Should city employee be asking fellow workers to contribute to mayor’s honeymoon?
How would you feel if you got a company-wide email notifying you of the boss’ honeymoon fund and your opportunity to contribute?
That’s pretty much what happened in the City of Mukilteo, where The Everett Herald reports a city employee sent out an email to various departments informing them of Mayor Jennifer Gregerson upcoming marriage and a honeyfund.com page the couple had set up.
Herald writer Sharon Salyer reported: “Although requests for donations to events such as weddings, graduations and births are common in many offices, the question of city employees giving money to an elected official has raised some eyebrows.”
KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson also received a number of emails from listeners after the Herald released its report.
“A bunch of listeners got a hold of me after the Everett Herald ran this story, so I said I would try to get some information,” he said.
Rex Caldwell, the Management Services Director for the City of Mukilteo, confirmed the report, saying an employee named Carmen had sent out an email to most of the city’s 110 employees notifying them of the honeyfund.
“What had happened was we heard that the mayor was getting married and like any good workplace, it’s 110 folks here, it’s a big family, we take care of each other and try to have a good working relationship,” said Caldwell.
Monson asked if it was really appropriate considering the mayor is likely one of the highest paid people in the office. But Caldwell argued the mayor is not the highest paid.
“The mayor is by far not one of the highest paid employees of the city,” Caldwell said. “The directors, most of the police officers, firefighters and supervisors make more money than the mayor does, and enjoy better benefits than the mayor, which is an elected position.”
He said the mayor gets paid around $72,000 plus benefits.
Caldwell insisted the woman who sent the email was just trying to do a good deed.
“I can tell you honestly she sat in my office and cried over this because she’s shocked that people would question her motives and think this was wrong-headed,” he said.
It’s not that unusual a thing that they rally around office members during big life events, Caldwell said.
“Some other examples, we tragically lost relatives of two employees this year and some emails went out to try to provide support and arrange for memorials and cards,” said Caldwell. “We had a baby shower a couple of months ago that was also a registry item that went out to all the employees.”
Monson said he still thinks it’s a little different when it’s one of the company’s or city’s top dogs.
“If somebody sent out an email saying let’s send our senior manager on a beautiful Europe vacation, if I got that email, I would say ‘screw you’ to myself,” said Monson, who has a theory about why it might not seem like a big deal, particularly in a government office.
“I think politicians have become so accustomed to everybody else’s money because that is their life,” said Monson. “They’re so accustomed to everybody else’s money that when they ask for everybody else’s money so they can go to a spa in Monaco, it doesn’t strike them as unusual.”