Pork and Politics Politicians Squeal Like a Pig over Pay Raise.
By Chuck Wilkins 07/15/2016
I’m never surprised at the actions of this Governing Body anymore, but I am fundamentally disappointed at their decision during the July 13 th meeting. 4 months ago our community voted on 11 charter amendments, one being a pay raise for the Mayor. 10 ballot items passed and 1 did not. The pay raise for the Mayor was the only item voted down. The Governing Body, in their infinite wisdom, decided to give the pay raise anyway on Wednesday. During the agenda item a couple of citizens spoke against this. The Mayor, disgracefully out of protocol, cross-examined these citizens at the podium. This type of intimidation does not promote citizen interaction, and reveals Mr. Hull’s real intentions and why he ran for Mayor. Mr. David Heil, who spoke in favor of the raise did not get the 3rd degree, but then we know that Mr. Heil is just an extension of the Mayor. Mr. Heil’s logic was that the voters didn’t understand what they were voting for, and by voting “no” voters put it back into the Governing Body’s hand to take care of it. Really? Could it be the voters believe the Mayor’s real duties warrant the current pay, benefits and expense budget? Mr. Heil believes that voters understood 10 of the 11 amendments, just not the pay raise? What arrogant nonsense. Please remember this when you vote in November, since Mr. Heil is running for County Commission. If you think that was bad enough, brace yourselves. Taking cues from the Federal Government, our Governing Body believes it has found a justifiable way around the voters. Councilor Smith takes the ordinance and spins the truth by stating that it is unconstitutional to leave it the way it is. Why? The current city ordinance mandates an automatic annual 3% Governing Body pay raise, but state law says you cannot receive a pay raise while in office. A simple language change in the ordinance would easily rectify this by stating that the 3% accumulates but is not applied until the next official takes office. In a nutshell, they are adding “pork” to something that could be a simple fix. The pork barrel spending spins it into a 100% pay raise for the Mayor. Exactly what the voters rejected. During Mayor Hull’s cross-examination of one citizen speaker, he asked the gentleman what he would do if he was hired part-time and then was told he had to work full-time for the same pay? Give me a break. The Mayor campaigned on the premise that he was the “first full-time Mayor”. Maybe he is now concerned with what the pay will be when he or his friends run again. How about a pledge from the Governing Body members ( and Charter Committee members) that they will not seek election in 2018. Heil and Smith cite “changes in duties” as vindication for why the Mayor should double in pay. One “duty” added was for the Mayor to convene and lead an annual meeting of the Governing Body to discuss and identify the city’s goals and priorities. Simple enough. Yet our current Mayor farmed it out and paid a facilitator to run a modest meeting with 6 others to discuss goals and priorities. Are we even getting what we currently pay for?
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