In Barbour County, we pay each of our three Commissioners $27,720 per year for their part-time work, and it seems to me we should be able to hire some pretty high quality help for that kind of money.
Some power and influence also attaches to the position, so folks who get the job of county commissioner really like to hold on to it. They put a lot of effort into getting re-elected, and they sometimes rely on the short memory of the voters to help them accomplish that. They are elected to six-year terms, so if they haven't served us well; if they've been arrogant or callous in their treatment of us and our concerns, they hope we've forgotten all that by election day. This election day, let's not forget.
Not so very long ago the commissioners were paying the salary of a county employee who did nothing but stay home and collect the check. This continued for months, and when the tax payers showed up at the courthouse to protest the giving away of their money, the commissioners went into closed session, locking the citizens out of the meeting. And they continued as they pleased until county residents circulated a petition demanding change, and legal action was taken to force commissioners to stop paying the unearned salary. Remember that?
Further, the Commission had an agreement with Animal Friends of Barbour County that no animals would be killed at the county pound until AFBC was notified and given opportunity to rescue them. The commissioners then callously disregarded their agreement and ordered seven dogs killed. When asked about it, a commissioner snidely remarked that since AFBC had requested some operational funds, the Commission assumed they couldn't afford to take the dogs.
Please contrast the two: On the one hand you have the commissioners literally giving away tax payers' money to an individual who was performing no service for the community, until they were forced to stop; and on the other hand, you have a group of residents performing a service of inestimable value to the community, at their own expense, and they can't even get respect from the commissioners, much less a few dollars to help with the rescue of hundreds of abused and abandoned animals that used to turn up on our county roads as rotting carcasses.
Who put these people in office? We did. Whose money are they spending? Ours. Who pays their salary? We do.
Ask yourself this: if you had a part-time job making $27,720 a year, how would you treat your employer? We need to elect people who respect us and our concerns, and the tax dollars entrusted to them, and the salaries we pay them.
Across the state, there are variances in the number of commissioners serving each county, and the amounts they are paid, but respect is universal; what ever we pay them they owe us that. And we should never settle for less.