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Today's word on journalism

Friday, May 12, 2006

THE FINAL WORD

PETERSBORO, Utah -- Gloom like a Bulwer-Lyttonesque pall hung heavily over the Cache Valley as word came that the WORD had gone.

"As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire. . . ." No, wait. . . . That's actual Bulwer-Lyttonism. Scratch it.

We conclude, with joy and trumpets and a tankard or two, the 10th season of TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM. What began in 1995 as a professor's strategy to get his students to read email (guess that worked!) now has spread, birdflu-like, far beyond that unwilling audience to self-flagellating WORD volunteers on five-and-a-half continents. But the willing and unwilling alike--the halt and addled and addicted and deluded--will have to get a life and smell the roses, for a while anyway.

Today marks the end of the WORD for this academic season. Even ere the rosy dawn that didth bust o'er this glade, this vale, this happy home. . . . ooops. Avert already, Sir Bulwer, you mangy cur!!!!

See you in the fall. . . TP

Smithfield salaries still lower than those in comparable cities

By Di Lewis

April 14, 2006 | SMITHFIELD -- City employees are paid less than employees in comparably sized cities, said City Manager Jim Gass at Wednesday's City Council meeting.

The meeting set out budget concerns for the council to consider before the tentative budget is set on May 10 and the public hearing takes place on June 14.

"We were all down at 80 percent of what other cities were making at one point and we're slowly and methodically moving up. The city can't afford or justify paying to the level that we are paying right now," Gass said, noting that along with the police force, he would be paid lower than similar positions in other cities.

Employee salaries are determined by a specific formula that sets the time an employee has worked for the city and the time the employee has been at a specific job at 25 percent each of the equation. The other 50 percent is determined by job performance, set by yearly performance reviews. These considerations are then factored into the formula where base and maximum pay are determined by a comparison to similar jobs at comparably-sized cities. Bonuses are given for additional levels of higher education achieved.

High turnover is one factor in why Smithfield employees are receiving lower salaries than their counterparts, Gass said, but that the numbers are catching up and he expects the number to be equal in the next seven or eight years. "I think our employees do more than any other cities in similar positions, though," added Gass.

Dean Clegg, the city recorder, said the formula they base salaries off of is the best method because "it is the same across the board" and people know why their salaries are set where they are at.

The main problems are complaints of favoritism in performance reviews and the numbers from other cities are always from the past year, so the numbers are slightly outdated, Gass said.

A raise in impact fees for residents was the other main topic of discussion. Gass said Smithfield's impact fees are lower than those of most similar cities. The largest increase came in the category of parks and recreation where the fee was raised from $900 to $1,000.

Councilwoman Kris Monson said, "I think we're allowing so many homes to come into Smithfield that we should go up to at least $1,100 to provide green spaces for these kids to play in to make up for what we're taking away."

"That's quite a jump," said Councilman Dennis Watkins. He said the current proposed raise of 11 percent is a lot of money and if the money isn't spent within seven years it has to be rebated. Watkins said the added fee raise would be too high.

Culinary water impact fees will also be going up. A public hearing for the impact fees is set for May 10.

NW
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