So, based upon the recommendation of a resident-appointed committee, the board of commissioners has voted itself a raise â€” with the stipulation that no one currently on the board receives this raise, unless they win re-election.
How convenient. Also, what unmitigated gall.
Letâ€™s face it, politics being what it is, the overwhelming majority of incumbents usually win when running to retain their seats.
But thatâ€™s not here nor there. The real question is, why are the commissioners getting paid at all? After all, no one held a gun to their heads or twisted their arms behind their backs and forced them to run for elected office. They chose to become public servants (although lately it appears the commissioners seemed to have forgotten that).
Itâ€™s nonsense for vice chairman Carroll Mitchem to bemoan how uncomfortable he felt voting himself a raise (notice how he already expects it?), or to state the average person doesnâ€™t know how much time the position requires.
We wouldnâ€™t be at all surprised if there are citizens of Lincoln County who faithfully attend meetings month in and month out, who keep themselves appraised of what goes on and who do the research. If there are such residents, theyâ€™re putting in enormous amounts of time and arenâ€™t getting paid. So why should our commissioners?
So, if the justification for getting paid is the element of time, thereâ€™s a simple solution. Donâ€™t run for re-election. Then your time will be freed up and perhaps your seat will be filled by someone who truly understands, appreciates and respects what service to the people really means.
Now, granted, the pay each board member receives is only several thousand dollars apiece (currently $4,800 per year, which shoots up to $7,200 per year; the chairman currently receives $6,000 per year and will jump up to $8,400 per year) but taken together, that money would be better used funding a new salaried position so desperately needed in any one of several departments.
Of course, our board of commissioners might claim that other counties pay their elected officials and that others have voted themselves raises. However, we arenâ€™t concerned with other counties, weâ€™re concerned with Lincoln County. Nothing says we have to follow suit.
As many a parent has often told their progeny, â€œIf your friends decided to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, would you do it?â€
In other words, just because others are doing it doesnâ€™t make it right. Nor does it mean we also have to do it.by Steve Steiner