So, in the end, the Linn County Board of Supervisors votes 4-1 to raise its pay from $74,362.98 to $94,812.80. Supervisors Ben Rogers, Lu Barron, Linda Langston and John Harris voted yes. Supervisor Brent Oleson voted no, without comment.
Backers' continued trying to spin this as a necessary vote to lift the supervisors' job from a lowly "part-time" position to a full-time one. But the truth is this board is already working full-time while earning a full-time salary. The only thing that this vote really changes is the size of the paycheck. No constituent benefits, no public services are expanded or improved, no part of government is made more responsive or efficient.
Supervisors will get paid more starting July 1. That's it.
The board did vote to trim annual raises for county elected officials proposed by the Compensation Board, slicing them from 4 percent to 2 percent on both July 1 and January 1. Quite a sacrifice.
I know, I know. Get over it. It's no big deal. A fraction of the budget. Who cares?
Tough to say. But I do know if their constituents had been the ones voting Today, I think it would have failed in a landslide. Of course, that can't happen. But I still think it counts for something. At least it should.
Now, I'm not suggesting that elected officials should never do anything unpopular. But they should at least ask themselves, am I doing this unpopular thing to benefit the common good, to help my constituents, or am I doing it to benefit myself, or my career, or some very narrow interest? Sometimes that question is tough to answer. But sometimes it's easy.
I don't think this pay increase passes that test. And I think that should bother people, regardless of the smallness of its fractional budgetary effect. It's a lousy decision made for flimsy reasons, and likely contrary to the wishes of the people who will pay for it. I think we've had enough of that from our government, at all levels.