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NewsWatch: Cities and Counties -- Salaries Compared

February 28, 2011 By

How Earnings for Unionized Public Employees Compare with Private Sector

Last year in Nassau County, N.Y., the average salary, plus overtime and benefits, for a police officer was $182,678. In Wisconsin in 2009, one electrician at the State Fair Park earned $123,213. In California last year, the chief sergeant-at-arms in the state Senate grossed $155,904. Christian Science Monitor

Detroit Expected to Reinstate Precincts

Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee is expected to announce Monday a plan to reinstate precincts. "This realignment is a step toward moving toward a precinct structure because the mayor and chief heard the people say this is something they wanted," Karen Dumas, Mayor Dave Bing's spokeswoman, said Friday evening. "It's not a major shift in what we do or how we do it." When Bing first campaigned for mayor in the 2009 special election, he said he would return the city's police department to a precinct structure. And, in his State of the City address this week, he said he plans to take sworn officers away from desk assignments and redeploy them on neighborhood patrols.  Detroit Free Press

School Board Votes to Fire 2,000 Teachers

After two hours of contentious discussion, the Providence, R.I., School Board voted 4 to 3 Thursday night to send out termination notices to each of the city’s 1,926 public school teachers. Providence Journal

Teachers Union Agrees to Dismissal Revisions

Responding to criticism that tenure gives even poor teachers a job for life, Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, announced a plan Thursday to overhaul how teachers are evaluated and dismissed. New York Times

State Considers Legislation Requiring Drug Testing for Food Stamps

New Hampshire is considering legislation (House Bill 446) that would institute random drug testing for food stamp recipients. Fail two drug tests, or refuse to take them, and you would be banned for two years from receiving food stamps. New Hampshire Union Leader

Six Strategies for More Open and Participatory Government

Government Transparency: Six Strategies for More Open and Participatory Government, a new policy paper by Jon Gant and Nicol Turner-Lee, calls on state and local governments to adopt six sensible strategies to accelerate the trend toward open government. Knight Commission

Housing Agency’s Computer Woes Put Aid Recipients in Limbo

The New York City Housing Authority, is struggling to install a $36 million computer system intended to process information related to thousands of New Yorkers who hold federal housing vouchers. As a result, some expecting to move into apartments with the help of the housing authority are now in limbo, while others seeking to reduce their share of housing payments are wondering how they will make rent. New York Times

County OKs $3 Billion Budget, Government Shutdown

Cook County, Ill., government will shut down five days this year as part of a cost-cutting, job-saving $3 billion budget plan approved during a marathon meeting that concluded early Saturday morning. With the exception of the jail, some courts and the taxpayer-funded health and hospital system — or any office providing “vital services” — county government would be shuttered for five days beyond the regularly scheduled holidays. Chicago Sun-Times

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