Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Now they get it

It’s no secret: The state of California, like the rest of the country, is in a serious recession.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday announced the state of California was experiencing a “fiscal emergency” and immediate attention was warranted. Fearing the state will run out of daily operating cash by the end of January, he has called a special session.

There are some, however, who are stepping up to the plate.

On Tuesday, Stanford University announced that several of the school’s top administrators would be taking a pay cut. The move is part of a two-year plan to cost cuts at the nation's third-wealthiest educational institution. Other high-level persons, including Stanford’s seven school deans, also will take a voluntary 10 percent salary cut.

Earlier today, it was announced that San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency chief Nathaniel Ford would be deferring his cost-of-living raise and performance bonus for 2008, an amount totaling more than $40,000. Ford, who reportedly has the highest base salary on the city payroll, agreed to the proposed deferment during a time when the transportation agency is facing a $40 million budget deficit.

These two examples and others of people stepping up to the plate in these trying economic times are admirable. It’s true, when you work hard you want to be rewarded, but what happened to helping “thy fellow man?”

High moneymakers forgoing their raise and/or bonus or agreeing to take a pay cut won’t put immediate money into the pockets of those who need it. But the gestures may encourage enough others to do the same and eventually, those gestures will begin to pay off.

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