This is a letter to the editor written by Elizabeth Quadrozzi, whose husband formerly served as president of the Ithaca Professional Firefighters Association. It was not written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit letters to the editor, please send them to Matt Butler at

No one wants to work in Ithaca.

It’s true for the school district, and as the public comment at the recent Common Council meeting showed, it’s true for the city as well.


It’s not just about pay. People will stay in a job when they feel respected and valued. Sure, people expect compensation equal to their peers, and need to make enough money to support their families. But what kept coming up at the Common Council meeting was the lack of respect city workers feel from the city’s negotiating team.

Mayor Lewis was on the defensive, and even released a press release the next day affirming her faith in the negotiating team. I wonder, is the mayor in the room where it happens? Is she sitting next to the city attorney as he addresses the various unions within the city? Again, she seems to just think this is about pay, and routinely alludes to increasing costs within the city. But respect is free. So is open dialogue with the people who keep the city running each day. 

Speaking of pay, most city employees (like school district employees) can not afford to live in the city. The city attorney’s salary is more than $100k—much more than most city employees. It begs the question—who does Mayor Lewis want on her side, and why?

The city of Ithaca has seen unprecedented development in the last ten years, all while decreasing staffing. Many long-term employees are going to retire, and there is no one to replace them. Who will feel the effects of today’s actions and contracts? City taxpayers will no doubt see reduced services for the next 20 years if actions are not taken to reverse the trend.

Elizabeth Quadrozzi