Half Pay?

During all the hubbub with some the county commission budget committee members wanting to take the school building fund money, one member made a suggestion to help address the money shortfall in the county's general fund.

Commissioner Sharon Yarbrough, suggested commissioners should cut their own pay in half. That would save the county about forty thousand dollars per year. Not sure if this idea will get much support from the rest of the commission but this might be a good time to discuss commissioners pay and for that matter even school board members.

Currently, commissioners are paid a tad over $8,000.00 per year. The state sets the minimum pay for commissioners at $30 per meeting. School board members are paid $3,600.00 per year. Commissioners set the pay for both  themselves and school board members. School board members have been at the same pay for many years. Commissioners got a big pay raise back in 2007.

For years, commissioners were paid $500 per month or $6,000.00 per year. Back in 2007 under the leadership of former county mayor, Doyle Arp and with his recommendation, commissioners voted to pay themselves ten percent of the mayor's salary. Some might argue that that is a good way to get commissioners to approve a raise for the mayor if the commissioners would also get a raise every time the mayor got a raise. Currently the mayor's salary is a tad over $80,000.00.

Is $666.00 per month or $8,000.00 per year a fair salary for commissioners? Is $300.00 per month or $3,600.00 for school board members a fair salary? Should commissioners cut their salaries in half? They'll have to be the ones to decide that but I do have a alternate idea, one I brought up way back when I was on commission. An idea that seems fair to all.

Being one of them, I know there are expenses associated with being an elected official. It's not right to ask any elected official to work for nothing. Everyone is entitled to fair compensation for their work. Some of our elected representatives, BOE members and commissioners, put many hours in each month on local government matters, others might have no more than a few hours a month. The solution seems simple.

Why doesn't each commissioner and BOE member keep a monthly time sheet of the hours spent on local government business. Meetings attended, on site visits, phone calls, emails ETC.? Decide on a fair hourly amount, let's say $20.00 per hour, then at the end of each month, each commissioner and BOE member could turn in their time sheet to the finance department for their check. This is currently common practice for many other county employees. How does it get more fair than that.

The elected official, commissioner or BOE member, would be fairly compensated for their time working for the citizens and the citizens would be getting their moneys worth from their elected representatives. A win, win for everyone.

I didn't get a lot of support for the idea back in the day and don't know that any others would support the idea now. But, just a thought.