I might take an unpopular stance here, but that’s nothing new for me. I think Warren County commissioners should receive a raise occasionally.
Commissioner Terry Bell attempted to provide them with a $40 increase to their $260 monthly salary. He’s leaving office so now would be the time to make a suggestion such as that. You aren’t raising your own salary, because you won’t be getting one. Nice attempt, but it failed due to lack of a second.
During his motion, he stated the additional $40 would only be paid to commissioners who attend the meeting. I think that was an attempt to garner support for the motion. He knows some commissioners aren’t happy with the fact other commissioners skip monthly meetings but they still get paid. Hence, mark that $40 as an incentive to attend.
Just between us, I’m not sure the stipulation would have passed legal consideration. Lawyers have already determined the monthly payment cannot be tied to attendance. I’m not sure the additional payment of $40 would be viewed differently. However, I’m not an attorney. That was yet to be determined.
Commissioners' salary has been at $260 for 20 years or longer, if Bell was right. That’s a long time without an increase. Apparently, some find it difficult to give themselves a raise. I understand the hesitancy. I don’t share in it, but I understand it. If it were in my authority, I’d give myself a raise because elected officials are ruining my life – that’s a joke, with a hint of "yes, you are." Just so you know, that made me laugh.
I have a solution. Why not tie the county commissioner’s monthly salaries to the county executive’s annual salary? The county executive’s salary is set by the state and so are the raises. That position currently pays $86,941. If the two were tied together, commissioners would have received $301 per month.
For the 2018-19 fiscal year, the state decided the county executive deserved a 4.66 percent salary increase. The pay is now $90,992. If the two were tied, the commissioners' monthly salary would increase to $315.
Again, I am not an attorney. I’m unsure if it’s legally possible to tie the two together. However, if it were, that would put a stop to commissioners going 20 years without a pay increase. I couldn’t imagine that. Over a four-year period, they make $12,480. That’s not too shabby, but it’s not a huge amount of money for four years.
I would not ever be in favor of increasing the committee meeting pay. It’s at $25, if you attend. That’s enough, in my humble opinion. Those meetings last between 15-60 minutes. Making $25 for an hour is very decent money. I’d take it.
I hope a county commissioner makes a motion during the full Warren County Commission meeting on Aug. 20 at 6:30 p.m. to amend the proposed budget to include a $40 increase on the monthly salary of commissioners.
Any commissioners can make the motion. It’s not too late.
Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.