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Editorial: A well-deserved payment for city workers

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Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014 12:00 am

Last month, the Lodi City Council granted employees a one-time payment that totaled about $650,000.

This bonus acknowledges that an improving economy and increasing tax revenues have improved the city’s financial health.

City Hall watchdog Ed Miller criticized the council for making the decision behind closed doors.

We think he has a point there. A generalized decision about pay and the state of city coffers is not a matter of privacy. Just because this is a “personnel issue” doesn’t mean the council was required to meet in secret. Why miss a chance to let the public in on this decision?

The bonus itself strikes us as wise, because it was not a raise.

A raise is effectively a promise about the future. That’s the point at which the next wage talks begin. It’s hard to go backwards in labor negotiations.

A one-time bonus is adjustable according to circumstances.

Present circumstances are not very certain. Critics are right when they say we’re experiencing neither a sustained nor robust turn-around.

But city employees have made pay concessions during the Great Recession — a rare and welcome sacrifice in tough times.

City Councilwoman JoAnne Mounce told us this week that she doesn’t like the term “bonus.” She prefers the term “temporary return of concessions.”

We would call this one-time payment “prudent” and move on, hoping for the best in the year ahead.

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