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Take a closer look at agencies and their staff salaries

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Editor,

Regarding your recent column, “Budget battle is only just beginning:”

Some of the very points you make in complaining about the proposed city budget could be made about various arts, cultural and social service agencies themselves. Many of the agencies’ executives receive what some would consider excessive salaries.

In several areas, multiple agencies provide overlapping services. One could argue that some have staffs that are larger than necessary. These agencies and their boards have a fiduciary responsibility to their donors and grantors to operate in an efficient and cost-effective manner. 

In the case of some of the agencies, one can conclude that their budgets can easily absorb the proposed cuts.  

For example, I find it hard to have sympathy for Second Harvest being cut $9,000. Their total budget is over $6 million and they will still receive something like $30,000 from the city.

The total compensation of Second Harvest’s 55 person staff exceeds $1.2 million. My guess is they will survive the proposed cut.

In a more balanced editorial, you could mention salaries and other organizational information about the agencies being cut. Maybe you could start with a review of the Savannah Music Festival and their director’s salary. 

It would help to get a proper perspective if the cuts were to be presented as a percentage of the agency’s total budget. It would also be fair to note what the city’s contribution will be after the proposed cuts.

Lastly, I thought your comments about the separation package for Ms. Cutter were a little over the top. Long-term employees receive these types of benefits all the time.

She did an excellent job taking over the mess created by the previous city manager and deserved what is essentially a performance bonus. As a percentage of the total city budget the amount is insignificant.

Neil Johnson

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