Maybe you saw this. Maybe you didn't. Yesterday, Seattle Councilmember Jean Godden sent out a statement announcing that she's writing a check to the city for 10 days pay:
Master Media Manipulator Jean Godden
By their willingness to accept furloughs, union members and non-represented city employees have displayed a commendable loyalty to their fellow workers, to the city and to the citizens of Seattle. They are public servants in the best sense of the phrase. I have decided that I want to participate fully with other city employees and have agreed to take an equivalent reduction in pay. Since, by law, I cannot have my salary reduced or increased while serving an elected term, I will write a check for $5,034.39, representing 10 days of wages, plus the city's share of Social Security, Medicare and Retirement back to the City.
Not a bad gesture. Show some solidarity with your fellow man, gain some political capital. Smart all around. But what of the other eight Councilmembers?
Are their hearts made of lead? Do they care less for the plight of secretaries, janitors and security guards forced to live without two weeks pay? Are they the Grinches to Godden's Gandhi? Of course not. They're just not as smart about getting the message out.The Daily Weekly called around to see if the other eight Councilmembers had been planning anything similar. Most said that an informal version of this idea had been in the works for weeks. Heck, one of them had even announced her intention to write the city a check last week. She just wasn't as adept at Godden at getting that news to stick.
In the last edition of her monthly newsletter, Sally Clark said darn near the same thing. "Since elected officials aren't allowed to change their own salary it means I'll write a check back to the city," she said. "Workers throughout the city have made the sacrifice, and I think we should as well."
What did Clark leave out? Oh yeah. She forgot to list the amount of the check, right down to the 39 cents. (She also forgot to package the info in a stand-alone statement. Don't bury the lede, Clark!)
The lesson for Councilmembers: If you're going to do something nice for the city, next time hold a press conference.