The compensation packages the City of Tacoma provides its employees’ need to be comprehensively reviewed by a panel of impartial experts to ascertain whether they are in line with what cities with similar tax bases are providing their employees.
Compensation includes salary, healthcare, defined benefit plan payments, and post-retirement healthcare.
We need to insist that our elected officials make this evaluation a priority because the likely outcome will be a recommendation of a reduction in total compensation to employees.
We know, for example, that the city’s retirement package was originally modeled after the state’s. The state subsequently recognized that its package was not financially sustainable and was modified to be less generous. Tacoma’s was never modified.
A study of this nature will enable taxpayers to ascertain how vulnerable Tacoma is to following the City of Vallejo, California, into bankruptcy due to excessive compensation.
If our new mayor, members of the City Council and the city manager do not make this comprehensive review a priority, we will have reason for concern that they are placing their needs ahead of those of the citizens of Tacoma.