Favorite

Season of sacrifice 

The Little Rock Board of Directors finished a painful round of budget cutting last week in response to a drop in tax revenue.

Cuts of 25 percent in support of the Museum of Discovery and the Arkansas Arts Center undoubtedly will mean fewer children will be delighted by arts and science. Youth programs were cut back. A popular ballfield lost money that operated a summer program. But the toll was even more personally painful.

Wish a Merry Christmas to people whose city jobs were sliced from the budget in 2010 (not vacant positions that won't be funded):

• A tobacco prevention worker, pay cut by $17,996 to make the job part-time.

• An assistant city attorney, paid $60,454.

• A senior revenue collector paid $49,053.

• A court cashier, paid $35,598, to be replaced by a credit card machine.

• A plumbing inspector, paid $43,022.

• An electrical inspector, paid $42,576.

• A neighborhood alert center worker, paid $33,790.

• A community services supervisor, paid $33,089.

• Two parks maintenance foremen, paid $41,678 and $46,507.

• A park truck driver, paid $35,000.

• An East Little Rock Recreation Center program supervisor, paid $38,535.

• A concessions supervisor, paid $45,870.

• A zoo administrative assistant, paid $44,205

• A zoo café supervisor, paid $38,768.

• A zoo special events coordinator, $49,623.

• A zoo visitor services assistant, paid $42,917.

• A zoo laborer, paid $28,850.

These laid-off workers should sleep soundly Christmas Eve. It should be a comfort to them that they've sacrificed their livelihoods for a better Little Rock. You see, without their firings, the city wouldn't have been able to continue paying $200,000 each year to the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, which also takes public money from water and sewer ratepayers, the taxpayer-financed Port Authority and UALR. The public money subsidizes an economic development team, once financed by Chamber member dues, but increasingly viewed (by the Chamber) as something taxpayers should finance. The Chamber is lobbying governments for still more tax money.

Who's on the team? What, precisely do they do? How, precisely, do they spend their money? The Chamber won't reveal details routinely demanded of public entities and the city demands no accountability of the money either.

I was able to learn that five people are employed on the economic development team. In 2008 (the most recent figures available), they received $368,294 in salaries, or an average of better than $75,000 in taxpayer-subsidized pay. They received group medical insurance at a taxpayer-subsidized cost of $23,050. They received $2,400 worth of disability and other employment benefits, again with significant help from tax and ratepayers.

When the 2009 figures are released, I'm guessing pay and benefits will not show a decline. With added money from water ratepayers next year, they might even receive a pay raise in 2010. It's been a busy year for the Chamber after all, what with fighting unions and health care for all Americans.

So, thanks, fired workers. You've helped make the Chamber's New Year comfortable. A  Merry Christmas and good night to all of us  who elect the people who finance and protect Little Rock's secret shadow government.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Double-talk

    A couple of instances of doublespeak cropped up in Little Rock over the weekend.
    • Jun 29, 2017
  • Along the civil rights trail

    A convergence of events in recent days signaled again how far we have come and how far we have yet to go in civil rights.
    • Jan 18, 2018
  • The Oval outhouse

    One thing all Americans finally can agree upon is that public discourse has coarsened irretrievably in the era of Donald Trump and largely at his instance.
    • Jan 18, 2018

Most Shared

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Meanwhile, back in Arkansas

    Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin got some glowing coverage in Sunday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for arranging an award from the national association of secretaries of state for the Little Rock Nine and their brave desegregation of Central High School 60 years ago.
    • Feb 22, 2018
  • Love, Ark Blog

    Things you might have missed if you don't read the Arkansas Blog.
    • Feb 15, 2018
  • Police problems

    Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner's surprise emergence as a candidate for a higher-paying job in a smaller city (Charleston, S.C.) is a commentary on the fraught relationship of police with the Little Rock community and a city government structure in need of change.
    • Feb 8, 2018
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

February

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Enough

    • The students and teachers and other school employees are more important than the shooter. The…

    • on February 23, 2018
  • Re: Unqualified

    • What does that got to do with the price of tomatoes in Warren?

    • on February 23, 2018
  • Re: Unqualified

    • Cereal, Runner? Trix are for kids. Did you know that there have been additional charges…

    • on February 23, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation