On Dec. 13 in the article “Giving themselves a raise,” two greedy members of our community voted to give themselves more money instead of focusing on the needs of others around them. This is just like Congress, who every few years decide to vote on adding more to their pay also. Too much government I say.
The county commissioners’ average income is now $72,585 whereas compared to many teachers who earn $55,000 if they’re very, very lucky. They have not had ANY raises in years, and last I checked they have a bigger impact on the future kids than these “great leaders, the commissioners” (sarcasm implied). Instead of deciding to help in the city of Coeur d’Alene’s 10 year-plan to end homelessness or giving more care to the food bank or improving horrible schools with out-of-date books and equipment, they think they deserve the money more for doing “such a great job” (more sarcasm).
In the 2014 budget plan the commissioners decided to up our taxes by 1.5 percent for those of you who didn’t know. The Coeur d’Alene Press states in their article on Aug. 14 that “the county’s wage compensation was 16 percent below the market average.” This needs to change in Idaho. If they keep increasing taxes and who knows what else, most people will not have basic living needs. It will come down to deciding on eating food or paying the bills. Which would you choose? Instead of letting the commissioners decide how much they get, let democracy decide. A definition of democracy is “the practice or principles of social equality.” I didn’t read anywhere that the people had a say in this, no equal opportunity from the voice of us, “we the people.” On the Kootenai County website under Jai Nelson’s picture it states “Your voice in county government.” I don’t think anyone’s voice was present during this vote.
There are people who deserve better pay, from the staff that is underpaid at our schools to the average teen working at your local restaurant, and everyone in between. Yes, I am only 16 years of age. And sure, I don’t know everything, but I do notice when people are taking advantage. I only make $7.35 at Safeway which I think is highly unfair (and yes, I know, life isn’t fair, especially if you’re in the lower class in North Idaho). I push carts, bag customers’ groceries, sweep all the aisles and spills, I clean all the bathrooms and the break room, and change all the trash bags. If they honestly think they deserve a 2.5 percent raise for voting on county topics and taking interviews with the local paper while sitting on comfy chairs in a heated room, then I think a lot more people also deserve a 2.5 percent increase on their pay, and they deserve it for their actual hard work.
It is high time Idaho stopped being a right to work state and an uptight Republican state. Labor unions need to be more active, Idahoans need more compensation, and these three individuals don’t deserve it and frankly neither do the others they gave pay raises to. As Green said in his last statement, “I voted ‘no’ because elected office is not supposed to be a career. It is about public service. Some feel we need to pay more to attract qualified applicants, but if that encourages people to run for office then they are running for the wrong reason.” Which I might add is exactly why Nelson and Tondee need to get out of office and try working as a “common person” to see what it’s like.
Hats off to Dan Green and middle finger to Jai Nelson and Todd Tondee. Majority rules, not the minority; it’s time that changes.