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Mailbag: Newspaper should look into spending

Mailbag: Newspaper should look into spending

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Private sector employees are having a tough slog with layoffs, reduced hours and benefit losses.

Wah Chang employees, many working from home, have had salaries reduced for everyone by double-digit percentages. Owners of small businesses are at the cliff's edge.

I'm concerned PERS employees are not feeling any economic downside because they are being protected. I'd like you to investigate public school spending. How much has spending been reduced since teachers are not in the classroom doing their jobs? I would hope no one believes the total teaching hours would remain constant when teaching virtually. I see school positions are being protected by the district by doing food handouts. Will lack of spending result in a budget surplus this year? If so, how much?

Really the same question applies to city, county and state employees. I believe the political class and PERS class have not taken a proportional economic hit like private workers. I've noticed this aspect has been ignored in your newspaper.

As an example, Benton County's approved 2019/2020 budget has 538 employees costing $59.5 million (salary plus benefits). Do the math and that results in the average employee costing $110,600 per year. What has Benton County done to mitigate employee costs during this pandemic? Are they reducing costs/hours or protecting PERS employees?

I believe there are no local private businesses supporting such a high average employee compensation.

I'd like to see investigative reporting be done to show whether "we are all in this together" or not.

Tom Cordier

Albany

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