Local News

Durham to host award lunch despite cost concerns

Posted February 2, 2009

— Durham will proceed with its annual employee-recognition luncheon, City Manager Tom Bonfield said, despite concerns that a City Council member raised about the event's cost.

Bonfield sent a letter to Councilman Eugene Brown, saying canceling the recognition lunch would harm employee morale without saving much money.

Brown last week suggested that the taxpayer-funded lunch should be scrapped because of the city's tight budget. He estimated the event would cost more than $45,000, including $31,500 in lost productivity.

City officials said the Feb. 10 lunch at the Durham Marriott would cost about one-third of that, noting that the 219 employees honored at the event would either make up lost work or would have someone cover their duties for them.

"Without question, the utilization of all public resources must be prudent and efficient and is an even more important practice as the city enters generally (uncharted) waters at this time of fiscal distress and economic downturn," Bonfield wrote to Brown.

"While some public reaction to (canceling the event) as a cost-conscience action may seem positive, the negative signal sent to employees ... who will be expected to perform at significantly improved efficiencies in the coming years as programs and budgets are reduced will likely impact service delivery at significantly higher costs than the initial direct savings, which is estimated at less than $3,000 because of contractual commitments and recognition awards and gifts having already been acquired."

Bonfield said the city would re-evaluate the cost of the lunch as a budget for the 2009-10 year is developed.


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  • Bob3425 Feb 2, 2009

    "cost more than $45,000, including $31,500 in lost productivity", if Durham can do that then the city doesn't need the bail-out money the many wants to improve the civic center and other pet project.

  • BottomLine Feb 2, 2009

    Cancel the luncheon I say ... look around - thats whats happening with most private sector organizations - ZERO discretionary spending ... Or have the luncheon, and lay off one or two or the people next month. Need more incentive - vote for another community service leader !

  • mep Feb 2, 2009

    The SHOW must go on. Another example of govt waist.... just like a really big inauguration party we had last month, despite facing a huge economic crisis here at home, and engaged in two wars. Party on!!! Us taxpayers don't mind paying the bills.

  • bngexpress Feb 2, 2009

    typical govt attitude , if these employee's were performing as they would have to in the private sector then they would already be performing at peak productivity,how much moral will a $10.lunch get?

  • chargernut69 Feb 2, 2009

    Since when does Durham government make any sensible decisions?... Why don't they take the money and put it to use for more parole improvements... keep the murderers behind bars!

  • raider Feb 2, 2009

    OakRapp and lbl3373, I'm glad to see there are a FEW people on this post who actually have a brain. First of all, your grammar and spelling are correct! And beyond that, you seem to have a MUCH better grasp of public employment than most people do. Thanks!

  • m0nky Feb 2, 2009

    things like this are planned far in advance. my guess is that the cost of canceling the event is going to be pretty high given contracts, deposits and purchases already made. i think going ahead and having it this year and then scrapping it next year would be the best plan.

    as for the concern of making up time, if the event is a luncheon that lasts lets say 3 hours. simply staying at work an extra 30 minutes every day for 6 days will make up the time lost. its really not a big deal folks...

    if this was something that was thrown together quickly, i'd say they should cancel it for this year. but given all the other factors, canceling it might not really save any money and upset a lot of workers that already feel underpaid and under respected as it is.

  • Justin T. Feb 2, 2009

    Even if this Durham event is subsidized by the taxpayers again this year... be aware that guns, ammo, and body armor are not being provided. You'll need to bring your own.

  • are you kidding me Feb 2, 2009

    Verdict is in! Termination...now!

  • lbl3373 Feb 2, 2009

    If you all are such concerned, informed, and involved citizens do you know where the remaining $339 million of the budget goes?? You are getting upset over a miniscule portion of the budget, I am talking 0.0001%.