for a Raise

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, April 4, 2008

The other day, when asked if he supports a raise for Sacramento Library Director Ann Marie Gold, a member of the library’s governing board said that Gold’s current $145,000 annual salary falls below other library directors heading similar systems. To which I say – so what?

There are two things that elected officials ought to consider as they decide whether to give Gold a raise or even to let her keep her job – her performance and their ability to pay. On both scores a raise is a tough sell.

On Gold’s watch, the library was defrauded of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The library’s former maintenance director and security chief have been charged. A finance clerk who tried to warn the director about billing irregularities almost two years before the fraud scheme unraveled says she was ignored. Beyond the fraud case, some 600 library staffers and patrons have signed no-confidence petitions against Gold.

As for ability to pay, local governments are facing tough times. The county alone is projecting a $40 million deficit for the coming fiscal year. Those who support pay raises say they’re needed to retain talented people. In this case, I think it’s time to challenge that theory.


Ginger Rutland writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.