Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Letter to Editor

fom The Republican; August 20, 2008

Westfield Retirement vote shows fiscal responsibilityHolyoke Mayor Michael J. Sullivan and City Councilor Rebecca Lisi are correct to oppose extra increases in retirement benefits for 61 Holyoke retirees. ("Holyoke panel delays benefits increase ruling," The Republican, Aug. 15)

Sullivan has been fiscally responsible as mayor. In spite of severe budget shortfalls Holyoke has been able to avoid the fiscal fate of many struggling urban areas, such as Springfield's Finance Control Board. This is a significant accomplishment for any city in the current financial conditions; it is nothing short of miraculous for Holyoke.

Holyoke retirees automatically receive very generous cost-of-living adjustments. Historically Holyoke has been even more generous, by providing an extra increase based on 50 percent of the salary of the current person performing the job. This is an extra benefit that should only be offered when the city finances are in better shape. When the city has shut down two schools and still needs $400,000 for art and music programs, city officials should be more financially prudent!

It is politically brave of Sullivan and Lisi to commit to fiscal responsibility in light of the fact that city retirees are often politically connected and politically active in their communities. Residents of Holyoke support the fiscal responsibility of Sullivan and Lisi. We especially appreciate the principled commitment it represents.

If only the other 14 city councilors could be as politically brave and fiscally responsible.

HANS G. DESPAIN
Holyoke

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