A 70+% Raise for a Ludington City Official. While Anyone Who Still Has a Job Get Pay Cuts!

I read today's Ludington Daily News, page A8, and saw what I thought to be a misprint.  The usually accurate reporter Kevin Bracizeski wrote that the City Attorney would have their salary (attorney's call this their retainer) increased from $2350/month up to $4000/month.  That seemed like too high of an increase to be true, so I consulted my e-edition of LDN.  The e-article on the meeting had nothing about it, but I found the following on the Monday news:


"...the council is scheduled to consider a new contract with Gockerman, Wilson, Saylor & and Hesslin to provide city attorney services to Ludington. The company was paid the same $2,350 monthly retainer that retired attorney Roger Anderson received, but is now seeking $4,000 a month. Shay recommends the council approve the new contract."


Math isn't my forte, so I had a number-cruncher friend find out that this is over a 70% increase of the City Attorney's wage.  A jump from $28,200 up to $48,000Don't need too much math skills to see that's an increase to the Ludington taxpayer of $20,000.  $20,000!


When the council tripled the taxes on the poor old people at Longfellow Towers, they increased their tax rolls by $20,000.  When they cut the jobs of seven seasonal lifeguards, lifeguards who saved at least three lives last year, they saved just over $20,000 in expenses.  Oh my God!


$20,000 is more than many of our area's households bring in each year, including my own.  A lot of people winced a year and a half ago when several city employees had their salaries raised by single digit percentages, but where is the outrage now.  A 70+% raise, for a non-productive part (sorry, all you attorneys out there) of our government, two days before April 15Anybody got a pulse out there? 



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Gockerman & Assoc. are in Manistee, not Ludington. And yes, that jump is at 70.21%, which is ridiculous for our little town at best. They could hire a local part-time attorney for a fraction, probably around the same as before, $25K or less. Let a bid out for the job, and see who is most fair in price with competence and experience is what the CM is HIRED TO DO!!! Not just cherry-pick his own successor for any price they ask. Those council members and CM talk out of both sides of their mouth so often, makes ones head spin with the atrocities they commit. The message they are sending is: hey, we aint got no money for the Lifeguard program, it's too expensive at $22K/yr., but we do have $48k in money to hire high priced attorneys in case of a lawsuit for a drowning to beat the victims relatives out of a fair settlement. Plus higher insurance premiums for extra liability coverages over $1Million, probably $3Million. Just goes to show, they have absolutely no business accumen at all. Spend money like drunken sailors on stupidities, and skimp on necessary services/jobs to offset it. P.S. Glad to see ya back Edie, hope that computer is working well for ya now too.
Great job, Edie, glad to see your heart still has a pulse, and thanks for saving me the trouble of writing something like this myself. Couldn't have done it any better.

You can get a competent lawyer with a few years experience around here for $100/hour, a paralegal for most mundane tasks for half of that. Yeah, these lawyers are from out of town, and I wouldn't be surprised if they charge an hour for travel down and up from here to fatten their checks. One would think the steady employment of being a City Attorney would get you some sort of reduction in the hourly rate also. Did a little research on the local lawyers lately myself, but here is a site that confirms that the past rate was fair remuneration to the CA.
Wow, I think I should subscribe to the LDN again. I had no idea. Edie and X, thanks for being such good watchdogs.

I don't know all the facts, but it does sound like once again, John Shay is poised to spend taxpayer money without doing his due diligence. And why Manistee? Isn't that thumbing his nose at Ludington's local attorneys, or are there no law firms in Ludington that can handle litigation? Does anyone know what firm handled the litigation for the lawsuit a few years back? An attorney in private practice could probably handle most everyday legal matters that would occur in Ludington. A firm could be consulted as needed if litigation ever came into the picture. Am I off base here? It does appear that this man enjoys spending other people's money. Apparently it's no sweat off his back.
You can subscribe to the online edition for less $ and read it by noon every day. But I enjoy helping our carrier keep his job since he is so faithful and on time with his delivery.
I used to subscribe by mail, but it was prohibitively expensive, and the papers did not arrive regularly. I would go days without one, then I would receive multiple editions and couldn't find the time to read them all. I do miss keeping up to date.
What really bums one out, is that the LDN's editorial board dutifully reports such material (of course, it is also alvailable at the city website), but never expresses an editorial opinion about anything local. I'm old enough to vaguely remember Watergate-era gonzo and investigative journalism.

The only challenges to corruption nowadays are from the opposing party and their media friends; papers like the LDN get high journalism awards for powder-puff feature pieces. The fourth estate is near foreclosure, and LDN is not the worst example-- just hopelessly, politically intermingled with the city government.
The e-edition of the LDN used to be free, at least that's what I have yet. It's very cheap now and convenient, you can read most of the paper from the privacy and convenience of your pc any time you please, 6 days a week. Yes, the LDN did used to have an editorial comment and on the same page a place for public comment. I haven't seen that part lately, so, it may be discontinued now, to be politically correct. In the old days, the editorial did critique Ludington's politicians and their actions, good and bad alike, and called for public comments. WKLA also had a program called Ludington Speaks, a verbal call-in nitely that people could expound their views on. They also discontinued it for political correctness. What's this country coming to, when the publics voice is basically hushed and censored? on radio and papers? well, at least we have our pc's now.....ugh.
Political correctness has made the world somewhat sterile, hasn't it, Aqua? It's expected in many workplaces, so a lot of people have come to accept it as the norm.
The e-edition does allow you to speak out on things, and they do allow you to speak your mind freely most of the time, if your talk is not slanderous, vulgar, or patently false. You do have to register to voice your opinion and look at older archived news, however, and that requires a subscription to the brick-and-mortar LDN (or knowing someone who does and using their subs. number).

I've noticed there has not been a lot of public acknowledgment of Edie's proclamation. On a day like April 15 all taxpayers should be able to look at the info she has provided, verify its truth, and complain to their councilor, mayor, CM, or county and state representatives/officials.


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