Tag Archives: Service Employees International Union

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Tuesday March 29, 2011

Follow-up to Koch profile. A few pieces have provided amplification and commentary on the Weekly Standard profile of Charles and David Koch, notably Politico and Jennifer Rubin in The Washington Post. … Has a secret conspiracy been uncovered by Politico? Groups identified as lined up against the Kochs include a non-profit group titled Brave New Films, Greenpeace, Public Citizen, Common Cause, Ruckus Society, AFSCME (an arm of AFL-CIO), Service Employees International Union, and Center for American Progress with its attack blog ThinkProgress. Asks Post’s Rubin: “[a conspiracy] not of the Kochs but of the left-leaning groups that have mounted a campaign against them. … In other words, groups that purport to be nonpartisan are actually involved in a coordinated effort to smear the Kochs.” … Rubin notes the commonality shared between many of these groups: they receive millions from “foundations controlled by or linked to Soros,” referring to left-wing cause financier and anti-capitalist George Soros. … And are the Koch donations overly generous? Writes Rubin: “Left unsaid in all of this is the degree to which the Kochs’ political giving has been exaggerated. How much do they give? Over the last 20 years, about $11 million. Not chump change for you and me, but kind of stingy actually for billionaires whom the left would have us believe are taking over the American political system. By way of comparison, Duke Energy — the third-largest nuclear power plant operator — has been a major donor to Democrats, including the president. That would be the same Duke Energy that just forked over a $10 million line of credit for a single purpose — the 2101 Democratic Convention. Just the sort of thing Common Cause would be concerned about. After the next conference call with the other members of the Soros gang, I’m sure it’ll get right on it.” … Both articles are worth reading.

The decline of Detroit: a lesson for Wichita? William McGurn in The Wall Street Journal: “Most Americans did not need to be told that Detroit is in a bad way, and has been for some time. Americans know all about white flight, greedy unions and arrogant auto executives. The recent census numbers, however, put an exclamation mark on a cold fact: A once-great American city today repels people of talent and ambition.” How did this happen? McGurn quotes Rev. Robert A. Sirico: “Detroit is a classic example of how a culture that was legendary for enterprise and innovation was slowly eroded by toxic politicization from the 1960s on.” … Later McGurn asks “What happened to this Detroit? In many ways the answer is liberal politics and expanding government.” … Could this happen to Wichita? Our population is not declining. But Wichita has been said to be more dependent on one industry (aircraft manufacturing) than Detroit was on automobile manufacturing. And Wichita government is becoming more liberal — notwithstanding the protests of several self-styled conservative city council members who will soon be leaving office. Increasingly business looks to city hall rather than markets for inspiration and financing. Our mayor, city council members, and bureaucrats want more “tools in the toolbox” for intervening in the economy. … Yes, the devastation seen in Detroit could happen here.

Moran to vote “no” on debt ceiling. United States Senator Jerry Moran, a newly-elected Kansas Republican, has informed President Obama that he won’t vote for an increase in the national debt ceiling. Wrote Moran: “Americans are looking for leadership in Washington to confront the problems of today, not push them off on future generations. To date, you have provided little or no leadership on what I believe to be the most important issue facing our nation — our national debt. With no indication that your willingness to lead will change, I want to inform you I will vote “no” on your request to raise the debt ceiling.” The entire letter from Moran is at I will vote “No.”

Golden geese on the move. Thomas Sowell: “The latest published data from the 2010 census show how people are moving from place to place within the United States. In general, people are voting with their feet against places where the liberal, welfare-state policies favored by the intelligentsia are most deeply entrenched.” Sowell notes that blacks, especially those young and educated, are moving to the South and suburbs. “Among blacks who moved, the proportions who were in their prime — from 20 to 40 years of age — were greater than in the black population at large, and college degrees were more common among them than in the black population at large. In short, with blacks, as with other racial or ethnic groups, those with better prospects are leaving the states that are repelling their most productive citizens in general with liberal policies.” Detroit, he writes is “the most striking example of a once-thriving city ruined by years of liberal social policies.” Finally, a lesson for all states, including Kansas: “Treating businesses and affluent people as prey, rather than assets, often pays off politically in the short run — and elections are held in the short run. Killing the goose that lays the golden egg is a viable political strategy.” (Mass Migration Of America’s Golden Geese.) The migration statistics concerning Kansas are not favorable, although some are trending in a better direction.

Legislators will have more access to SRS case files. Kansas Health Institute News Service reports” “Parents whose children have become state wards now have the option of signing a one-page form that gives state legislators unrestricted access to information in their family’s case file.” Previously legislators had access to the information, but “social workers decided what information from the file would be shared. And legislators were not given documents or copies from the files but verbal briefings.” Some are concerned that information harmful to children will be made public.

Wichita unemployment rate improving. Writes Friends University finance professor and Mammon Among Friends blogger, Malcolm Harris, as saying, “‘We’re seeing a trend, and that trend is in the right direction’…But, he cautioned, ‘we’ve got a long way to go.'” More at Wichita’s Unemployment Rate Falls Compared to Last Year.

Government planners vs. individuals. Another reading from Economics for Real People: An Introduction to the Austrian School by Gene Callahan. The topic is individuals acting in markets vs. government planning: Economics does not hold that the desires of the consumers are pure or virtuous. It does illustrate that the market process is the only way to approximately gauge those desires. All other systems must attempt to impose the rulers’ values on the ruled. Those who plan on doing the imposing have a very high regard for their own judgment, and a very low regard for that of the rest of us. To paraphrase the economist G.L.S. Shackle, the man who would plan for others is something more than human; the planned man, something less. … [Ludwig von] Mises describes those who would coercively replace the value judgments of their fellow men by their own value judgments: [They] are driven by the dictatorial complex. They want to deal with their fellow men in the way an engineer deals with the materials out of which he builds houses, bridges, and machines. They want to substitute “social engineering” for the actions of their fellow citizens and their own unique all-comprehensive plan for the plans of all other people. They see themselves in the role of the dictator — the duce, the Führer, the production tsar — in whose hands all other specimens of mankind are merely pawns. If they refer to society as an acting agent, they mean themselves. If they say that conscious action of society is to be substituted for the prevailing anarchy of individualism, they mean their own consciousness alone and not that of anybody else. (The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science)

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday December 27, 2010

This week at Wichita City Council. This week, as is the usual practice for the fourth Tuesday of each month, the agenda for the Wichita City Council features only consent items. These consent items are thought — at least by someone — to be of routine and non-controversial nature, and the council votes on them in bulk as a single item, unless a council member wishes to “pull” an item for discussion and possibly a separate vote. One such consent item is “Payment for Settlement of Claim — Estate of Christopher Perkins.” As Brent Wistrom reports in the Wichita Eagle’s, Wichitopekington blog, “A police car en route to an emergency call smashed into a Saturn coup last December, killing the coup’s 30-year-old driver, Christopher Perkins. Perkins’ family filed a negligence claim, and, on Tuesday, Wichita City Council members will vote to settle the case for $300,000.” The agenda packet is at Wichita City Council, December 28, 2010. … Also, the city will vote whether to spend $400,000 for an analysis of nine aging fire stations and what repairs and upgrades they might require. Whatever work is found to be necessary would cost much more, presumably. The cost of the analysis is being paid for by borrowing money through general obligation bonds. … Usually these “fourth Tuesday” meetings are followed by a workshop, but as of this moment, no agenda is available. … The Sedgwick County Commission will not meet this week.

Kansas schools’ unspent funds. Perhaps this will be the year in which Kansas schools — along with other state agencies — will publicly confront the reality of their budgets and unspent funds. Kansas Watchdog takes a look on Truth Emerging on Unencumbered K-12 Education Funds .

Which Brownback will govern? The Lawrence Journal-World looks at the future of incoming Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and wonders how he will govern. Perhaps the most telling observation is that of Wichita State University professor H. Edward Flentje: “Then Brownback got elected to Congress as a budget-taming conservative, Flentje said. But the budget couldn’t be tamed, and Brownback morphed into the social conservative for which he is most well-known, or, as Flentje describes it, ‘wearing his faith in the public square.'” So now I’m wondering: Can this year’s Kansas budget be tamed? … On the role of national politics: “Kansas University political science professor Burdett Loomis said that although Brownback is known for his social conservative views, he may be moderated somewhat by national aspirations.”

Rapidly rising costs at Kansas Universities criticized. Tuition at our state’s two flagship universities — The University of Kansas and Kansas State University have risen much faster than inflation, writes John R. LaPlante, educational policy fellow the Kansas Policy Institute in a letter to the Topeka Capital-Journal. Rapidly rising administrative costs are one reason, he writes. But costs can be controlled: “Cutting administrative expenses isn’t just a nice thing to do, it is possible. Iowa State, Texas A&M and the University of Missouri actually reduced their administrative expenses. It should be no surprise that they had smaller tuition increases than every other university in the conference, save Texas Tech.”

States and their pension problems. George Will in the Washington Post writing on the problem with under-funded state employee pension plans: “The nation’s menu of crises caused by governmental malpractice may soon include states coming to Congress as mendicants, seeking relief from the consequences of their choices. Congress should forestall this by passing a bill with a bland title but explosive potential.” Will goes on to describe a bill in Congress that would mandate transaprency of just how bad the problem is: H.R. 6484: Public Employee Pension Transparency Act. … In Kansas, efforts to merely describe the severity of the problem result in attacks on the messenger. In Wichita, the head of Service Employees International Union Local (SEIU) 513 appeared before the board of USD 259, the Wichita public school district, in order to denounce the reports and what he claimed where the political motives behind it. See video at KPERS report sparks backlash from Wichita SEIU.

Airport security found lacking. From the ABC News report Gaping Holes in Airline Security: Loaded Gun Slips Past TSA Screeners: “But the TSA did miss [the loaded gun], and despite what most people believe about the painstaking effort to screen airline passengers and their luggage before they enter the terminal, it was not that unusual. Experts tell ABC News that every year since the September 11 terror attacks, federal agencies have conducted random, covert “red team tests,” where undercover agents try to see just how much they can get past security checks at major U.S. airports. And while the Department of Homeland Security closely guards the results as classified, those that have leaked in media reports have been shocking.”

Compact strategy against Obamacare outlined. From the Weekly Standard: “An issue of interest to two or more states can lead to a compact. It works this way: State legislatures approve a proposal, the states agree on the parts of mutual concern (such as buying insurance across state lines), then the compact is dispatched to Washington for ratification by Congress and the president (though the need for White House assent isn’t spelled out in the Constitution). Ratification turns the compact into federal law. However, there’s a bigger reason for forming a compact against Obamacare. By banding together, states would have far more political clout in Washington.”

SEIU calls for higher Kansas taxes

At last night’s meeting of USD 259, the Wichita public school district, a local union leader described his union’s efforts in its attempt to drum up support for tax increases in Kansas.

Harold Schlechtweg, business representative of Service Employees International Union Local 513, told school board members how the union worked to get people to attend a meeting of the South-central Kansas Legislative Delegation last Saturday. He was specific to the point of reading to board members the slogans on the protest signs.

He said the union used letters to all classified staff and telephone calls to recruit attendees to the meeting. He used students from the Education Department at Wichita State University to make telephone calls, he added.

Schlechtweg has asked governments to boost taxes in favor of his union workers before. Last summer he told the Wichita City Council that it should not outsource the mowing and maintenance of city parks. Instead, he wanted the council to keep union employees on the payroll.

At the time Schlechtweg testified, it was thought that the switch to outsourcing would save the city $1 million annually. Recent reporting by KWCH’s Kim Hynes revealed that the savings are now projected at $1.8 million annually, according to Wichita Parks Director Doug Kupper. So Wichita taxpayers are saving quite a bit by ignoring Schlechtweg’s advice. Kansas legislators should do the same.

At the national level, SEIU has criticized its opponents for conducting Astroturf campaigns. Astroturfing — meaning organized efforts to create an appearance of fake grassroots interest in an issue — is a common charge of those like Schlechtweg who are in favor of more government taxation and spending.

Here we see, right in our hometown of Wichita, union-produced Astroturf as SEIU works against the interest of Kansas taxpayers.

Michelle Malkin delivers conservative message in Wichita

Michelle Malkin in WichitaMichelle Malkin in Wichita

At a fundraising event for Kansas Secretary of State candidate Kris Kobach, conservative author, journalist, and columnist Michelle Malkin delivered a message that appealed to conservatives, although not necessarily the Republican establishment. Her most recent book is Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies.

In endorsing his candidacy, Malkin praised Kobach as a conservative intellectual and a conservative activist.

On the national level, Malkin said that there’s a constant theme from the left: Don’t tell the truth about Obama, you’re a hater, you’re a racist, you’re divisive, you’re an extremist. This narrative is designed to keep conservatives quiet. But ordinary American people are pushing back, she said, without the sponsorship of national Republicans in Washington or any top-down group.

This has the Obama administration and the “top-down Astroturfers on the left” in a tizzy. It’s not the way that ACORN and SEIU (Service Employees International Union) have organized its foot soldiers, she said. It’s why there’s been such a vicious and violent reaction from people like Obama Senior Advisor David Axelrod and ACORN chief Bertha Lewis.

She said she embraces the epithets the left throws at her: “I am the angry mob,” she said to applause from the audience.

Malkin said that within the first month of the Obama administration, important campaign pledges of transparency, openness, ethics, and lobbyist bans were broken. Now there is widespread buyer’s remorse.

Malkin quoted Bess Myerson: “The accomplice to the crime of corruption is frequently our own indifference.” The mainstream media is not only indifferent to the corruption of the Obama campaign, but “an active participant in whitewashing that culture of corruption out of all coverage of this man … not just of Barack Obama, but Michelle Obama as well.”

Michelle Malkin in WichitaMichelle Malkin and Kris Kobach

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” she said, naming her book, Fox News, conservative talk radio, and alternative media on the Internet as examples of media that are getting out the message.

Holding up a copy of the Constitution, she said “by the way, this is my teleprompter.”

She said the partisan goal of ACORN and its satellite organizations is to elect a Democratic majority and keep it there. Referring to internal scandals in ACORN, the New York Times kept the news quiet in the weeks before the 2008 election because it was a “game-changer.” “They weren’t going to rig the game against Barack Obama.”

Besides an idealogical investment in Obama, there is a financial investment too, as the Times admitted that it sold over a million dollars of “Obama swag” on its website — a conflict of interest, Malkin said.

These organizations have tried to stifle the political expression of conservatives. SEIU president Andy Stern said “We will use the power of persuasion, but when that doesn’t work, we will use the persuasion of power.” When the leftist status quo is faced with change, they respond with violence, as exemplified by the SEIU.

Malkin said that while the Obama administration is trying to control mainstream news media through a czar and a revival of the fairness doctrine, she worries more about what they’re trying to do to ordinary citizens.

“We need to educate, agitate, and organize,” she said. Those in the Republican establishment who advocate toning down the message are unwise. She said we need to fight the capitulationist forces in Washington, as not only are there “Republicans in name only,” there are “conservatives in name only.”

Malkin said that the best place for activists to start is right in their own back yards.

Answering a question about Newt Gingrich and his endorsement of a liberal Republican congressional candidate, Malkin said that Gingrich made an obviously bad decision. He’s made other bad decisions lately too, she said, appearing with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in an ad sponsored by Al Gore that argues for global warming hysteria, and also campaigning with Al Sharpton on education issues.

Another question asked about the viability of a third party in America. Malkin revealed that she voted for the Libertarian presidential candidate Harry Browne in 1996. Kobach added that given the way our electoral system is structured, it is very difficult to displace a party. The Republicans replacing the Whigs is the last such example.

Speaking about the tea party protests, Malkin said that from the start it was never only an anti-Obama phenomenon, despite all the mainstream media spin.

Asked what George Soros is really after, Malkin answered “The destruction of our pillars of capitalism and individual liberty and truly deliberative democracy.”

KPERS report sparks backlash from Wichita SEIU

Recently Kansas University professor Art Hall, along with a co-author, published a study explaining the funding crisis in KPERS, the Kansas Public Employee Retirement system. In summary, the report states: “The key finding of the study is that the KPERS system will not be in actuarial balance over the thirty year amortization period set in GASB standards. This means that KPERS will continue to accumulate unfunded liabilities for the foreseeable future. It is highly likely that KPERS will continue to impose a heavy tax burden on future generations.”

This finding has raised quite a protest from those who expect to receive a benefit from KPERS in retirement. It may be the school districts and teachers that are protesting the loudest. What’s really strange is that they’re protesting what appear to be facts based on solid research.

An example of the blowback to this report is when Harold Schlechtweg, business representative of Service Employees International Union Local (SEIU) 513 in Wichita, addressed the board of USD 259, the Wichita public school district regarding the KPERS report. He advocated for raising taxes earlier this year in front of the Wichita City Council so that employees he represents wouldn’t lose their jobs to less expensive outsourcing.

To the school board, he said that when “people make a political intervention — and that’s exactly what that report was — I think that some requirement should be placed on them that they consider the impact of that.”

This is a puzzling statement. Is Schlechtweg asking for some sort of censorship or approval to be obtained before think tanks or advocacy groups publish their articles? I don’t think he would consent to this requirement being placed on himself, as many of his arguments wouldn’t pass any sort of sanity test.

For example, in a Wichita Eagle op-ed earlier this year, Schlechtweg said that if wages and benefits paid to Wichita parks workers were cut, the community would suffer. Let’s remind him who pays the wages and benefits he tried to protect: the taxpayers of the city of Wichita. The interests of the workers he represents are in direct opposition to that of the Wichita taxpayer.

Schlechtweg (and others) object to use of the word bankrupt, but if that accurately describes the financial condition of KPERS, why should we gloss over it?

He also mentioned the large losses in 401k plans. That’s not true for everyone. If a person’s funds were invested in, say, money market funds, there would have been no losses.

Employing the tactics often used by the left when faced with issues not favorable to their cause, Schlechtweg attacks personalities. He slams the authors of the study as “not friends of public education,” naming Americans for Prosperity, the tea party groups, and the Kochs specifically.

He praised the Kansas National Education Association or KNEA, the teachers union), for their work in providing information on this issue. Mr. Schlechtweg, if you’re going to discount the arguments of certain advocacy groups, can we agree that the teachers union is one of the most single-sided, uncompromising, and untruthful advocacy groups?

And while bashing the political motives of others, doesn’t Schlechtweg realize that the KNEA is all about politics, if about anything at all?

The fix for KPERS, he said, is to fund it. A problem, of course, is that taxes will likely have to be raised, and people don’t like to pay taxes. But to advocates like Schlechtweg and the SEIU, that’s not a problem. The taxpayer, it seems, is both their source of funds and focus of their scorn.

Astroturf, union style

The American Left takes great delight in making accusations of “astroturfing.” Meaning that nothing that conservatives or libertarians do, such as attending tea party protests or raising a ruckus at town hall meetings, is real. It’s all driven from the top, the left says.

I wonder: When a government employee labor union provides a service to an event, is that evidence of grassroots or astroturf? Here’s what SEIU, the Service Employees International Union is providing at a gathering of leftist bloggers this week:

“Each year Netroots Nation does lots of things to make sure you can follow along at home if you can’t be here in person, and this year is no different. Watch the live stream of convention coverage, generously sponsored by SEIU.”

The source is We’re doin’ it live!

Sebelius takes cover in loving union arms

“Possibly to avoid any confrontation with concerned citizens who have read the proposed health care legislation in Congress, HHS Secretary Sebelius will hold a conference call on Friday with health care activists and SEIU members.”

SEIU — that’s the Service Employees International Union — recently called for higher taxes in Wichita through Harold Schlechtweg, its local business representative.

Now this union will provide a friendly audience for former Kansas governor, now Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius.

Read more background at the Kansas Meadowlark post HHS Secretary Sebelius to use safe SEIU conference call for “myth busting.”

By the way, why does a union who, on its website promotes itself as “The Union for Kansas Public Employees,” have a leader with the title “business representative?”

Wichita budget hearing reveals fundamental problem with government

At yesterday’s public hearing regarding the City of Wichita budget, the attitude of Wichita’s public employee union became clear: more tax revenue is needed.

Speaking to the council, Harold Schlechtweg, business representative of Service Employees International Union Local 513 suggested that the city consider raising taxes by raising the mill levy (property taxes). “We don’t believe taxes are too high in the City of Wichita,” he said.

This illustrates a fundamental problem of government: in order for the employees in Schlechtweg’s union to be paid anything at all — much less to receive a raise in pay — the city must levy taxes. (The city collects some revenue in fees, but most revenue is taxes.)

Furthermore, if the city is to levy taxes in order to provide services such as public parks, the city must figure out how many parks to provide, where those parks should be located, and what features those parks should have.

Even a simple matter such as the level of parks maintenance is a difficult question. Presently the city is considering replacing all or most of the workers with contract workers by outsourcing the work to a private-sector contractor.

Schlechtweg, who represents parks workers through the union, expressed concerns with “[the] accountability of contractors, quality of work that can be expected, and whether contract labor can efficiently do all the work expected of city employees.”

He and other advocates for parks workers believe that the present workers provide services that contract workers will not. The claim is that the present workers provide, as I termed it yesterday, a gold-plated level of service to the people of Wichita.

The problem the city faces, as do all governments, is that it really has no idea how many parks (and related details of those parks) the people of Wichita would like, and it has no way to answer this question.

That’s because the decisions about parks are made in the realm of politics. The politicians and bureaucrats making the decisions aren’t spending their own money, except for the very small portion of their own taxes that go to the parks.

The people who take the time to get involved and testify before boards and commissions are a small group of enthusiasts. They’re quite happy for taxpayers across the city to pay for something they themselves make great use of, but the average taxpayer uses only infrequently.

The parks workers and their union, of course, depend on a high level of parks spending for the livelihoods.

This illustrates the nature of many government programs that I mentioned in yesterday’s hearing: Many government programs have a small number of beneficiaries, but the cost is dispersed across a large number of people. To the large number, it’s just a few cents here, a few dollars there. But to the small group that benefits, it’s a job or a nice park near their home with gold-plated maintenance.

If the small group — the special interest — works hard enough, they can get what they want. Many times no one else notices what’s going on.

So how can the city learn the number of parks (and details about these parks) that people really want? How does the city figure out how many McDonald’s restaurants or movie theaters are needed in Wichita? And what movies would these theaters show? The answer is that it doesn’t. It leaves decisions about these matters to markets.

The city could do this with its parks, too. It could let people and entrepreneurs decide how many parks are needed, where they should be, and what features the parks should have. Through the market process, we’d then know that we have the types of parks that people really want.

As government extends its reach into more areas of the economy, it’s getting harder to find examples where markets are free to work. The movie theater example above: there’s not really a free market for movie theaters in Wichita. The city council has decided to subsidize a movie theater in Old Town, thereby intervening and overriding the decision the marketplace made.

Wichita parks system is not a jobs program

Harold Schlechtweg, business representative of Service Employees International Union Local 513 in Wichita, makes the case that Wichita needs to keep employing its present park maintenance staff, even though it appears there is a way to get the work done at a lower cost. (Cutting park jobs will hurt city, June 30, 2009 Wichita Eagle)

The city has a responsibility to its citizens to operate as efficiently as possible. If it is possible to have work such as park maintenance done less expensively, the city should do so. It should have done so long ago.

Schlechtweg says that if wages and benefits are cut, the community suffers. Let’s remind him who pays the wages and benefits he’s trying to protect: the taxpayers of the city of Wichita. If the city can reduce their taxes and provide the same level of service, Wichitans benefit.

The idea that it’s good for a city to have highly-paid workers such as those the SEIU represents is highly self-serving. It places the interests of a few union members above that of the entire city.

If a private enterprise wishes to pay its employees higher wages than is necessary, that’s their privilege. But in the marketplace, companies can’t do that for very long, or they won’t be competitive with other companies.

The City of Wichita, however, doesn’t operate in a competitive marketplace. If it pays employees too much, it doesn’t suffer very much. Citizens may not even be aware that the city is operating inefficiently until stressful events like the current budget situation expose the situation.

Since the city doesn’t face the discipline of markets, it’s very important that citizens keep an eye on the city’s spending.

Schlechtweg’s argument — that the city should keep paying more to maintain parks than it needs to — is ridiculous on its face. It likens city spending to a perpetual motion machine: pour in more taxes to support more spending, and you get more wages and benefits paid to workers. That, in turns, feeds more taxes into the machine. The world doesn’t work that way.

Schlechtweg writes: “The bottom line is that workers’ wages and benefits are not the problem.” Unfortunately for the workers he represents, paying more than necessary to get a job done is a problem for Wichita’s taxpayers. If Wichita can save money at the expense of apparently over-paid workers, the city needs to do so, and now.