Golden Parachutes | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Golden Parachutes 

Also: Good Points, Bernick; Firing Squad

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Golden Parachutes
In a society where so many are opposed to a $15-an-hour minimum wage, it's interesting to watch how we compensate the problematic privileged. This week we're talking about Art Raymond, spokesman for Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, and Mike Allegra, CEO of Utah Transit Authority. Raymond posted nasty comments on The Salt Lake Tribune's website under a pseudonym, evidently from a city computer. For that, he was demoted from his $112,381 job to one that pays a mere $82,000. Allegra has been alternately lauded and lambasted for questionable travel while heading a mass-transit effort that emphasizes development over efficiency. Allegra is retiring from his $397,970 job to become a senior adviser to his board—with his salary intact for at least a year. Then comes the pension. No one denies these men their due, but it could be that we're paying too much up top and not enough for the rank-and-file.

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Good Points, Bernick
Bob Bernick, a writer for UtahPolicy.com, recently wrote about his buddy Art Raymond, being a stand-up guy, but not defending Raymond for his naughty online comments. The article wasn't really about Raymond—it was about how The Salt Lake Tribune can allow libelous or tortuous comments to slip by, and yet managed to ferret out Raymond from among the multitudes. Bernick talked about employees leaving the Trib (although he really wants the paper to survive) and the emphasis on clicks and hits these days. He even intimated that the Trib is anti-Becker, now that its editorial writers have endorsed Jackie Biskupski. These are all good points—although Bernick might have left Raymond out of it.

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Firing Squad
Another employment misstep: Utah Division of Arts & Museums administrator Lynnette Hiskey was given the heave-ho, although technically she resigned. Her boss, Julie Fisher, said it wasn't working out, and that they're "moving in a different direction," according to The Salt Lake Tribune. Hiskey had achieved national prominence, but was summarily escorted from the office. Apparently there was animosity somewhere, but it's unclear where the call to terminate came from. Still, commenters blamed Gov. Gary Herbert, who fired Forrest Cuch and oversaw the decimation of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. There's plenty of advice about how to fire someone compassionately, "keeping your humanity and upholding your employee's dignity," says Robert Sutton, a Stanford University professor and author of Good Boss, Bad Boss. Too bad it isn't practiced.

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