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As a part of my ongoing series of math lessons for Corvallis taxpayers, I'd like to discuss a recent entry by Jim Day in the Newsmakers column of the Gazette-Times (Dec. 23, page A8). And please remember, I'm a city and county taxpayer, and my best year in math in school was sixth grade.

According to the column, Chris Dunfield is employed by the city of Corvallis as a municipal judge. He is allowed to work a maximum of 49 hours per month. His salary for those 49 hours is $81,775. If we use the city formula for estimating the out-of-pocket costs of Dunfield's employee benefits (insurances, PERS, etc), we add 45 percent to the base salary to get a total cost to taxpayers of $9,881.00 per month, or about $201 per hour of labor as a judge. Not too shabby, huh?

I'm sure Dunfield is a good judge. Maybe even a great judge. After all, those traffic tickets can be critical to the success of the city. But I ask the taxpayers of Corvallis and Benton County to consider the fact that you're paying $200 an hour to this man. Is that more than you make?

Please keep this number in mind when the City Council asks you to pony up a zillion more dollars in "levies" in the May election. You might want to ask the city why they're paying our judge $200 per hour?

And while you're at it, ask what we pay per hour for our city manager. Or the city lawyer. You'll want to skip work today and go back to bed and pull the covers over your head.

Kirk Nevin

Corvallis (Dec. 24)

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