I am sure that some of the citizens of Duncanville are not going to agree with what I am about to say, so I am going to remind you of our policy. Anyone is welcome to write a letter to the editor as long as the letter is signed and you are not being disrespectful to someone.
This is the time of year that the City Council starts discussions on the budget for the city. The city has held meetings recently to discuss the notice of tax rate which in reality is a hearing concerning the budget. Although I disagree with not rolling back the tax rate, I am more upset with the 3% pay raise for all employees.
To clarify, I believe that non-management city employees deserve a raise, but I do not agree with giving staff members who are in management positions one. Why you ask?
The Duncanville City Charter states that our city manager is to reside in the city limits of Duncanville; our charter does not address any other employee. The other day, during a conversation with our city manager, he clarified that several of the top management people did not live in our city. For example:
* Police Chief Brown resides in the city of Rockwall
* Charles Smith, our assistant city manager resides in Frisco
* Jessica James, Economic Development Director resides in the Waxahachie area
* Michael J. Hasler, P.E., Director of Public Works resides in Arlington
This is just to name a few! So, I have a few questions for our city manager and city council:
1. How can our police chief reside in Rockwall and give the city the service they deserve! If there was a disaster in our city after 5:00 pm, how would he get from Rockwall to our city? Did you even know that he lived so far away?
2. Our assistant city manager works here all day, and then drives back to Frisco? You have stated to me that you have to stay competitive with your salaries; I think we are already competitive if he is willing to drive that distance.
3. Jessica James, Economic Development Director lives in the Waxahachie area. Does she really have pride for our community, and if so why does she not live here?
4. How can we expect these top managers to make careful and informed decisions for our city, when they do not have a dog in the fight and those choices do not directly affect them?
I have heard from other people in the community that one reason the top management does not live here is our schools. I understand that Duncanville ISD has not been up to par the last few years, but Duncanville ISD is striving to do better, and the community as a whole takes pride in our district. We have elected school board members who are making a difference just in the last two years. They have hired a new superintendent, and he has chosen a new leadership team. I believe the district is on the way up.
So what is my gripe? We pay competitive salaries to top management so they can commute to other cities in the Metroplex, enroll their students in other districts, pay city taxes to another city, and better yet, to pay sales tax to other cities! I say a better solution is to give the pay raise to the employees, and perhaps give top management incentive pay to live within our city limits.