Assembly candidate Q&A: Are city workers overpaid, underpaid or paid about right?

In the days leading to the April 2 Anchorage municipal election, we'll be publishing responses from Assembly and School Board candidates to a range of questions. Previous questions at

  Q: In general, including benefits, do you feel city workers are over-compensated, under-compensated or compensated about right? What gauge do you use to make that judgment?



District 3: Seat D
West Anchorage

Ernie Hall: I do believe that our employees are fairly compensated. I compare it to what I see occurring in the private sector.

Nick Moe:  I think our city workers are compensated about right. Our city employees should have paychecks that encourage the skilled and dedicated personal that our city needs.


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District 3: Seat E
West Anchorage

Phil Isley: I would have to say over-compensated. It is based on the city wages published in this paper verses the mean income levels on

Tim Steele: Whether or not compensation is appropriate is a function of the economy. That's why we have 3 year labor contracts; so that compensation can be adjusted based on revenue and the level of economic growth. With our economy coming out of recession, we need to negotiate for leaner contracts. But we all want to maintain a quality work force; lack of respect and communication is not the way establish cost efficiency.

Cheryl Frasca: For the most part they are well compensated. If benefit and wages were too low, employees would leave for other opportunities. If benefit and wages were high, there would be minimal turnover.


Midtown Anchorage

Andy Clary: Most in Anchorage agree that the contracts passed in 2008 were generous. I do see a need to rebalance expenditures and revenues. However, our city workers, several of whom are personal friends, are hard-working, dedicated public servants who deserve to be well compensated. One of the things I enjoy most about the assembly is the discussion around how we will allocate limited resources to meet a diversity of needs.

Dick Traini: Just right. Federal and state studies have shown that city workers are paid on par with their private sector counterparts.

District 5: Seat H
East Anchorage

Paul Honeman: About Right: Our workforce is affordable under our budget. Current retirement and benefit packages are not overly generous and in some cases are less than what is available in other cities or jurisdictions.

District 6: Seat J
South Anchorage

Jennifer Johnston: In general I feel municipal employees are fairly compensated in their wages. As the city goes forward in their negotiations with labor groups pay enhancements, step programs, overtime compensation, and work rules will need to be addressed to further insure a sustainable municipal budget


District 2: Seat A
Chugiak/Eagle River

Bob Lupo: No answer

Peter Mulcahy: We have a hard working and dedicated work force and I value the work they do. Public sector employment compensation needs to be commensurate with the private sector.

Amy Demboski: I do believe city workers are compensated well as a whole. More benchmarking is needed to compare our labor costs to similar cities. That is the only way we can make an objective judgment of how high or low our labor compensation is.