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OUR VIEW: County commission makes right call by not raising pay

The Davison County Commission made a wise, frugal and modest decision last week when its members voted to not give themselves a pay raise for the coming year. 

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In a 3-2 vote, commissioners decided to keep their salary at its current rate, which is $14,803.09 annually. Last year at this time, commissioners voted to raise their pay 5.7 percent. We understood the need for semi-regular raises, but felt 5.7 percent was exorbitant.

This year, a motion was made by Gerald Weiss to raise commissioners’ pay 1 percent plus 25 cents per hour. After it received no second, Weiss motioned to leave commissioner pay as it is for 2014.

Voting to leave the pay the same were Weiss, Kim Weitala and Randy Reider. John Claggett and Denny Kiner voted against the measure, although there was apparently some sort of mixup with Kiner’s vote, because he later said that while he had some concerns about it, he favored keeping the commissioners’ pay unchanged.

We appreciate the commissioners and the work they do. We also feel they are compensated fairly for their efforts. They have to understand that their leadership on this issue sets the tone for every county employee.

Raising their own pay 5.7 percent last year was too much. By not giving themselves a raise this year, they have evened out last year’s decision and made it more palatable to the public.

Again, they deserve credit for their decision.

In the future, we ask that they continue to be careful about how they spend the public’s money. We aren’t saying they don’t deserve raises (and sometimes, they may not deserve it), but raises for government employees and elected officials will always be highly scrutinized and must be supported by clear logic. Modest, annual increases to keep pace with inflation are probably best, rather than periodic bursts of higher pay, which are sure to raise the public’s ire.