- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 4, 2003


   City Administrator John A. Koskinen said yesterday that he will not undertake a salary review of the D.C. government’s $100,000-a-year workers, seemingly contradicting a promise by Mayor Anthony A. Williams last week.
   “Over time, the Office of Personnel has conducted salary surveys, and we don’t think we are paying people too much,” Mr. Koskinen said. Instead, he said, a review will be made to determine “how many people we have working and what it is that they are doing.”
   D.C. Council member Kathy Patterson said she was surprised to learn that a review of salaries would not take place.
   “The mayor made a commitment to review the salaries,” said Mrs. Patterson, Ward 3 Democrat. “This is very different from everything that’s been discussed and is not what I understood was going to happen. We were told they were going to look at the salaries.”
   Mr. Williams told The Washington Times last week that he and council members would review spending “from contracts to staffing” by three city agencies under his control to see whether they could find places to cut to offset the six-figure salaries. He directed Mr. Koskinen to oversee the review.
   The agencies that were to be reviewed are the departments of Health, Mental Health and Human Services.
   “We are committed down the road to saving some money,” Mr. Williams told The Times on April 21.
   Mr. Koskinen yesterday said a review of those agencies, which he called a “manpower analysis,” would take place after the city’s budget is settled, but salaries would not be considered.
   “We are not going to be looking at salaries,” he said.
   Mrs. Patterson said: “If they are not going to be looking at the issue of salary, then they are not doing a thorough job.”
   Tony Bullock, spokesman for Mr. Williams, said the review’s focus does not contradict the mayor’s earlier comments, saying the matter is a semantic disagreement that would be settled during the review.
   “You can’t do a manpower analysis without looking at the salaries,” Mr. Bullock said. “There is nothing magical about that $100,000 figure, because if someone is making $110,000 and we don’t need them, we should get rid of them. Likewise, if someone is making $90,000 and we don’t need them, we should get rid of them.”
   “There are plenty of people who are making half that who deserve more, and there are people that are making more than that who deserve less,” Mr. Bullock said.
   The Washington Times first reported last week that the District has many more city workers earning $100,000 salaries than Chicago, which is far larger, and 10 times more than Baltimore, a city with a similarly sized population.
   With its 572,000 residents, the District has 156 more city workers receiving salaries above $100,000 than does Chicago, which has almost 3 million people. Baltimore has a population of 651,000.
   Of the District’s 34,000 city employees, 575 earn $100,000 or more annually — up from 301 in 1999, when Mr. Williams first took office.
   Mr. Koskinen said a schedule had not yet been established for the review, saying it depends on the outcome of budget negotiations between the mayor’s office and the council. City officials are trying to contend with a $323 million budget deficit.
   “I have no idea what type of timeline we would be looking at, because it’s the type of thing that typically you would receive some outside assistance on,” he said. “We will start that after the budget gets settled.”
   The omission of a city salary review angered council member Adrian M. Fenty, who said city salaries have gotten out of hand.
   “It is just disgraceful that we are so wasteful with these high salaries,” said Mr. Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat. “I think we need to review them.”
   A D.C. Department of Personnel payroll list obtained by The Times shows that 15 of the city’s highest-paid workers earn more than the mayor, including the head of the sports commission, the president of the city university, the public schools superintendent and the chief financial officer.
   Mr. Williams is paid $142,000 a year, and D.C. Council members receive at least $92,000 annually.
   Robert D. Goldwater, president of the Sports and Entertainment Commission, is the city’s highest-paid employee, with an annual salary of $275,000. He manages RFK Stadium and the D.C. Armory and is tasked with attracting events to the city.
   In an interview with The Times published yesterday, Mr. Goldwater defended his salary, saying that anyone who takes issue with it should address concerns to the commission that hired him.
   “I’ve been doing this for 29 years, and I’m proud of my career to date,” he said. “But it should be noted that my salary does not affect the city budget in any way.”
   The sports commission, an 11-member board appointed largely by the mayor, oversees Mr. Goldwater and his 58-person staff. The commission’s budget, funded by revenue from events at RFK Stadium and the D.C. Armory, will be about $11 million this year, based on early projections.
   The commission has been running a deficit since 2001, however, as Mr. Goldwater dipped into cash reserves to pay for stepped-up efforts to attract Major League Baseball, renovate RFK and attract the Olympics, among other projects.
   William L. Pollard, president of the University of the District of Columbia, is No. 2, with a salary of $200,000. His salary compares favorably to those of chief executives of universities with enrollments three to five times larger than UDC’s 5,000 students.
   Mr. Pollard is followed by Paul L. Vance, superintendent of D.C. public schools, who makes $175,000. The fourth-highest salary is that of Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi, at $171,900.
   

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