Dunkirk: Big cash splash begins year

By all accounts, City of Dunkirk Fiscal Affairs Officer Richard Halas has done his job.

“The amounts (Halas) has saved the city alone … have been tremendous,” Michael Michalski said on New Year’s Day in City Hall on the day he and fellow council members took office.

That, however, does not excuse the 67 percent pay increase Halas received from the council on Jan. 1 for moving into a full-time position. Even fellow council member Stacy Szukala noted the position had been part-time in the past due to “budgetary constraints.”

By filling this position, does it mean the city of Dunkirk is out of the woods with its budget problems? Hardly.

Let’s also not forget with the full-time position, the cost of having a fiscal affairs officer is not only $50,000. It is likely to be closer to a total compensation of $68,000 once you consider the other benefits received.

This leads us to one of our main gripes with the public sector perspective. While Halas has saved the city money, isn’t that part of his job and why he was being paid the salary in the first place? If he was not doing his job, then the city would likely have courted someone else.

But that 67 percent pay increase smacks of arrogance and ignorance. What other employee – in the private or public sector in Chautauqua County – is receiving that type of deal?