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Letter: Newton’s payroll is out of control

With regard to the proposed tax override on the Newton ballot for March 12, I think it is imperative for the taxpayers to know how Mayor Warren and his team manage the taxes they have already collected from us.

As many of you have read in several recent Globe articles by Dierdre Fernandes (“Number of top earners grows” Feb. 17), Newton’s payroll is simply out of control, at a whopping $191 million for 2012! This figure does NOT even include the exorbitant pension and health care benefits we offer to all our employees.

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These are just a FEW of the generous pay packages our tax dollars funded last year:

1. $9 million in “other ­wages.” On the payroll, this column doesn’t say what these “other” goodies are, but in my world $9 million is not a small number for a small city. And we deserve transparency in this number.

2. $1.28 million in “longevity wages.” I thought a pension WAS a longevity bonus. Why do we offer these bonuses to employees who are already guaranteed a pension for life after just 10 years of service?

3. $90,000-$104,000, paid to three custodians. While I respect the value of manual labor, I hardly think this is the “going competitive rate” for this type of work.

4. $39,000, paid to the Newton Teachers Association president, on top of continued health care and pension payments while he is NOT teaching in the classroom. Why is it that our tax dollars are paying the president of a union we don’t belong to? I am certain that in other trades, the union employees are paid solely by their membership.

This override request is simply NOT about whether the town needs to fix our roads, build a new firehouse, or remodel two schools.

It IS about the mayor’s total lack of fiscal discipline in managing the hard-earned tax dollars we already give him annually.

In my world, the question to be asked is, “Why throw good money after bad?”

Chestnut Hill

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