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Wednesday, November 17, 2010


How many of you have gone to your employer and asked to see an accounting of what you cost your company? Have you ever been shown those figures?

I have, and while it’s enlightening, it’s also misleading. When I was a na├»ve young teacher at my first position, I used to have annual contract signing meetings with the parish priest (I have always worked for the Archdiocese of Detroit in a Catholic school). He was VERY proud to show me my fabulous package. It consisted of the following line items:

-- base gross salary
-- taxes the school/parish paid out for me (Social Security, unemployment insurance, etc.)
-- liabilities – the total cost of my sick days should I choose to use them.
-- payments for/toward my archdiocesan retirement (only once I was vested)

At the bottom of the document was the final total number. And BOY, let me tell you, I’d have been HAPPY to make that kind of money.

The reality is that I did not. And it was the big joke with staff each year to share what we REALLY make according to Fr. Bob. The number he was so very proud of was really WHAT I COST THE SCHOOL/PARISH. It was not base salary, and it could not be called employee compensation.

So again, I ask you…do you know what you cost your employer? Many of us know what each city employee costs the City of Troy because it’s been printed in big bold red letters by the TCU in their spurious mailings. It’s been shouted out at City Council Meetings by Tea Party Patriot representative Janice Daniels. It’s been used as a talking point to vote down tax increases Troy Tea Party Patriots and the TCU would have you believe that those numbers are TOTAL EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION when, in fact, they are not.

When you point out to them that their so-called proof of overpaid employees is inaccurate, they bristle. “BUT…BUT…that number includes their CADILLAC BENEFITS!” One pointed to the salary of the Chief of Police and said, “Look, base salary is $121K. Total compensation (his word, not reality) is $220+. HE’S COLLECTING AN ADDITIONAL 86% OF HIS SALARY IN BENEFITS!”

Where do these figures come from? They come from an internal memo from John Szerlag to Councilman Martin Howrylak. Mr. Howrylak then forwarded that letter to some of the citizenry – whether or not it might have been against a code of ethics or morally responsible to send without a complete explanation of each line item. The memo shows TOTAL COST TO THE CITY for each employee. Did you read that correctly? I said TOTAL COST TO THE CITY. I did not say TOTAL PAYOUT TO THE EMPLOYEE.

The Troy Tea Party Patriots and the TCU want you to think like my former employer. They want you to think that every single penny the city pays out to sustain an employee is a GIFT to the employee, that it’s part of their compensation, and that it proves they are overpaid.

They want you to believe a lie. They propagate the lie every week at the council meetings. They print the lies in their literature and mailings. Martin Howrylak nurtures the lie by forwarding information without explanation and then not helping correct the misapprehension.

The arguments of the Troy Tea Party Patriots and the TCU are based on lies. They want to clear our council and city government, take over those spots and have their voices heard. They want to represent the voices of the residents of Troy.

Do you want liars representing you?

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