A father/son team took on city government full tilt Thursday, telling the Board of Supervisors to stop monopolistic contracts and rein in spending for city staff.
Jim and Josh Groth, respectively the father and his grown son, appeared back-to-back during the board’s open comment period to chide city officials for actions viewed as anti-competitive, inadvisable in tough economic times and a problem when viewed from the private sector.
“This is not sustainable,” said the younger Groth. He said that after citing data indicating that last year Carson City paid more than $56 million in payroll and more than 200 city employees received overall compensation in excess of $100,000. Overall compensation includes both salary and benefits.
He asked who fights for the taxpayers during wage negotiations involving employee associations, such as those representing fire and police, though at the same time he acknowledged his understanding of what it means to be in harm’s way. He said he is a chief warrant officer 2 with the Nevada Army National Guard and recently returned from Afghanistan, where he had served as a MEDEVAC helicopter pilot.
Groth said he now is a waiter attending school to study electrical engineering and hopes eventually to earn about $80,000 annually.
“Honest discussion needs to be had regarding public sector unions,” he said.
“When is enough enough?” he asked in a written statement. “When will we recognize that in order to balance the budget, these things need to be looked at sincerely, and adjusted?”
His father said he is a licensed excavation contractor by trade, but is working for an employer due to the difficult economy. He questioned the wisdom of a 20-year contract, which runs until 2019, with Waste Management Corp. to handle Carson City garbage disposal.
“Waste Management Corp. should not be chosen for we consumers by Carson City government,” he said. “Dictating to the citizenry whom we must utilize for waste services, and how much we must pay.”
He called the two decades-long pact a “sweetheart deal,” asking that elected officials shrink government, lower taxes and say no to future tax burdens or any similar deals.