Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Council.
My name is Roger Gitlin and I am a resident of the City. It has come to my attention that City Attorney Robert Black has graciously declined his 5% automatic pay raise stipulated in his contract. In stead of making this magnanimous gesture as a stand-along item, I am learning Mr. Black and his
private law firm, is exercising his contractual right to keep in a place the 5% increase for his subordinate, assistant City Attorney Martha Rice. Effective, January 2012, Miss Rice will work at an hourly rate of $182.00 per hour.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Council, this is outrageous A previous City Council in 2008 agreed to this automatic 5% increase for City Attorney services; that’s not your fault. You have to live with this agreement during arguably what is the most trying economic times of our era.
Two weeks ago, I and five other individuals stood before you and answered your impromptu question, Ms Schellong; you asked us what ways to each of us envision raising revenue to keep our City vibrant. Well, Ms. Schellong, I speak for myself when I say for certain I would not tolerate raising Ms Rice’s hourly salary $9 per hour more. This raise only represents a higher rate of hourly pay for most Crescent City residents.
Ms. Westfall, you asked me and the other applicants if I would always do right for Crescent City. Well, Ms Westfall, I understand the City faces a $105,000 shortage and you folks on the Council will have to figure out how to close that gap. I sincerely hope this Council doesn’t look to raise the sewer! water rates or solid waste rates to meet Ms. Rice’s hourly rate of $182.00. I would be very unhappy if this Council goes this route.
Perhaps it is time for the City to hire its own dedicated in-house counsel. I am certain the depressed economy has placed many qualified attorneys in the unemployed ranks and this Council should examine all the contracted fees from private attorney Mr. Black and his underling, Ms. Rice and compare it to hiring a qualified in house City Attorney with no conflict of interests. Perhaps it’s time to consider that option.
In the meantime, Ms. Rice, I feel so empathy for your dire economic state. Afterall, it’s hard making ends meet on $182.00 per hour.