ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo has far too many high-paid public officials

I was struck by The News articles on the second deputy mayor and the recently dismissed deputy fire commissioner. As has often been reported, Buffalo is ranked as the third-poorest large city in the entire United States, yet we seem to be able to support two deputy mayors and deputy fire commissioners with salaries in excess of $100,000.

I wouldn’t mind if Mayor Byron Brown and his two deputies were on the road regularly seeking to bring new companies and jobs to Buffalo, but I doubt if they are. Does it really take a mayor and two deputies to administer and manage a poor city with a declining population and a median salary at or near the poverty level? In addition to all of the well-paid department heads already in place? And why such high salaries?

It’s not supply and demand that is driving this. We are not competing with other cities for their expertise. It would make a lot more sense if all public salaries were capped at a percentage of the average citizens’ salaries that support these positions. In some cases, these salaries exceed four or five times the average of our citizens. Citizens earning a salary of $30,000 to $40,000 per year or those using public assistance to support their poverty-level incomes should not have to support two deputy mayors or multiple deputy fire and police commissioners earning in excess of $100,000.

It’s a tale of two cities – the high-level public officials and the struggling low- and middle-classes. And this doesn’t even take into account the generous fringe benefits, including pensions large enough to support retirements at an early age and second homes in Florida.

I would love to see a report comparing per capita statistics for cities, measuring the number of public employees earning in excess of $100,000 per year to the population size and salaries of its citizens. On second thought, maybe I wouldn’t.

Lou Speranza

Hamburg