Letter: No tax for city lacking transparencyOn the question of a proposed local sales tax, my opinion is that this referendum should be voted down decisively.
By: Dean Adams, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor
On the question of a proposed local sales tax, my opinion is that this referendum should be voted down decisively.
Why? Because the city has little dedication to real transparency.
Let’s start with Sue Oelkers’ 2010 letter where she stated that after she began looking into the financial details of the Port Authority: I have received a letter from attorneys representing both the Port Authority and the city threatening me with violating the Minnesota Data Privacy Act, including strong hints of a defamation of character suit against me.
Hearing rumors of city workers being paid extremely generous salaries, I decided to ask the city how much they were paying employees. Starting in 2009, I repeatedly requested salary data. I requested the salary for each city of Red Wing position.
I asked my City Council representative, city administration, and finally the city’s finance department for this information.
Each time, I was assured someone from the city would be getting in touch with me, that they would be compiling the numbers and getting them to me. No data ever came.
Exasperated, I contacted a manager for the city’s finance department. I requested from him salary data, per position, for each individual job that the city has.
He said he’d give it to me, but first wanted to know what I was going to do with the information. I replied as a taxpayer and citizen I didn’t think I needed to reveal that: Wasn’t this public information?
He did not reply.
Recently, I noticed the city complied with the state of Minnesota and published on the city’s website the three highest compensated city employees by position and salary: City Council administrator $122,532.80, finance director $100,027.20 and Public Works director $94,016.00.
The City seems to be a very self-protective and insular organization, not terribly interested in revealing any information but that which they deem the public needs to know.
Now they want a sales tax to pay for some new pet projects. Don’t give them the money.