comments

Wages presented, animals barred

Website list will include elected officials
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
-A +A
Auburnites will now be able to see the wages for every city employee, including elected officials. In a 5-0 vote at Monday night’s City Council meeting, council members approved putting information regarding city employee wages and benefits on the city’s website. Councilman Kevin Hanley said Tuesday after controversies in cities like Bell, residents deserve to know how much city employees make. “I think that the wave of the future for all levels of government … is to be more transparent and accountable in what we do,” Hanley said. “That includes wages and benefits, and that includes the services we provide for the money taxpayers give us. Sometimes government gets too insulated and forgets they are supposed to serve the average resident, so we are trying to break that.” The amounts will be listed by classification on the website, not by specific names. Whenever wages and benefits are updated after union negotiations, the information will also be updated, Hanley said. The city’s website is auburn.ca.gov. Hanley said, for example, someone who wants to know a police officer’s wage can go on the site, see the wages, see the officer’s benefits, and see the total amount of money that job classification is making. “If a resident of Auburn wants to know, they can just click online and make a judgment of that,” Hanley said. A new ordinance barring animals from public buildings was also passed with a 5-0 vote, Hanley said. The ordinance only includes city buildings, not private businesses. Service dogs and police dogs are excluded, Hanley said. Hanley said Councilman Dr. Bill Kirby proposed the ordinance. The ordinance stemmed from past City Council meetings where breed-specific regulations were discussed and some audience members brought their dogs, Hanley said. “Quite a few people brought their dogs into council chambers,” he said. “Some of us, myself included, think when you bring an animal into a public building, especially a legislative session, you cause a distraction.” Hanley said a similar ordinance did not exist previously. “It was not a good situation,” he said. “It was hard to believe we didn’t have an ordinance on the books.” Auburn resident Ineke Vanderlinden said she thinks the wage listings on the city’s website would be positive because of the recent controversy surrounding manager wages and benefits. “It might be a good thing so we are aware of it and maybe we can do something about it (if wages are too high),” Vanderlinden said. Hanley said the council also asked the Streetscape History and Art Advisory Committee to consider a different way to represent Central Square founders. According to Councilman Keith Nesbitt the original plan was to engrave the names of 10 founders on 10 tiles installed on the corner of High Street and Lincoln Way. The 10 names were approved, but not the tiles, Nesbitt said. “They kind of sent it back to us to rethink how we might (represent the founders in the Square),” Nesbitt said. “Basically, they don’t have a problem with the 10 names … but we are back to the drawing board.” Some of the founders include William Arthur, who built the Arthur Building on Lincoln Way, Ella and William Waddle, proprietors of Waddle Butcher Stores in Old Town and Central Square and Allen Fellows, an architect who designed the Masonic Hall and the Hink Block Auburn and Lincoln Carnegie libraries. Pilot Hill resident Sandra Fleharty said she disagrees with the new animal ordinance. “I don’t think it’s a good ordinance because a lot of people have the little tiny dogs, and they are like their children, and they tend to go everywhere with them,” Fleharty said. Vanderlinden said she also thought the ordinance was a bad idea. “I’m an animal lover, and I think we should be responsible for our actions,” she said. “As far as public places and city places … (people) should be able to take their dogs (there).” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com