It's time to ban the bonuses

Enough is enough, and in the case of Burbank city employees, “enough” has become way too much.

Employees in all city departments — from entry level file clerks and receptionists, to upper-level management and department heads — enjoy an extremely generous compensation package consisting, at a minimum, of the following: salary levels that are the envy of their private-sector counterparts; city-paid family health and dental insurance; 12 days of paid sick leave per year (which is cumulative); 12 paid holidays per year; and finally, a city-funded defined benefit pension plan of such generosity that it is financially unsustainable (“Pensions pinch city purse,” March 2).

And to top it all off, we now learn that many city employees are paid bonuses. Bonuses are paid by private sector, profit-making businesses to reward the exceptional productivity of their employees when the company has a particularly profitable year. It is fundamentally wrong for a public employer, which is not a for-profit entity, using taxpayer/ratepayer dollars to provide extra compensation to government workers who already enjoy the generous benefits of public employment. It is inimical to the proper stewardship of public monies.

I do not fault Burbank city employees for this travesty; after all, who among us would refuse additional compensation were it offered? No, the responsibility for this intolerable situation lies with the City Council, past and present.

And now the council, which represents Burbank residents and is the steward of our tax dollars, must step up and bring fiscal sanity to city employee compensation.

Finally, I commend the Burbank Leader for its investigation and reporting of the bonus issue, and for pursuing legal efforts to bring the details of this situation to light in the face of the city’s stonewalling (“Newspaper files suit against Burbank for public records,” Jan. 30).

William S. Abbey


Girl Scouts come to the rescue

I thought it might be worth mentioning that at about 7 p.m. on Feb. 27 at the Vons located on Pass Avenue in Burbank, girls were selling Girl Scout cookies in front of the store.

An employee was collecting shopping carts, and all of a sudden, her arms and legs went completely straight and she fell backwards flat on her back. She then appeared to be having a seizure, along with convulsions.

The girls immediately stepped into action and yelled for someone to call 911 and went to this woman's aid. They put her on her side as fluid was coming out of her mouth and they held her head so it would not hit the pavement. As I was on the phone with 911, I relayed to the girls what they were advising us to do. The girls did exactly as they were told to do.

When the paramedics arrived, the girls explained to them exactly what happened and the steps they took as instructed over the phone to help out.

Laura Young


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