I don’t think I share the popular view on this issue, but I have some food for thought for all who oppose the compression pay raise for city of Steamboat Springs employees. The services that we all need, enjoy and rely on are provided by city employees: the clean water we drink and sewer systems that are a necessity; the fire protection and police services we hope are there for us when we need them most; the snow-plowed roads, filled potholes and street signs that protect us and get us to and from our destinations safely; the baseball field maintenance for Triple Crown and for the ski hill we drop our children off at and enjoy skiing with them on; the free city buses we ride around town and our guests rely on.
All of these services are provided by our neighbors, friends and even family members — city of Steamboat Springs workers — not private industry. How many of those services do you think you could/would be privatized? Like it or not, government provides these “luxuries” for us. The people who perform these jobs chose them, just like the rest of us who chose jobs in the private sector. So why all the resentment toward the city employees? I have not heard a city worker say, “I wish the home builder or landscaper was making less money.” Or, “I wish the restaurants were less busy.”
Everyone wants more money, so why is there such opposition to a compression pay raise? Remember the trickle-down effect? The restaurant workers who rely on tips and the shop owners who want more revenue benefit when other people make more money. We all want people to shop local, but if the money is not there, neither is the business.
We need to remember that the lower the morale gets for the city workers, the greater the chances are that the high-quality services we have come to expect from our city workers will be a thing of the past.