Budget cuts belong to all of us | AspenTimes.com
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Budget cuts belong to all of us

Dear Editor:

Perhaps unintentionally, Marilyn Marks has once again misstated some facts about a City Council decision (letters, Jan. 17).

Last week, the council unanimously directed the city manager to create budget plans for an additional 5 percent and 10 percent reductions in expenditures. Council discussed and agreed to the inclusion of staff reductions, pay cuts and/or furloughs as tools that would be acceptable.



I have personally been meeting on a regular basis with both the city manager and the finance director to discuss these and other alternatives. The reductions being considered would be in addition to approximately $2 million in cuts agreed to by the council at our last meeting.

Contrary to Ms. Marks, Jack Johnson did not “snarl” when he objected to Councilman Dwayne Romero’s contention that it was solely Councilman’s Romero’s responsibility to lead on this issue. It is, as Councilman Johnson noted, a joint responsibility of the council to address budget shortfalls.




Thus, Ms. Marks is incorrect when she asserts that the council either “shirked” its responsibility in this area or resisted consideration of difficult measures. Council has already trimmed the budget and asked for further cuts to be reviewed by council. Reductions should be made in a judicious manner that reflects priorities and the need to protect essential services rather than simply cutting “across the board.”

As for the renewed attacks on employee bonuses, the fact is that last year city employees earned incentives for performing specific additional tasks or reaching goals agreed upon in advance. The contention that we should, as a city, ask for extra performance and then retroactively withdraw the promised incentive of 50 cents or 75 cents an hour is ill advised from a public policy standpoint.

Treating people with dignity and respect means keeping a promise of more pay for above-average performance or reaching specific goals.

This does not mean that city employees are immune from the economic forces that are forcing all of us to adjust; it just means that if we promise pay for performance, the extra quarter or 75 cents an hour should be paid if the performance is delivered.

As a community, I believe we are better off working together to reduce expenditures rather than attacking city employees who made an extra effort in return for an extra $20 or $30 per week.

Mick Ireland

Aspen mayor


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