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How Much Does Watching Other People Work Pay? Apparently $175,000


Dave Zabell is the new city manager for Pasco. How much does that job pay? The city council unanimously agreed to $175,000 a year (even though the job was advertised for $165,000). On top of that, he gets a $15,000 relocation allotment and $500 a month car allowance. If the city lets him go, his golden parachute includes a six-month severance package. Wow, that’s a lot of money for someone who watches other people work.

The services a city provides are managed by the heads of each department: roads, parks and rec., police, fire, etc. The city council is supposed to provide the vision and goals for the city. What does a city manager do? He, uh, manages, uh, the managers.

We recently witnessed a county manager embezzle close to a million dollars from the county over several years. Obviously he needed more management!

And democracy needs executives to get stuff done while elected officials bicker and pose.

But what exactly is getting done for $175,000 a year?

If he were an attorney, he’d be keeping us out of court and winning lawsuits. If he were a doctor he’d be treating patients and keeping the clinic going. If he were chief engineer he’d be designing roads and bridges.

But a city manager manages the people managing the people supervising the workers mowing lawns, paving streets, patrolling neighborhoods, inspecting buildings and keeping the city functioning.

If that level of bureaucracy is necessary (and it might be), I want to know how we gauge success to the tune of $175,000. How do we know he’s worth that extra $10,000 we weren’t even offering?


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