ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” story. It is an editorial by the editor.
It appears that the Dorr Township Supervisor, Clerk and Treasurer will be rebuffed in their attempt to secure a 5.3% pay increase for the next fiscal year. This short-sidedness on the part of the four trustees is a solid example of the old saying about being “penny wise and pound foolish.”
The township will save some nickels and dimes, but in the long run may find it regrettable that it’s difficult to find qualified public servants willing to work so cheaply.
Right now, Supervisor Jeff Miling, Clerk Brian Boot and Treasurer Jim Martin are paid an annual salary of $26,400 apiece. The figure is not out of line for a growing township that is beginning to demand more and more from its public officials.
The three have asked for a pay raise up to $27.800, which some trustees, particularly Patty Senneker, found objectionable.
Even customarily level-headed trustees Dan Weber and Josh Otto swallowed the tired old line of, “You knew what the pay was when you took the job.”
I say tired because I’m tired of the public beating up on their elected officials who aren’t really compensated all that much for what they do. I’m mostly weary of holding local officials’ feet to the fire while the real scoundrels, state legislators and congressmen, are treated like celebrities.
If Martin was correct, and I have no reason to contradict him, that Dorr Township officials until last year didn’t get a raise for 10 years, then the pay increase from $25,800 to $27,800 over the last two years is overdue.
If these elected officials had received cost of living raises of about 1.5% in each of those 10 years, then they would be 15% higher in pay now as opposed to 2005. If you add the 5.3% requested this year and the amount they received in 2014, the threesome would be getting a lot less than 15%.
The supervisor, clerk and treasurer do more than most people realize. Indeed, they are supposed to be in their offices at township hall only three days a week, but they’re on the job more often than that.
It sometimes is so bad that Boot supplements his income with other work on days he’s not in the office.
Somehow, in the interests of appearing to be smart in guarding precious taxpayer dollars, we lose sight of larger issues. And depressing wages of public servants who aren’t getting rich is not a sensible answer to the problem, in fact, it probably only exacerbates it.
I was particularly appalled by the comments of Senneker, who after losing to Miling in last August’s primary election crowed about making five times what he will as supervisor.
Don’t ever forget coffee huckster John Arbuckle’s comment that “You get what you for.” If you’re willing to settle for mediocre performance, pay ‘em mediocre wages.
We worry too much about the “high salaries” of township officials at the same time celebrities, athletes, state and national politicians and crooked financiers bring in a lot more into their coffers. And do they do as much for the people of Dorr Township as Boot, Miling and Martin? No.
The cost of giving all three raises they seek would be $4,200 in next year’s budget. And next year’s budget is for more than $1.3 million. Their increases would be a drop in the bucket.