House of Cards
By Mark Scott
So the powers-that-be think to override the decision of the voters (just a few months ago) and give themselves a pay raise anyway. Here’s a top six list for those of you whose #PokemonGo didn’t take you to city hall to watch this circus on Wednesday night.
Top list of excuses given at the July 13th Governing Body meeting for why we should be hunky dory with them overriding the will of the voters:
Excuse #6- “There is less corruption” –Wait, did I miss something? That’s right. They spent a large part of the discussion in the weeds talking about why they believe a mayor-weak system is less corruptible than a mayor-strong system. Umm, those of us who have spent four years at city hall know there is much evidence to the contrary. Have you seen House of Cards?
Excuse #5- “More mayoral duties” – These fabricated duties are window dressing. Remember the phrase a few years back “You can put lipstick on a pig…”?
Excuse #4- “We’re the 3rd largest city”- Guess that means we get the bragging rights and prestige of over-paying our Mayor to be a glorified mascot who moderates three meetings a month.
Excuse #3- “The laymen didn’t understand what they were voting for.” – Since the lay-person-turned-voter knew enough to vote yes on ten of the ballot items, yet managed to vote against the pay raise item, it would seem this was a conscious decision. Maybe aliens came up from Roswell to interfere with the voting process…
Excuse #2- “We need higher pay to attract other qualified people.” – Never fear, the geriatrics aren’t taking over city hall now. Yes, young people are lining up at the Clerk’s office to quit their jobs and run for Mayor of Rio Rancho now that the pay is $60,000 a year. If the newly enacted code of ethics doesn’t scare the motivation out of them, there’s still the fact that it’s a temporary position with no security and no real responsibility. Reality check – we’ll still be drawing from the same gene pool of those brave enough or stupid enough to walk the mine field of politics.
And the #1 excuse for overriding the citizens – “The pay raise isn’t for us, it’s for the future”. Yes folks, the future. We all know that none of our Governing Body members have ever held office before. Unless you count former Mayor Owen, former Councilor Feuer and three-time Councilor/two-time County Commissioner Bency (Although Bency voted against the pay raise). It’s not unheard of for politicians to protect their own interests…just in case.
The one thing nobody discussed? Median vs. mean household income. I suppose they thought it would be more palatable for the voters to swallow a slightly lesser amount, although still a 100% increase. Therefore, what was put to the voters was changed in the ordinance to reflect the Mayor’s pay would be based on median (instead of mean) household income. Yet it’s still HOUSEHOLD income, not individual income. Give a mouse a cookie, he’s gonna want a glass of milk.
It’s as simple as this: The voters spoke. The politicians didn’t like the answer. They found a loophole to get their way.