Editorials

Stopping in Collinsville for a little Chinese

Collinsville city leaders don’t seem to be able to hit the sweet without the sour. Saving taxes by combining executive positions is accompanied by tax increases and more hiring. The caustic council environment may be leading to the exodus of five top leaders in 10 months.
Collinsville city leaders don’t seem to be able to hit the sweet without the sour. Saving taxes by combining executive positions is accompanied by tax increases and more hiring. The caustic council environment may be leading to the exodus of five top leaders in 10 months. snagy@bnd.com

We have an idea that Collinsville leaders are most likely to order the sweet and sour chicken when they visit Peking Garden. They rarely seem to find the sweet without also hitting the tang.

Sweet: City Council members combined the city manager and economic development director’s jobs. They will pay Mitch Bair $135,000 for doing both jobs, but save $85,900 in salary and benefits because there will not be a second person.

Sour: There’s been an exodus of workers, including City Manager Scott Williams being let go and three department heads and an acting director departing.

Sweet: They also combined the sewer and water plant director’s job with the streets director’s job to establish a public works director earning $98,500. They are claiming salary and benefits savings of $74,000.

Sour: Collinsville bumped up the utility tax by close to $1 million, plus reallocated $600,000 in sales taxes to add six new city jobs this year, and another four in 2017.

Eyebrows raise when you see so many leaders leave an employer. Anxiety rises when no one will talk about why so many folks are departing.

There was a change of the guard at the last election, and the City Council is polarized. Leaders have exhibited ethical gaps in judgment through which you could drive a truck full of dirt.

Still, are the politics caustic enough to drive workers from their jobs? They probably are not helping.

So crack a fortune cookie, and here’s what Confucius had to say: “Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors.”

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