When Does 2+2=3?

At the budget review committee of 25 March, Alderman Jette asked the Mayor what was the cost impact to the budget as a result of the recent events in the Assessor’s Office and the hiring of an Administrative Services Director. In paraphrasing the Mayor’s response: “well, the Chief Assessor’s salary was in the high $90s and the new Administrative Services Director’s salary will be $105,000; so it’s pretty much a wash. Our intent was to stay cost neutral.” So $105k less $97k equals $8,000. Add benefits to that, I’m guessing no less than 25 percent; that adds at least $2,000 for a gross differential of $10,000. Not quite cost neutral. In the overall scheme of reviewing a $317-million budget, $10,000 has absolutely no impact; but what if every department’s budget was based on similar “cost neutral” logic? And yes, there are potholes everywhere.