Our View: Board pay hike unnecessary

January 17, 2007 12:00 am

We're glad to see the County Board decided not to give itself a pay raise Tuesday. Tough elected officials do so all the time, there's something unseemly about it.

Indeed, elected officials didn't run for the money and benefits – or at least we hope they don't. Concerning our own county board, their campaigns focused on changing policies and improving the quality of life for Del Norte residents. We're not quite clear how taking more money from the taxpayer's till, even if a nominal amount, achieves those campaign pledges.

Ultimately, the issue comes down to maintaining voters' trust. At a time when turnout for local elections and faith in government's honesty are extremely low, elected officials can't afford to make decisions that feed apathy and distrust. Giving oneself a pay raise – especially when the board has two new members, only abets people's cynicism.

It's quite possible that county board supervisors ought to be paid more, given the enormous time commitment. In the supervisor's case, it would be a wash as the county has mandated a 5 percent payroll deduction for health insurance. But we're all paying more for health insurance, and most of us aren't getting a pay increase to cover the difference. It's difficult to feel sympathetic to supervisors about their dilemma.

Still, as health insurance prices and the cost of living likely will increase, we wouldn't mind if supervisors during the next couple of years do approve a pay raise – so long as it's for the winner of their seats following the next election.