I read with great interest the article in the Sept. 22 edition of the Kitsap Sun, entitled, “Area officials’ salaries burden budgets.” In the article, it was pointed out that in Bremerton, 77 percent of the general funds went to salaries in 2013. Contrast this figure with 45 percent for Bainbridge Island, 55 percent for Port Orchard, and 63 percent for Poulsbo.
Bremerton mayoral candidate Todd Best founded the Cut the Fat Campaign in Dec. 2011, when Mayor Patty Lent proposed balancing the city budget by laying off 25.5 city workers who helped provide essential services to the city. Through the efforts of this newly formed group, many jobs were saved. During these budget discussions at the city council meetings, it was proposed by some speakers, that perhaps city officials might consider a voluntary salary cut to help save jobs, as has been done in other cities. It didn’t happen.
In 2012, Mr. Best also helped assist in a successful effort to reduce the mayor’s annual salary from $122,424 to $107,000. This will become effective in Jan. 2014. Mayor Lent may have had her salary reduced, but according to an article in the Aug. 30, 2012 edition of the Kitsap Sun, Mayor Lent stated that should she get re-elected, she wanted to see the city move toward getting a city administrator. She stated, “We need one. This city is all grown up.” She stated that, “You won’t be able to get one for less than $150,000.” Is Mayor Lent prepared to step down if a city administrator comes on board, or will the citizens be saddled with yet another official’s expensive salary?
If Todd Best is elected, he will assume that administrator’s responsibility, without adding increased costs to the budget.
I urge the citizens of Bremerton to vote for Todd Best as Mayor of Bremerton. A vote for Mr. Best is a vote for an honest, responsible and transparent government. As a successful businessman, and concerned citizen, he will “cut the fat.”
Vaughn H. Smith