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A Sunday article by Richard Schroeder regarding Paul Willax's employment contract buyout reconfirmed to me what is wrong with our society in general -- rewarding people for their incompetence.

The general public, taxpayers and stockholders are paying for other people's mistakes, losses, fraud, incompetence, etc. but have no say in the matters.

I can think of several examples nationally and locally that support this concept. First, on the national level, there is the savings and loan bailout, which will require a sufficient taxpayer contribution as time goes on. Second, on the local level, there are the recent depositions of Messrs. Swider, Kenzie and Willax. What makes these three worthy of contract buyouts? The latter two, especially, were undoubtedly given "golden parachutes" after running their institutions in the wrong direction and issuing stock to an unsuspecting public. I suggest that we poll the Empire of America stockholders and employees concerning Mr. Willax's compensation.

I believe that compensation should be tied to performance. There is no place for "golden parachutes" in a true capitalist society, especially if the corporate stockholders have no direct say in the matter. How many jobs could be saved or created with the elimination of parachutes?

One final thought -- should the public pay for the Bills' stadium settlement? The politicians made the mistake, let them pay for it. Why should the taxpayer foot the bill?


Readers can't feel sorry for Willax

I don't know why you people in the newspaper business print articles that you know will just tear the heart out of a reader. Take Richard Schroeder's piece -- a tragic story of former Empire Bank Chairman Paul Willax, who will receive $1.7 million from Empire as a "buyout" of his contract.

I was devastated when I learned how the brutes at Empire got him to settle for $850,000 cash. Was there also something about $14,167 a month for the next five years? Who could survive? The man has bills to pay just like you and me.

Willax is a "fair man." He says so himself. While running Empire to its present state, he turned down outside employment that would have paid him more.

This colossus of fairness sold his interest in many small businesses so he could devote all of his time and energy to the bank. Now, that's better than just being fair.

That's not all. His salary was less than that of his peers in other institutions. God, the guy is a saint! I bet every homeless person in a soup kitchen across the country is asking "if it can happen to Paul Willax, can it also happen to me?"


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