Or Why You Should Never Elect A Real Estate Developer County Commissioner
I wrote that the June 18th County Commission Meeting was one for the ages. Some of the most incredible items, votes, and commentary I have seen in any meeting ever. But the piez de resistance was Lance Gilman during Commissioner comments for Item 38. This item ultimately gave Hugh Gallagher up to $73,000, (aka “pennies on the ground”) depending on whose money you are spending, in a PERS retirement bonus. In his comment, Lance Gilman told us that Good Old Boys deserve our respect and our cash.
Gilman started his soliloquy by saying he is conflicted about the item. He then went on to make the strong case for why we should not hesitate to give Gallagher the bonus. Both Gilman and Commissioner Carmona made it abundantly clear they don’t understand the fundamental difference between the public and private sector. There are many differences between the public and private sectors. Performance Bonuses is one of them.
Public, Not Private
After the political season in 1996, I took my company out for a Christmas Dinner. I invited all my employees and asked them to bring a significant other and all their kids. I spent $4500 on the dinner and handed out $28,000 in bonuses. The elections made my company a pile of cash and my team crushed it. They deserved the bonuses and they got them. However, while the got good health care, they didn’t have retirement accounts. They also didn’t have a union that lobbied me for better pay and benefits. They didn’t have a taxpayer-funded training program or the hundred other things that make public sector jobs different from private sector jobs. Like bonuses.
Please take 6.5 minutes and listen to why you should never, ever elect a real estate developer as a County Commissioner. At the end of the delivery, Marshall McBride told the audience “That is why I don’t buy real estate from you”. Me either. Listen to the amazing delivery here:
Good Old Boys Deserve Our Respect (And Our Pennies On The Ground)
If you didn’t listen to the audio, you missed this nugget:
“The leadership and the folks that sat in the chairs and made the vision and the tough calls have taken us to where we are today. And that includes so many in so many of the departments that worked hard and worked multiple hours and took pay deductions and helped us survive and worked five jobs with five hats and you can’t ask for in my opinion a community of people whether public or private that have invested more sweat blood and tears in bringing us to where we are now. You know I hear this comment and I see it in print, The Good Old Boys. It gives me tingles. What the Hell is the matter with a great group of Good Old Boys?” – Lance Gilman
Are you freaking kidding me? What the Hell is wrong with a great group of Good Ol’ Boys?
Well, for starters, they see our tax dollars as “profits” and confuse $73,000 with “pennies on the ground”. They think that they somehow deserve gratitude beyond the taxpayer money that we all bust our asses for and give them every two weeks in the form of a paycheck, health benefits, and retirement funds. It goes waaaaaay beyond that here in Storey County.
The People Who Actually Do The Work Will Never Get The “Respect”(Cash)
As I have said before, we have some spectacular people who work in the trenches here in Storey County. The folks in Public Works, at the Clerks office, in the Justice Court and Assessors office all work for a fraction of what our highest paid folks get. And of course, our Deputies and Fire Department folks work hard on the front lines. Commissioner Gilman and Carmona seem to not recognize what separates the hardworking people on the front lines from the Good Ol’ Boys. Front line folks don’t get the perks. Front line folks don’t get the gas card and free cell phones or white County Yukons to drive. Instead, they have to bust their humps rain or shine and will never get a “performance bonus”. And guess what? That is totally ok. They are happy with that because of what they do get.
The average pay for Nevada public employees is way above their private counterparts. And just like there is no crying in baseball, there are no performance bonuses or sales commissions in Public Service. Unless you are a top paid public employee here in The Richest Place On Earth.
Beyond the distorted understanding of our tax dollars and how they should be spent, the Good Ol’ Boys give our money to their own clique and feather the Virginia City Nest at the expense of our other communities. A community center in the Highlands? Yeah, right. A senior center in Lockwood? Promised in “three to five years” but only $25,000 budgeted for expenditures in the River District a year. Nope. Mark Twain? You’ll get nothing and like it.
Good Old Boys Deserve A “Special”? Thank You. You’re Welcome.
“The Good Old Boys sat here and had the fortitude and the vision and the sheer guts to take us to where we are today. Goddammit, they deserve our respect” – Lance Gilman.
Respect? Maybe. But they don’t deserve our “pennies on the ground”.
During public comment, I explained the way you show appreciation for a job well done is by cashing your paycheck. If you think an employee deserves more you show them with a pay raise, not a bonus. Commissioner Carmona revealed his total lack of understanding between public and private employment in his Commissioner commentary.
“I personally have don’t an issue purshasing some of his PERS. Uh, you know, weather we raise his salary or purchase his PERS, I think it’s really six to one, half dozen to the other, so um, you know, um, uh, I’m OK with the PERS purchase”.
How far Commissioner Carmona has come. During the Hames, Haymore, and Nevin bonus handouts, Carmona was as unhappy with the bonuses and how they came about as the rest of us. Now that Carmona knows the secret handshake, he is happy to hand out “pennies on the ground”, even if they amount to $73,000. Fun Fact: there is a difference between pay raises and bonuses in public service. Look it up. So much for being different from Jack McGuffey.
While pointing at the fact that this is “past practice and customs of the County” under Pat Whitten, Commissioner McBride showed us that he knows the difference between public and private employment. He voted no. Good on you, Marshall.
Suggesting that the Good Old Boys saved Storey County and Northern Nevada and thus deserve bonuses is absurd. They don’t call this The Richest Place On Earth for nothing…
¡Hasta la Victoria, Siempre!