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Letter: Low wages do not correlate with cellblock mistreatment

Low wages do not correlate with cellblock mistreatment

I am writing to comment on a recent front page article appearing in The News relating to the low pay of the City of Buffalo cellblock attendants. While I agree that given the nature of the job there is definitely room for additional upward movement in the pay scales for these positions, but nowhere near what The News is making a case for.

I strongly disagree with The News championing a case for increasing Buffalo cellblock attendants’ admittedly low starting salary of $28,000 that maxes out over time to $48,000, compared with the level of similar positions in the county lockup totaling $42,657 and $62,370 respectively. Just because other similar salaries have been allowed to run amok by our elected officials and administrators does not mean that others have to jump off the economic cliff too. It’s no wonder governments at every level are heading for bankruptcy.

While we’re on the topic of wages, let’s not forget wage-related costs for overtime, payroll taxes, pensions, health insurance, vacation and holiday pay get added to the mix. While I do not have an accurate percentage for these costs related to wages in this instance, common sense says that they tally up to a very conservative estimate of at least 35 percent.

Lastly, in reference to the unidentified police source quoted in this story who implied that because of the current low wage level for Buffalo cellblock attendants, “you get what you pay for” as the cause for past and present dishonesty, abuse of authority and high employee turnover: This statement is biased rubbish. Based on his quote I’d be concerned that this unidentified police source might feel it’s OK to perform some illegal act if he believes he is being underpaid.

Edward F. McKee

East Amherst