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Cut City Council pay by half in Duluth? Not a good plan, newspaper says

The editorial writers at the Duluth News Tribune don’t think much of a plan to rescue the city’s budget by cutting council members’ pay in half, from about $10,000 a year to $4,800.They particularly don’t like that the idea came from Eli Miletich of

The editorial writers at the Duluth News Tribune don’t think much of a plan to rescue the city’s budget by cutting council members’ pay in half, from about $10,000 a year to $4,800.

They particularly don’t like that the idea came from Eli Miletich of the Duluth Charter Commission. That’s the same Eli Miletich — the former police chief — who, the paper says, was so seemingly unconcerned about the city’s ongoing financial struggles that he organized fellow retirees to oppose playing a role in solving the city’s retiree health-care liability.

An earlier proposal for cost savings would have moved retirees to the same health plan as employees. Miletich and three fellow retirees formed a four-person committee to hold onto their virtually free health care — no matter what.

And last week, when the mayor wanted to meet with retirees to work together in finding solutions, Miletich accused the mayor of “attempting to place responsibility for a so-called crisis on the backs of retirees.”

The proposed council pay cut would save would save the city only about $47,000 a year, little more than a symbolic gesture, given the city’s $20 million budget deficit for 2008 and 2009, the paper said.