Short takes on the news
Good deal • For the sake of mentally ill Salt Lake County residents and their caregivers, the county and Valley Mental Health, a major service provider, sat down and hammered out a deal to keep 1,400 on the patient lists of their current counselors. To make it happen, the county transferred a respite care program from VMH to the county's managed care contractor, Optum Health, which will be more efficient at administering the program. Respite care provides short-term care to patients so their caregivers can get a break. VMH had threatened to shrink its client rolls by about 2,200 people due to budget constraints. Now about 750 will be dropped by VMH and will have to find alternatives to their current counselors. That is bad enough for people in a fragile mental state, but far better than throwing thousands into mental-health crises.
Wrong wages • No, no, no. When critics called on the Utah Transit Authority to cut exorbitant pay, they were not referring to the wages of part-time bus drivers. No matter. Top UTA executives will continue to receive huge bonuses, whether or not some part-timers get an extra $15 or so per day. The change UTA will make in compensation means those drivers who work only during peak rider hours in the morning and afternoon will no longer be paid a two-hour minimum. At an hourly rate of between $14 and $19, it will take a long while for the savings to match what could be realized by trimming the $750,000 in bonuses shared by the top UTA execs. And the cost in terms of trust and loyalty among riders and taxpayers is hard to measure. Still, the drivers' contract does say they will be paid for the time worked. And the contracts of officials promise bonuses. Fairness is not part of either bargain.
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