Time for a raise
Several local seats will go uncontested in the November
With a dearth of candidates, there will be little debate on the
everyday issues closest to peoples lives.
Why are there so few? Perhaps its the work involved in
public service versus the rewards.
Local council members and county commissioners supposedly serve
part-time. In reality, the jobs are closer to full time. County Commission chairman
Maryann Mix says she works 60 to 70 hours a week on county business in addition to her
Elected officials must study everything from sewer loads to urban
design. They must endure endless meetings and hearings. They must answer questions from
the press. They must face highly paid professionalslawyers, engineers and
architects--working on the clock for well-heeled clients.
By and large, their compensation is inadequate relative to the
time and effort the jobs require. Including benefits, if provided, here are some sample
annual compensation levels for members of the following bodies: Ketchum Council, $14,104;
Sun Valley Council, $12,328; Hailey Council, $12,000; Bellevue Council, $1,200. Blaine
County Commissioners receive $26,208 annually including benefits.
On a full-time basis, the compensation ranges from a low of 58
cents an hour in Bellevue, to a high of $12.60 an hour for a county
commissionerhardly executive salaries.
If valley residents are to get the representation they deserve, if
elected seats are not to go begging, we need to give public officials a raise.