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Leading Through Shared Sacrifice

Like many cities and towns across the United States, Juneau is facing a budget crunch. The recession and the housing crash have limited the taxes available to our borough (county equivalent). So our city manager prepared a budget plan that included a request for wage concession from the city employees union.

This in and of itself wouldn’t be worth writing about. Times are hard all over, so what? What I want to highlight here is that while many civic leaders across the country are demanding cuts from their employees who are already stretched thin, the mayors and city managers around the country usually don’t take a hit themselves.

That’s not the case this year in Juneau. The budget plan presented by City Manager Rod Swope includes a two week unpaid furlough for himself and the assistant city manager. I think this is a good leadership move. It signals how serious Mr. Swope thinks the budget situation is and indicates that Mr. Swope is willing to make similar sacrifices that he is asking of Juneau city workers. I salute his willingness to share the suffering of his workers and thought more people should know about it.

If you live outside of Juneau and your local government leaders are doing something similar, I’d love to hear about it.

Reference:

Juneau sends city employees new pay offer: City requests union defer scheduled pay raise for one year instead of forgoing it altogether
Juneau Empire, December 31, 2009
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