EDITORIAL: Purging perks a good idea

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By The Staff

These are tight economic times, and the city will almost certainly have to find places to trim the budget. Fortunately, officials are already working toward this goal.

If unmanaged, perks such as take-home cars and cell phones can become excessive. And that appears to have been the case with city government.

A few weeks ago, Mayor Tony Marquez asked City Manager Sharon Caballero to reduce the number of take-home cars and city-issued cell phones. In response, at last week’s City Council meeting, she announced that the city has 12 non-law enforcement take-home cars. The city is putting four of them in the motor pool, essentially doing away with the perk for some employees.

Caballero reported that the city has issued 29 cell phones for non-law enforcement employees, but she is reducing that number by 10, with a savings of $5,300 a year.

The city deserves credit for undertaking such a task. It’s not popular to remove perks from those who have received them for years — after all, a sense of entitlement develops. But if there’s no justification for such spending, the city must put the taxpayers’ interests first.

The city’s examination of perks is just the kind of change Mayor Tony Marquez promised when he took the helm in March. We hope to see more action in the way of governmental efficiency.