City Salary Freeze

3 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2017

See all articles by Phillip E. Pfeifer

Phillip E. Pfeifer

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business


Mayor Anthony Lee has asked his assistant to begin the analysis of a recent survey of city residents to help him decide between freezing the salaries of city employees and cutting back on city services. There is a supplemental spreadsheet available for students (UVA-QA-0794X).



Jul. 9, 2012

City Salary Freeze

Like the mayors of other major U.S. cities, Mayor Anthony Lee faced a set of difficult budget choices. The recent recession had lowered total tax revenues, and the fiscally conservative Republican was committed to making commensurate cuts in the city budget. Ever mindful of his campaign promise to serve the collective will of the people, Lee turned to the city's annual resident survey for guidance.

At the risk of oversimplifying the situation, Lee saw it as a choice between services and salaries. The city either needed to cut back on the services it provided (e.g., police, fire, parks, sanitation, etc.) or freeze the salaries of its employees. A recent attempt to freeze city salaries had been unsuccessful, in part, due to the massive and effective public relations campaign launched by Services Employees International Union Local 712, the city's largest public employees union. If a salary freeze was to be implemented for the upcoming year, Lee hoped the recent survey would provide him the ammunition needed to support it.

Political reality (Lee desperately wanted to be reelected for a second term) meant that the “collective will of the people” actually connoted “people who vote” and, more cynically, people who could help reelect Lee. Consequently, he would pay the most attention to those residents who claimed no party preference (NPP) and the least attention to residents claiming to be Democrats.

. . .

Keywords: statistics, survey, salaries, chi-square test

Suggested Citation

Pfeifer, Phillip E., City Salary Freeze. Darden Case No. UVA-QA-0794, Available at SSRN:

Phillip E. Pfeifer (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-4803 (Phone)


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