It’s only (your) money (June 2, 2015)

What could you do with $1.2 million a year? The mind boggles, doesn’t it? With so many in need here and around the world, you could really make a difference.

Or, you could almost afford to hire the five highest-paid employees for the Town of Apple Valley, population 70,000.

It used to be said that one of the surest ways of becoming a millionaire was to work as a commercial airline pilot. Now, all you have to do is get the right job with the TOAV.

The TOAV pays our town manager in excess of $300,000 per year, with two of our assistant town managers making better than $235,000, but even the town clerk and the woman who runs the animal shelter pull down nearly $200K per year. Maybe I’ve just always been an under-achiever, but still it seems odd to note that the supervisor for the animal shelter makes more in benefits alone each year than I did in salary and benefits in my best-earning year ever, and I used to be president of a multi-million dollar non-profit corporation. I wondered if maybe she had her own TV show or was a celebrity of some sort, but it took nearly five minutes of searching on the TOAV website even to discover her name. Who needs fame, though, when you have fortune? Her taxpayer-guaranteed pension should keep her in kibbles and bits, I would think. (See the full list of salaries and benefits here .)

So here’s the issue:

TOAV tells us that once it completes its hostile takeover of Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company, it’s going to use town employees to run the water service. You know, in the place of those private-sector workers who are currently doing a great job running Ranchos while earning market-driven wages.

If you’re wondering how replacing competitively-priced workers with overpaid members of the new oligarchy is going to allow TOAV to cut costs, join the club.

All I know is that when a private-sector company sets a pay rate, there are a lot of eyes watching to make certain that pay rate is appropriate. When the public sector sets a pay rate, taxpayers literally don’t have a seat at the table. Those decisions are made by persons who almost certainly don’t have your interests at heart.

Think about that, while you’re thinking about who you want to have operating your water service.

Greg Raven is Co-Chair of Apple Valley Citizens for Government Accountability, and is concerned about quality of life issues.