Mayor's reward program met with skepticism

Posted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

SOLDOTNA - Mayor Peter Micciche's effort to reward exemplary city workers has been greeted with skepticism by some Soldotna residents.

Micciche has been airing public service announcements in which he encourages listeners to report city employees who are doing a good job. The workers who win recognition receive public acknowledgment and a reward at the mayor's own expense.

But some in this city of 4,200 suggest there could be an ulterior motive, such as Micciche paying for votes.

"Either he thinks nobody is doing a good enough job or he has lots of extra money," Carla Anderson told the Peninsula Clarion newspaper. "I'm not sure if it should be funded personally by the mayor because it seems like patronage."

Micciche's three-year term ends in 2011.

Others have no problem with Micciche rewarding workers - as long as it's his money. Some think that may not be the case.

"He'll never do that; that's a lie," Frank Kataiva said. "The city owes the people the money and they get the money from taxpayers."

Micciche said he and the taxpayers are splitting the cost of the radio spots, but insists the rewards will come from his own pocket.

One caller, for example, recently praised three Soldotna employees for helping her during a snowstorm. The mayor said he will take the employees out to lunch and then recognize them during a city council meeting.

He contends there is no ulterior motive other than promoting hard work.

"My primary responsibility is to make sure there is no waste in city government and people are getting the most out of their dollars," he said.

The mayor said he has thus far received seven calls reporting the good work of a dozen employees.

"People find it easier to complain than to praise," he said. "I'm trying to have people call about the good things."

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