Entries Tagged 'Employment' ↓

The $15 an hour Minimum Wage is a Joke!

While some may be surprised that I do not support it, it is for other reasons. It should be $18-20 an hour and it should take affect within two years with four 6-month steps. There should also be an automatic inflationary COLA every year.

If they pass a Federal $15 an hour minimum wage, it won’t take fully affect until 2025. What’s the point?!

There is also a lot of misinformation out there about how this will kill businesses and cause mass unemployment. Not the case, when states have raised their minimum wages they did see an initial hike in unemployment, but in low wage jobs, after a year they actually saw economic growth and the GDP in the state rising. Believe it or not, when you pay people more, they spend more, and it helps the economy. What an amazing concept!

You also need to understand that this only affects large businesses who participate in interstate and international commerce. Like Walmart or Amazon. Ma an Pa’s Ice Cream Parlor in Bumf’ck Indiana won’t have to pay those wages.

And now for the obvious reasons this is the right thing to do. The large corporations who can afford an $18 an hour minimum wage, CAN AFFORD THE WAGE. They make Billions while paying very little Federal income taxes then turnaround and expect the very taxpayers who do pay their taxes (us) to subsidize their low-wage workers in the form of Medicade, SNAP and and housing. It was once estimated that because of the low wages Walmart pays its workers, EACH store costs taxpayers $1 million a year in worker subsidies. Why not just pay workers a living wage?

The upside is a boon in economic growth because instead of the top 1% sitting on all the wealth in our country, the workers would be spending it!

I guess I have never understood the argument that we need to starve workers while the top 1% sit on loads of money they will never be able to spend. It’s NOT a socialistic concept, it’s just good economics.

City of Sioux Falls 2021 Salaries

I just started digging into this, but here are my first impressions.

DOC LINK

LINK TO PAST SALARIES

Once again the highest paid city employee, the head doc over at Falls Community Health (where you currently can’t receive a Covid vaccination) received a $10,000.00 a year raise. She now makes around $256K. I guess I shouldn’t complain, she got more last year with a $18,000.00 raise.

But what is more interesting is how a 3 year employee has garnered a $13,624.00 raise over two years. Shawn Pritchett the finance director was making $166,316.00 when hired, the following year (2020) he was making $171,940.00 and now is getting paid $179,940.00.

Don’t get me wrong, it is an important position, but first off what did he do to deserve this kind of raise, and secondly, while he is the chief accountant for the city he has 29 minions working for him. He isn’t an accountant, he’s a manager and he should get manager pay.

One of my conservative friends said it best to me awhile back and again today when we were discussing this topic, “No one should make more than the mayor.” Mayor TenHaken’s current pay as chief administrator and manager of the city and employees is $130K a year. Think about that.

There was also this little change up. TenHaken eliminated the GIS department and now is calling them the Civic Analytics department;

The manager got a $5k raise and one of her minions got a $4K raise. But why the name change? And what are they doing?

What amazes me the most is that in the middle of an economic downturn in which the city lost tax revenue last year we would be giving these enormous raises while the average city employee got a whopping 1% raise.

City of Sioux Falls hires wanted criminal

Trust me, after reading about all the BS going on in our state yesterday it would be easy to miss this;

Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office has issued a news release concerning the arrest of 35-year-old Josheua King for a warrant issued by Sand Bernadino County, California:

On 02/17/2021, the Sioux Falls Area Fugitive Task Force arrested Josheua Alan King, 35 years old, on an arrest warrant issued by San Bernardino County, California in 2018 for the following offenses:
4 counts of Lewd and Lascivious Acts with a Minor
1 count of Lewd and Lascivious Acts with a Child of 14 or 15yrs of age

Josheua King was arrested at the Midco Aquatic Center in Sioux Falls where he was a part time employee. Prior to his arrest, Mr. King was also employed at Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls.

Ok, a couple of things to unpack here. Does the city do a criminal background check before hiring people to work around our youth? Heck, even a simple criminal background check would have told us he had a warrant out for his arrest, for around 2 years. If you search the city salaries, Mr. King is listed in the 2021 wages report as making $14 an hour as Midco Maintenance, in the 2020 wages report he is NOT listed, so that tells us he was hired last year something long AFTER the warrant was issued.

Thank goodness the SFPD apparently got a tip hopefully before he committed any crimes at the MIDCO.

I can’t speak for the hospital he was employed at, they are a private entity, but I am concerned they didn’t check his background either.

What is also disheartening wasn’t like he had a previous record that he was already convicted on and time served, he had an ACTIVE WARRANT!

I will be honest with you that I have never had a lot of confidence in our HR department, they have 4 people in the office that make over six-figures yet they don’t do simple background checks!? There needs to be a full outside investigation on how something like this happens. The council, while normally doesn’t get involved in the Mayor’s business, when the mayor and his administration does NOT do their jobs they need to intervene. If I was them I would pass a resolution to audit the HR department.

If I were a parent of young children that took my kids to the MIDCO I would be outraged. We need to get to the bottom of this before something like this happens again.

Folks, these are the things that happen when we don’t have open and transparent government! Apparently it is so bad they are even hiding things internally. WOW!

Will Amazon actually drive wages down?

Remember the promise of the economic impact we were promised from the Events Center? It has actually been a drain on taxpayers and most of the profits made at the facility go straight out of town to the performers and promoters.

Will Amazon have the same effect on wages in a town already with low wages in unskilled labor and very little unions;

A Bloomberg analysis of government labor statistics reveals that in community after community where Amazon sets up shop, warehouse wages tend to fall.  In 68 counties where Amazon has opened one of its largest facilities, average industry compensation slips by more than 6% during the facility’s first two years, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In many cases, Amazon quickly becomes the largest logistics player in these counties, so its size and lower pay likely pull down the average. Among economists, there’s a debate about whether the company is creating a kind of monopsony, where there’s only one buyer—or in this case one employer.

While Amazon’s arrival coincides with rising pay in some southern and low-wage precincts, the opposite is true in wealthier parts of the country, including the northeast and Midwest. Six years ago, before the company opened a giant fulfillment center in Robbinsville, New Jersey, warehouse workers made $24 an hour on average, according to BLS data. Last year the average hourly wage slipped to $17.50.

I have warned people that once Amazon opens it’s warehouse in Sioux Falls you will see the job market turn upside down, overnight. We should be careful what we wish for.

Mayor TenHaken is playing Secret Boss

Instead of doing other people’s jobs, maybe he needs to spend a little time in city hall doing his job? I would really like to see him help the guys in Water Reclamation, oh that’s right, he’s only good at spreading manure, not cleaning it up.

What are the Benefits of Amazon coming to Sioux Falls?

As we have known for several years, Amazon was looking to put a distribution site in our area, it was only a matter of time. We also know, like most businesses that move here, they want handouts, and if there is one thing we love in Sioux Falls and South Dakota is giving out massive amounts of corporate welfare. Flopdation Park has already received around $50 million for infrastructure from the taxpayers. Amazon has received a Federal Grant and now the SF Development Foundation pretty much wants an open ended TIF to attract more businesses. Their argument is always the same, growth for growth’s sake (which I have never understood, because growth only drives up the prices of affordable housing due to infrastructure and public education costs) and JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!

So let’s look at the kind of jobs Amazon supplies. Most workers will be pickers that make around $15 to start. So where will Amazon get these workers? I have argued that they will suck from other businesses in town that pay less (and there is quite a few of them) and once that bleeding is done, people will start moving here. I also believe many workers at Smithfield will try to move over to Amazon. So in essence, Amazon will not be depending solely on our current workforce, they will have to do a lot of transfers.

Another reason I think it will be hard for Amazon to fulfill their worker needs is because of a very difficult qualification process, like background checks, drug tests and physical fitness. It will also be interesting to hear what Amazon’s policy on marijuana use (outside of the work place) will be if it becomes legal in our state.

But all of those things aside I think there are a few benefits to bringing Amazon here. First off, they will support many other businesses in town, maybe even create some new ones. I also believe once they start stealing workers from local businesses, it may force some of them to raise their wages to keep people.

Amazon coming to town will have some benefits, but I often am confused by Sioux Falls’ mantra ‘Growth for Growth’s Sake’. Which just ends up costing taxpayers more in infrastructure and public safety and public education while the fat cats get their TIF’s, tax breaks and government grants. Let’s face it, Sioux Falls has just turned into a welfare state for the rich, which is no surprise when it is so cheap for them to buy the city council and mayor’s office.

Let’s Run Mayor TenHaken’s Career Numbers

So Mayor Multi-Task was bragging about this story about Sioux Falls being a great place to start a career. Let’s assume you are single, let’s break down the numbers;

$35,942 Yearly Salary

Minus Taxes (30%)

$25,159

Minus Rent ($811 per month, $9,732)

$15,427

Minus Monthly Expenses

Groc – $200 (only food prepared and ate at home)

Health – $250 (premium)

Utilities – $200 (includes phone)

Car/Transporation – $600 (includes gas/ins/car payment)

-$1,250 per month

Left over per month $35.

Now I will admit that if you own your car, that could save you around $400 a month, but you also have to have maintenance and repairs, gas and insurance.

Basically you would have $35 per month left over for investments, savings, hospitality/entertainment, student loans, health insurance deductible and out of pocket expenses, etc. Sorry, but $35 dollars doesn’t even come close to covering these other expenses. This is why many young single people (and families) have multiple jobs, because they just can’t make it off of $35K a year and pay rent.

I have often felt that rent increases in Sioux Falls have far exceeded wage increases and the city council seriously needs to look at rent controls. But we also need to get wages up in this town. I wonder if Paul would like to live off of $35K a year? Maybe he is hinting we need to change the Mayor’s salary?

Local Union Speaks Out about Smithfield’s treatment of workers

SF Biz Q&A with SD Department of Labor Sec. Marcia Hultman

Is it time for the City of Sioux Falls to cut some fat?

I have noticed something over the last few weeks. Seems the city is running just fine with all the city’s pencil pushers (working?) from home. Why is that? We all know why.

Don’t get me wrong, I have seen the police, fire, landfill, council staff, water, streets, parks and public works employees still hard at it. There was even a pothole crew on my street last week. They have to work to help maintain the city’s infrastructure. Thank You!

But what about all the pencil pushers and mostly the mid management? Not a peep. Yet somehow magically our city is still running just fine.

Even at the city council meeting (I think it was Stehly) asked how we could get the furloughed city employees doing something during this crisis. You could have heard a pin drop.

I have argued for years that the city has too many of ‘these’ people. But it’s hard to layoff civil service employees and mid management. But there is a tool they can use to do it effectively and legally; the budget. If the money doesn’t exist to pay salaries, employees have to be cut. It happens all the time in the private sector.

If the city is facing uncertain tax collection they do have the authority to lay off city employees. If the 1st penny (where salaries come from) is significantly less, the council has the power to cut the operations budget which would force the mayor to cut employees.

The first place I would start is mid management. I think our city has way to many of these folks. We pay our directors 6 figures a year, why can’t they be management? Why do they need all of these in between people? I would also start with non resident employees. I have stated for years, if you don’t contribute to Sioux Falls tax base, why should the residents of this city pay your salary, especially if you are management? We have several directors that don’t live in our city or even in our state. It’s ludicrous.

I think once we cut a majority of unneeded management, we may not have to cut the lower end pencil pushers in the city, but I still think many of them need to go to.

I had a guy a couple of years ago who worked in one of these positions for the city, but told me he quit after a few months. He told me that management told him he was too efficient and over achieving too much and basically making his manager look bad.

While I don’t want to see anyone lose their job, the city may be in some dire straits in the next couple of years, and we may have no choice but to cut jobs and we can do it pretty painlessly. But like I said, I would start at the top and work down. The irony is while saving us millions, we may never even see the difference in service. I have argued for a long time that government should only use our taxes for ‘needs’ and not ‘wants’. They may have no choice but to do that.