Are High Salaries Unethical?

I guess like most things it depends on the situation. Well, let’s take a look at an unusual situation. Let us wander around the state of California until we arrive at the small town of Bell. No, it is not small by the standards of some western states but a population of 36,000 does put it in the average category. And this place is tough. I mean almost impossible to run. Because they have such difficulties getting skilled politicians that they pay the mayor about $800,000. This is not quite twice as much as the President of the United States, but the mayor of Bell must have tougher problems. Obviously.

However, the mayor is not the only one who makes a good salary. Let me quote from the article:

Residents, however, have no problem expressing what they think about their city’s budget, which pays the police chief — who oversees a 46-person department — $457,000 a year. By contrast, Los Angeles’ police chief oversees 12,899 people and earns $307,000.

My favorite part is the city council. To be a city councilman required a person to work part time and it’s must be really tough part time work because these guys get a $100,000 for their efforts.

Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo (I refer to him as the mayor.) is not upset or sorry. He says he can make the same in the private sector. Of course, some wiseacre might point that he isn’t in the private sector and that since the private sector seldom owns and operates small cities, it might be hard to get a comparative number.

Now as always when people with real ability are rewarded for their skills and effort, there will be people who squawk and complain. Let me quote from another article on the same subject:

Bell resident Douglas Waugh said he was infuriated when he learned that city officials in his small city had some of the highest salaries in the nation. “They think we’re stupid,” Waugh said standing outside of his home. “They get into power and talk to us like little kids and they think we’re ignorant, but we’re not.”

The top officials in Bell receive a 12% pay hike every July. The mayor has been working in that position since 1993. At that rate he will be earning $2,446,680 in the year 2020. Did you know that the city has been cutting back on services and laying off employees? But these guys have their priorities straight. Right?

James Pilant