Kodak paid Fisher $2 million in base pay plus more than $5 million in other compensation in 1996. This May, he also exercised stock options worth $4 million.
"If Fisher took a 10 percent cut in pay, you could keep my department," says one 16-year Kodaker who wouldn't give her name.
Last week's announcement of 10,000 new job reductions seemed to cap a long process of disenchantment for workers.
"Our trust is in the Lord," worker Maggie MacQuarrie told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, "not in Kodak."
Some worry that cutbacks at Kodak could threaten a revival brewing in Rochester's nearly dormant downtown.
A section called High Falls -- named after the Genesee River's dramatic plunge nearby -- is often compared to Baltimore's Inner Harbor. In the last year, it has gained a brew pub, nightclub and Frontier Field, home of the Rochester Red Wings, the Orioles top minor-league team. But the economic anchor remains Kodak.
Even so, many in Rochester -- including many employees -- say Kodak is right to lay workers off if that's the cost of staying competitive in the 1990s. Tales of Kodak flab and bureaucracy are part of the local lore. Many would rather see a strong but smaller Kodak than no Kodak at all.
"We've tried to make the changes the last few years, but it's been too little, too late," says Steve Robida, a computer technician who might get laid off after 15 years. "Maybe this will make the difference. We can only hope."
Mayor William A. Johnson Jr. is among those hoping that Rochester's economy can "absorb" another few thousand workers without causing a recession.
"How much can we take?" Johnson says. "What is the straw that breaks the camel's back? I certainly hope this is not it."
Kent Gardner, an economist whose Center for Governmental Research is among the many local organizations to see its corporate support from Kodak dwindle, is more optimistic.
Gardner argues that Rochester has benefited from Kodak's cutbacks. The city is now less dependent on a single company. Many talented workers who might have made little difference within the sprawling Kodak bureaucracy have started their own businesses.
And he thinks Rochester is still enough of a company town that workers and others are willing to suffer so long as Kodak can regain its competitive edge.
"You don't find many people who are very angry with Kodak," Gardner says. "People understand that the long-run interest of Rochester is the long-term self-interest of the company."