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1998-06-12 14:59:43


The Exodus of the Programmers



Let's say that you are a COBOL programmer making under $40,000 a year. Let's say you get offered a raise of 25%, plus a bonus if you stay on the job through 2000, by a private firm.

Let's say goodbye.

Governments will not make it. Right now, they are like all those people who abandoned ship when the Titanic was about to go down. They're still breathing, but hypothermia will soon do its work.

Naturally, all those government employees who refuse to face the inevitable are convinced that the programmers should stay on the job. The programmers owe it to the community, and especially to other government employees. Of course, if the government threartened to cut the salaries of all non-IT employees to give money to the IT departments, the unions would threaten a strike.

"Stay on board! Don't quit! Risk your life in the city, too! See your home lose half its equity in 2000! Don't protect your family! You owe it! You owe it to the rest of us! If you quit, we'll lose our Civil Service-protected jobs!"

Money talks. Loyalty whispers.

This is from the CINCINNATI POST (April 23).

* * * * * * * * *

In the past year, the city of Cincinnati has lost 13 computer programmers and computer analysts to more attractive offers with private businesses.

Now, the city is fighting back.

Cincinnati City Council Wednes day was asked to approve pay increases for all the city's technical job classifications.

The increases are designed to make the city competitive in recruiting and retaining employees. . . .

''The city is experiencing an exodus of information technology talent,'' Shirey said in a memo to city council members last week.

''If we do not do something quickly, we will find ourselves unable to support computer systems development and/or having to pay premium rates for consultants to do the work for us,'' Shirey said.

Shirey said some city employees have gone to the private sector at base salary levels as much as 15 percent to 25 percent more than offered by the city.

They have also received performance and retention bonuses the city is unable to offer.

While not as hefty as that, the ordinance before council offers increases in pay range maximums between 3.9 percent to 13.4 percent.


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