After our earlier post regarding raises for Boise’s Mayor and City Council, readers prompted us to actually take a position on the proposed ordinance which will be considered today at first reading.
The GUARDIAN sent the following letter to each member of the City Council.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I posted a GUARDIAN STORY about the pending ordinance granting yourselves pay raises in my usual acerbic tone and was pleasantly surprised with the well reasoned comments from the readers.
In short, folks aren’t opposed to giving each of you and the Mayor pay hikes, but they don’t think you should have the right to grant the raises to yourselves. I share that sentiment.
I would like to suggest that you introduce an alternative ordinance that would go into affect AFTER the last one of your terms’ expires. That way at “contract renewal time” you start at a new wage–approved by the previous council. We don’t have longevity bonuses for politicians. Each of you–just like congress and the legislature–get equal pay.
Arguments about not getting raises for many years are simply invalid. Each of you ran for office within the past three years and agreed with the citizens to serve us for a period of four years and–by implication–at the prevailing wage. There was no mention during campaigns of, “Elect me now, but I reserve the right to take more at my discretion.” You also have no expectation of serving more than four years unless citizens decide to rehire you and extend your contract.
That said, I would gladly support an effort to codify the idea of standing for election before receiving a pay hike and applaud each of you for taking the ethical high ground. As for the $150 monthly expense, just ask yourselves if other staffers deserve it for the meetings they attend. I also think the city would be able to provide cell phones at a group rate just like they do for coppers–but the billing would of course be a public record. My fear is future councilors could let things get out of control like the Kempthorne days when the car allowance would have made payments on the finest vehicles on the market. We must also never forget the “P-Card” abuse which began as a cost saving measure to cut administrative work on petty expenses.”
Thanks for your consideration and I would be happy to hear thoughts from each of you.
DAVID R. FRAZIER
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