Monday, September 27, 2010

A Lesson For City Managers


In Santa Clarita, lines are being drawn over management of the city's public libraries, with a proposal to turn over the book shelves to a private corporation.

Citizens are concerned, as they should be, at this assault on a cherished American tradition, the free public library. While a public library could never be run for a profit, public concerns center on the concept as much as the reality. When the bottom line is economics, idealism most often takes a back seat.

However, the problem that the city seeks to solve is not the cost of books and shelving, but pensions demanded by union library employees. As with all cities, Santa Clarita is crushed under the load of exorbitant pensions drawn by retired employees that exceed the salaries of most working people. City management is drowning in pension payments, committing future budgets to expenses to those who no longer work for city government or the people.

Perhaps the threat of privatized libraries will instill a sense of proportion in the hearts of city managers, themselves just itching for the day their own pension starts.

Does city government serve the residents or the small minority of elite employees standing in line for life-long handouts?