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Mailbag: Council shouldn't have OKd salary hikes

July 14, 2010

As I finished reading the article regarding the approval of Burbank Water and Power Department executives' salary increases ("Water execs get 11% raises," July 10), I felt compelled to write this letter. As a resident of Burbank, I also got a "raise" — my water bill was raised.

I must ask the question to our City Council members who voted in favor of the salary raise: Are you aware that we are in the midst of an economic meltdown, the effects of which will perhaps still be unknown for several more years to come?

As I look around my neighborhood, I see my neighbors — myself included — either having lost employment, or received salary reductions, or no salary increases, and senior citizens on limited income with increasing health-care costs. This, I believe, holds true in almost every neighborhood in Burbank.

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How did you justify in times like this to inflict a 13.5% rate increase to residents and bestow up to 11% salary increases to executives? It's a benefit to only a few and a detriment to thousands. This is a clear demonstration of blemished priorities in serving the community.

With all due respect to our water department executives and their talents to improve operational efficiencies, I believe their talent would have proven more valuable if they would have been able to keep the same rates while providing the superior service. That's the standard we should be living by during times like this.

Burbank residents who lost jobs or had salaries reduced are also talented and hard-working employees, but corporations they work and worked for did not hesitate to offer them the inferior option. And they had no choice but to accept it.

Let the free-market system decide the worth of executive positions — the system that our Founding Fathers established and we seem to be struggling to uphold. And let's be fair and equitable when comparing ourselves to a city that is six or seven times the size of Burbank.

Utility department executives, please refuse the salary raise and roll back the rate increase, which will prove to this community that you are part of us.

Residents of Burbank, come next election, please remember this irresponsible act of City Council members who voted in favor of this salary increase.

Sam Anam

Burbank

Big raises in this economy aren't right

I am truly outraged by the up to 11% raise for top-level utility officials ("Water execs get 11% raises," July 10).

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