Leadership demands that commissioners cut their pay
Hernando TodayThe issue: Commissioners' pay.
Published: October 1, 2009
Published: October 1, 2009
Our opinion: County bosses should donate at least 5 percent of their salary back to the county's general fund.
If Hernando County commissioners expect county employees to suck it up, understand that the local economy is in the toilet and take 10 unpaid furlough days to help the county meet its revenue shortfalls, commissioners need to do the same.
And we're not talking about donating 5 percent of their $60,000-plus income to worthy causes or designating where the money is spent.
We want all five county commissioners to give back 5 percent of their pay to the county's general fund so that spending can be reduced for all taxpayers. Heck, 10 percent would be even better. With benefits, commissioner rake in more than $70,000 annually. Not bad for a part-time job.
Allowing commissioners to designate where the money will go or to donate it to their favorite charity completely misses the point.
It's about reducing the cost of county government, not making political hay with a donation to underprivileged students or abandoned and neglected animals. This isn't about making yourself look good to gain more votes in the next election. It's not about getting a hefty tax write off either.
It's about spending less of our tax dollars so that taxpayers don't have to put so much into running a bloated government that wastes millions of tax dollars each year. Can you say "repave the Suncoast Parkway bike trail for $1.27 million?"
Nuts, huh? The list goes on and on.
Besides, it's only fair if commissioners expect every other county employee to take one for the team. County employees don't get to select their favorite charity to donate the savings in furlough days. They don't get to write it off on their taxes. They simply get paychecks with a lower number in the upper right-hand corner. They get to spend less at the grocery store that week and skip going to the movies.
We encourage commissioners to donate to local charities, provide scholarships to deserving students, help neglected and abandoned animals have a better life and give to their churches. It's the right thing to do.
But this isn't about charity. It's about cutting their pay. It's about spending less money. It's about sharing in the pain that they expect their employees to endure. It's about living in the real world of Hernando County where just about every other employee and business owner has seen dramatically less income in the past year.
It's about a 13 percent unemployment rate and no milk in the fridge.
Most of all, it's about fairness, and it's past time that our county commissioners understood what's expected of being a leader on this issue.