Bonus in Form of Vouchers for Small Shops? LOVE IT!
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Posted by: Ester Venouziou
The Florida Public Services Union, which represents employees of the
City of St. Petersburg, is proposing an innovative plan that rewards city employees and helps locally owned, independent businesses: offer bonuses in form of a voucher that can be used only at small businesses!
They are presenting the following proposal to the
City Council Dec. 15.
In recognition of City workers' productivity and maintenance of basic
City services, the City shall offer a $500 bonus for the fiscal year
2) In recognition of the community’s harsh economic
conditions and the need for economic development, jobs and more money
directly flowing to the City’s small, locally-owned businesses, the $500
bonus will be distributed in the form of a voucher, script, or local
currency, which is redeemable *only* at locally-owned small business
establishments and will then be cashed in at the City.
City and the Union shall take a pre-determined amount of time to develop
the program with the assistance of the Small Business Enterprise and
Economic Development departments in the City. Such program development
would include determining the voucher, script or currency to be used,
and the active recruitment of small businesses who will agree to
participate in the program.
4) If the program proves unfeasible
by the predetermined date in section 3, the City shall pay the $500
bonus in the traditional fashion on the pay period following such date.
main point of dispute from the City may be that budget problems affect
its ability to find the money to fund the proposal. In a budget that
comprises hundreds of millions of dollars the question of where to
allocate funds comes down to priorities. We believe that the priority
of a direct infusion to the City's small local businesses is one that
not only will help to counter the economic impact of the Great
Recession, but will also create that economic loop between the City, its
workers and the small businesses. It would also create a
locally-focused economy that is sustainable and can survive whatever the
larger economy throws at us.
Perhaps the greatest end
result of this proposal is the way it can build real small democracy. By
its nature, it calls for collaboration and input from the small
business community on the design and implementation of the program and
ultimately on analyzing the results. If, as we suspect, the program is
successful, we can move to even more of this reciprocity between the
City, its 2,300 employees and the interests of local businesses and the
community at large.