Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Itís time to stop politiciansí greed

    Last summer, I served on a Citizens Committee appointed by the Blaine County Commission to review salary levels for all Blaine County employees, including county commissioners.
    Our analysis compared Blaine County employee and commissioner salaries with all Idaho counties and major resorts in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.  At that time we determined the commissioner salary level of $55,434 was adequate. They ignored our recommendation and granted themselves a raise to $61,520. Compounding this arrogance, they have now decided to grant themselves another raise to $81,900 for a total salary increase of $26,446 for each commissioner in the last two years. 
    Blaine County commissioner salary levels will now be second only to Ada County, the most populous county in the state. This is on top a generous benefit package that exceeds the level of benefits provided by virtually any private employer in Blaine County. They are also proposing to raise the sheriff’s salary to $102,800; by comparison, the Ada County sheriff receives $100,400. Our elected officials seem to be taking a page from the greed displayed by officials in Bell, California.
    Sadly, the ability of elected officials to grant themselves increases with little public oversight exists elsewhere in our valley. For example, the Sun Valley City Council members also have the right to set their own salary and benefit programs. Furthermore, because of prior Sun Valley administrations, our current Sun Valley City Council members now receive a more extensive level of benefits than similarly positioned Sun Valley city employees receive.  Citizens need to put a stop to our elected officials’ unfettered ability to grant themselves generous salary and benefit packages.
Jim Bronson
Sun Valley

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