Two vastly different approaches to spending your money

Interesting move initiated by Lorie Smith to forego her 2009-2010 City Council salary. It won’t be easy personally for Smith or Nancy Dowdy, who joined Smith Friday in agreeing to return her take-home salary of $5,100 for fiscal-year ’09-’10 to city taxpayers, but it’s the right thing to do given the tenor of the times.

“As I look around to see Invista employees being laid off and some taking significant cuts in pay, newspapers furloughing employees, businesses closing such as Valley Building Supply and our city employees sacrificing, I choose to lead by example,” Smith said.

Vice Mayor Frank Lucente is setting another example. After offering backhanded praise for Smith and Dowdy for their actions, he said he would donate his salary to charity, as he said he has done since being appointed to City Council in 2005. That tidbit from Lucente is not independently verified.

Lucente said the donation of his $5,100 to charity would go to help offset some of the suggested reductions in contributions from the city to local nonprofits in City Manager Mike Hamp’s proposed 2009-2010 budget. Which is interesting rhetoric coming from Lucente, who has long bemoaned the use of city money to go to local charitable and public-private endeavors, except of course his own pet project, the Boys and Girls Club, which has paradoxically escaped his budget knife despite his otherwise solid philosophical and ideological reservations.

So now apparently Lucente is all for city money going to nonprofits, since he’d rather give the tax dollars that you’re giving him to serve you on City Council to some group or groups that the city manager and ostensibly City Council feel can make do without the extra largesse or simply can’t be justified for extra public support given the city’s many other service priorities. Remember that one the next time Lucente talks until he’s blue in the face about how libertarian he wants you to believe he is.

And the topper here is he wants you to know he’s doing it, too, or at least that he says he’s going to do it, and that he’s done it, or at least that he says he’s done it. We can imagine, then, that it’s no longer out of the goodness of his heart, whatever he’s done and is going to do. It’s politics, nothing more, nothing less.

The same could be said for Smith and Dowdy, sure, except when you consider in both of their cases that they don’t come from the deep pockets that the, ahem, hot-dog magnate comes from.

“This is a decision that may cause hardship for my family,” said Smith, whose husband, Bert, works in the Public Works Department, and who herself does not work outside the home in large part to care for a special-needs child who needs around-the-clock care, “but it is one that we feel is appropriate,” Smith said.

“I do not serve this community for the money. However, if I can commit my salary to buy uniforms, aid in training our first-response providers or even offset the smallest of revenue losses, it is my wish to do so,” Smith said.

 

– Story by Chris Graham


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