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For the week of Oct. 6, 1999 through Oct. 12, 1999

Time for a raise

Several local seats will go uncontested in the November election.

With a dearth of candidates, there will be little debate on the everyday issues closest to people’s lives.

Why are there so few? Perhaps it’s 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 main job.

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 professionals—lawyers, 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 commissioner—hardly 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.


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Copyright 1999 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.