Carey to trim pay to top aides: Mayor says fiscal policy back in focus

Posted: Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dave Carey announced Tuesday that he would be lowering the salaries of the top two positions in his administration.

Carey said his next chief of staff and his special assistant would have their salaries decreased to the lowest amount allowed. Carey released a written copy of his statements to the Clarion Tuesday. Those statements were also heard on KSRM's "Sound Off."

"I have correctly been criticized for the salaries I set for those working in the mayor's office. I am back on focus," Carey said.

Carey said his next chief of staff will earn $79,560. Chief of Staff Hugh Chumley, who submitted his resignation last week, currently earns $91,000.

Carey's special assistant, Susan Wilcox, will see her position's pay lowered from $87,081 to $74,345.

"These are the correct salaries that a fiscal conservative should set in today's harsh economic reality," Carey said.

Carey raised each position's pay scale by $20,000 during last year's budget cycle, citing extra responsibilities as the reason. After facing criticism over the pay increases, Carey reduced the salaries in November.

The mayor also increased the pay scale of a few other borough positions during last year's budget cycle. In a conversation with the Clarion Tuesday, Carey said the latest pay decreases were administered to employees who have constant contact with the mayor.

"Those two work directly in my office," Carey said.

Carey said he would present all salaries that he has direct control over to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly as he prepares for the fiscal year 2011. Some assembly members have criticized Carey as being opaque during budget discussions.

"The premise that the assembly had no idea about salaries is in direct contradiction to the fact the assembly sets the range for every salary," Carey said. "The truth does not really matter if the perception is otherwise.

"I will present each and every salary to the assembly for their line-item vote. And, the public will be more clearly informed."

Andrew Waite can be reached at andrew.waite@peninsulaclarion.com.



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