There’s a quiet, ongoing conversation about the sense of impunity and freedom that the internet’s anonymity grants to individuals. For better or for worse, I have to agree.

When an opinion can be published, or an assertion broadly claimed without any one person’s fingerprints on it, people unleash their deeply seated opinions. 

So when the Press Enterprise ran an unattributed article about “Spiraling Salaries,” the anonymous author was able to make broad and stunning assertions without bothering to offer evidence or support. In this case, the claim was that the Moreno Valley city council was doing its residents a disservice by increasing the pay for the city manager.

Well, I agree with one part of that statement: The city council did increase the pay for the city manager. Sort of.

But what the author doesn’t discuss is that the city council was able to save residents large sums of money by offering one position a higher salary. Only in passing does the author mention that the extra money came from a job that would be eliminated. But what kind of savings does that mean?

In this case, the city manager’s salary will increase to $302,000. That’s an increase from the previous city manager’s base salary of $274,000. In other words, the raise isn’t one that I would turn down if offered.

While that’s a lot of money, it isn’t even half of what the city paid for the city manager and deputy city manager. Between the base pay, benefits, and one-time payouts, the city spent nearly the $677,418 spent on the two positions last year.

By combining the two positions, the city not only found a way to recruit a more talented and experienced city manager by offering increased compensation, they are going to save the city between $273,000 to $373,000 next year alone. When combined with only having to provide pension and health benefits to one employee, the city is passing along huge savings to the taxpayers.

Had it been published with a byline, there could have been a need to offer support or evidence. But that clearly isn’t the case with this article, where the facts conflict with the reality the author hopes to portray.

From the Press Enterprise:

The Moreno Valley City Council sent a clear message about its priorities last week: A city struggling to find the money to keep streetlights burning will now have one of the highest-paid city managers in the state. Yes, local governments need qualified executives. But cities should not be contributing to the mindless inflation of public compensation, particularly at a time of steep deficits and budget cuts.

The council’s decision last week means new City Manager Henry Garcia will earn a base salary of $302,400, but with a benefits package that puts the annual compensation at about $400,000. The new city manager’s base pay appears to be the largest of any city in Riverside County — even higher than in neighboring Riverside, a city with a 50 percent larger population.

Read the full article here.