When we wrote how Register of Willis Ron Donatucci was setting an example for elected officials by giving back 5 percent of his salary for the rest of the year, we heard a few grumblings that Donatucci's' 67-employee operation, all appointees, represents the city's greatest patronage operation this side of the Parking Authority.
That may be hard to argue with, but at least they're willing to pitch in during a budget crisis. Donatucci said his staff came into his office today and offered to take an unpaid day off this year to help him trim his budget close to 10 percent. "They said they'd like to give me an early Thanksgiving/Christmas present," said Donatucci. "Under the ethics law, I can accept that, yes?"
Donatucci said he was deeply touched, because some employees would have difficulty making this sacrifice. He actually got a little misty. "Isn't that nice?" he said. "To me that means a lot, to see that type of spirit. Who knows, maybe some of the other offices will follow suit."
Mayor Nutter has ordered all non-civil-service employees making over $50,000 to take an unpaid week of vacation this year and next, which amounts to slightly less than 2 percent in salary. Several City Council members have volunteered for a six-month, 5 percent cut, though others have rejected the idea as a meaningless gesture.
Donatucci said he and nine supervisors and deputies will take a 5 percent pay cut, and leave three vacant positions open. That brings his office down to 64 employees. When The Inquirer crowned him "The Prince of Patronage" in 1994 series, Donatucci had 86 positions.
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