UPDATE: Danny Thompson was kind enough to call with some details and perspective.
We're talking here about something like banded compensation, where people get paid within certain fixed ranges; the new plan is to add more of these bands, supposedly to be more competitive with other employers.
Thompson wonders why we're doing this now, when a compensation study already approved by Council (done by these folks) is due by June; why people are getting bumped into more remunerative bands in January, rather than at the beginning of the City's fiscal year; how the departments have the cash in their budgets to fund the increases, just months after discussions of service cuts ("that’s a little bit irritating"); and whether enough research was done on the subject, beyond a visit to this site.
And of course, raises covered by departmental budgets for the next six months would have to be built into future budgets.
Micromanaging departmental decisions on compensation is not the idea here, Thompson says. It's about the way budgets get made and spent.
Thompson says a pay freeze has been hard on City staffers, and would like to see a 2% salary increase next year for employees making less than $75K, or maybe $50K, as long as it does not involve a tax increase.
Raises are pretty scarce in my business, so I'm going to ask my boss to just move my salary range instead.
Not sure the City Council should be involved at the level of approving every $13 raise salary-range adjustment, but $150K is not nothing, and this is not a normal year.
Looking for a trove of minor Picasso works, but lack access the artist's homes to assemble your own?
There's a nice little collection right here in Greensboro that might scratch your itch. (Left, Still Life in Front of a Window, 1919, Weatherspoon Art Museum.)
Not that it solves the mystery of the electrician's acquisition strategy, but a young Picasso is said to have traded his work for the funny papers from the Baltimore Sun when my great-great-aunts first knew him.
"Travels With Charley" is not what the American reading public has been led to think it is.
I.e., it's not nonfiction.
I haven't read the book since middle school, but I'm not sure this is such a shocking revelation. Dude was a novelist, after all.
Full disclosure: my grandmother reviewed the book for one of the GSO papers back in the day; the clip is tucked into a copy that I thought was in one place but that seems to be in another. Knowing the late Isabel Cone, I'd guess she was most interested in the dog.
Considering where gasoline comes from, and the huge government spending programs that have nurtured car culture, maybe it's not the mass transit advocates who "believe the future rests in an outdated mode of transportation."
For the nth time: cars are convenient, I love my car, etc., etc., but the idea that the status quo is some sort of organic inevitability is at best a fantasy.
Symbolic moves can have value, and given the number of people who have been living without raises -- or even jobs -- the pay freeze gambit could be a clever way of introducing some truly meaningful cost-control measures, like a public option for health insurance and serious military spending cuts.
Agenda 21 paranoia has swept the tea party scene, driving activists around the country to delve into the minutiae of local governance. And now that the midterm elections are over, they're descending on planning meetings and transit debates, wielding PowerPoints about Agenda 21, and generally freaking out low-level bureaucrats with accusations about their roles in a supposed international conspiracy.
Greensboro, for instance, has a low 2010 median income...But it has something most cities with higher median incomes or reliance on construction don't: an economic backbone supported by businesses in the insurance field, manufacturing and education. These industries might not be growing rapidly, but they aren't disappearing either--so for now, a steady income is better than a high income.
If you've got a job, which a lot of people don't, our local economy is less bad than many other local economies, says a Forbes list that seems sturdier than many Forbes lists.
The media irony is that out of the limelight, computer magazines were some of the greatest creators of legal cash wealth of our time; in the limelight, profits in the category dwindled but glamour increased.
More from the wayback machine. "Jimmy and guys like Jimmy do not believe they can fail."
Beyond the fact that you're not supposed to say this stuff out loud, what information from the Wikileaks dump is really surprising?
Not to say it's uninteresting, or that there are not revelations and flashpoints in the huge data trove, just that a lot of the intel (e.g., Arabs don't want a nuclear Iran, US thinks Karzai is weak, etc.) seems like common sense and/or common knowledge.
Mixing social democratic values with Jimmy Stewart localism, Germany's economy is running rings around America's. "What we have here is stakeholder capitalism, not shareholder capitalism..."
Germany seems to have done a lot right while other countries were doing a lot wrong, but let's not forget the part where its prudent bankers get bailed out on the backs of the Irish people (and the Greeks).
If you can't make it to New York in time to catch the Rauschenbergshow at the Gagosian Gallery -- or even if you can -- head over to the Weatherspoon to see his work in the local collectors' exhibition. If you like Rauschenberg, you might like this Warhol/Johns/Lichtenstein show, too, and you should hit Art on Paper while you're there. Coming soon: Rauschenberg from the permanent collection as part the big 70th anniversary show. Left, Straw-Boss, a 1962 silkscreen and oil on canvas from the Weatherspoon collection.
Retailing is a legit subject for business coverage, and shopping mania is a real story, but at some point the media is just shilling for its advertisers, and that point is so far gone you can't see it anymore in the rear-view mirror.
At least rampant consumerism hasn't contributed to any major problems in our society, so it's all harmless fun.
Poor Ed Wolverton. He can't very well say, "The people who pay my salary don't want, um, youths lingering on the sidewalk outside the expensive condos they need to unload," so he has to say stuff like this.
The plan is for Raleigh to have at least 30 [electric-car charging] stations by September...part of a bigger wave that will bring more than 350 recharging stations to North Carolina, most of them financed by federal stimulus money.
The pope is not justifying or condoning gay sex or heterosexual sex outside of a marriage...the pope is saying that condom use in heterosexual relations is the lesser evil than passing HIV onto a partner.
It's a start, though, to recognize condom use as a pro-life practice: "It's the first step of taking responsibility, of taking into consideration the risk of the life of another with whom you have a relationship."
Instapundit has a very bad idea: "If they start anything, I say nuke ‘em. And not with just a few bombs."
Nice casual tone for mass-killing advocacy, though.
North Korea is a small and densely-populated place. For that matter, Seoul is almost as close to the DMZ as Greensboro is to Winston-Salem, and roughly the same distance from Pyongyang as Greensboro is from Lynchburg.
Our neighbors in the Commonwealth are discovering that privatization of an ABC system is harder than it looks.
When the state sells booze, it gets the mark-up, not just the taxes, and giving up that revenue is a tough call these days. Other issues include opposition from powerful beer-and-wine distributors, and from state employees. And state stores seem to be a fairly effective way of limiting consumption.
I'm guessing the same factors will keep liquor sales in Raleigh's hands for quite some time.
During this period, major financial crises were conspicuously absent, while capital investment, productivity, and wages grew at rates that lifted tens of millions of working Americans into the middle class.
Since the early nineteen-eighties, by contrast, financial blowups have proliferated and living standards have stagnated. Is this coincidence? For a long time, economists and policymakers have accepted the financial industry’s appraisal of its own worth, ignoring the market failures and other pathologies that plague it..."There was a presumption that financial innovation is socially valuable," Woolley said to me. "The first thing I discovered was that it wasn't backed by any empirical evidence. There’s almost none."
You don't need evidence if you can get people to take things on faith, and the efficient-market catechism is recited still amid the ruins. That may be Wall Street's greatest sales job.
The biblical citations offered by Shimkus don't even apply in the context he uses -- they say God won't destroy the earth, not that there won't be any more floods or natural catastrophes, some of which I think may even have been documented in historical time.
Kind of odd when he gets all sciency with that explanation of plains geology.
Randall Kaplan on the future of the downtown hotel: "If the legislation is not extended for the recovery bonds, we will look at other ways of developing the project."
Full text of Kaplan's statement:
We continue to believe a hotel will be successful in combination with the Elm Street Center, would be great for downtown, and will create much needed jobs. As I have always said, getting the financing and negotiating the right deal is the most difficult part of any big project like this. At present the bond markets are in a bit of a shake out. We do not think we can get the deal done by year end but continue to work on the financing. If the legislation is not extended for the recovery bonds, we will look at other ways of developing the project.
The viability of the downtown hotel project was not much of an issue for the various governmental bodies that kept kicking the can down the road, but it seems to be a consideration for the bond market.
The logic that was supposed make the issue fly was that the junk would be sprinkled on top of a huge bond portfolios, way up on the high-risk tip of the pyramid, and that rich investors would get a big enough effective return on the tax-free bonds to make the risk palatable.
So far, no deal, and only an extension of the program by the lame-duck Congress can keep that particular version of the dream alive.