Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Share the pain

When will the fact that the nation's economy suffered a deep and lasting drop following the Great Crash of 2008 sink in to local public officials?

While people with jobs in the private sector have seen local home values drop and incomes stagnate or disappear, those in the public sector seem to be getting off unscathed.

The latest assault on the public purse was this week when Blaine County commissioners welcomed the suggestion that they're underpaid and should consider raising salaries for their offices.

County Administrator Derek Voss said that data gathered by his office suggested that instead of the $55,434 the commissioners make now, that a "market-rate" wage would be $90,147—46 percent more than the county's median household income.

That would be a whopping 63 percent increase and put a commissioner's salary second only to Ada County's $95,524.

Voss should look again.

Blaine County commissioners are the eighth highest paid in Idaho behind Ada, Canyon, Kootenai, Bonneville, Nez Perce, Bannock and Bingham counties with their far larger populations, economies and numbers of employees. And unlike local business owners and employees whose fortunes rise and fall with local economic conditions, commissioners take no market risk at all.

Ten years ago, commissioners did the work that a county administrator and human resources officer do today. The addition of those positions helped them do what they're elected to do: make policy. It also lightened their loads.

Property taxes give government a stable revenue base, but they shouldn't be a license to abuse taxpayers in troubled times. Blaine County isn't Wall Street and elected officials need to recognize that the 2.29 people living in each household with a median household income of $61,854 are still struggling to adjust to a new normal.

Elected officials and public employees need to share the pain, not ignore it or rub salt in a festering wound.

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.