As much as I enjoy covering local government, as rewarding and annoying as it can be, I’ve been remiss in my coverage of the County. I freely admit this. There are several reasons; 1. There hasn’t been a hot button issue that caught my interest (other than the NDO, which I did cover), and 2. The County Commission while representing a far greater constituency just isn’t as sexy, from a political standpoint. Sorry folks, nothing personal, that’s just been my perspective.
That perspective may have changed after yesterday’s discussion at the County.
County Commissioners Sidney Chism and Joe Ford are pushing a plan to raise the pay of County Commissioners by $10,000. The reason, to attract more talent. That’s funny, I guess they don’t see themselves as talented enough to serve on the Commission.
Seriously though, as the article in the Commercial Appeal notes, County employees have gone without raises, yet these two Commissioners think it’s a good idea to raise their salary by nearly 25%. Classic.
This in the wake of budgetary shortfalls at all levels of government, not to mention the impact on the Memphis City Council, which ties their salaries to the County Commission. Remember, just weeks ago during the budget battle, Jim Strickland on the City government side were calling for a DECREASE in pay for City Council members (ht @laceycrisp)
I don’t know what these guys are thinking. In their district, which covers South Memphis, features zip codes whose HOUSEHOLD income is between $15,000 and $30,000 LESS than the 2007 US median household income. Further, they want to pay themselves nearly $20,000/yr. more as individuals than the household income for 38114, which they represent (Source).
Good luck in 2010 kids.
The second issue that came up yesterday is the ABSOLUTELY ASININE idea that a replacement needs to be seated for disgraced State Sen. Paul Stanley. As of right now, the first special election to replace Stanley (primary) will be held in about 65 days. The general election will likely be held just a few weeks after. There’s little danger of a special session, since the cost would likely break the bank in House and Senate per diem requests alone.
I understand where some of the Commissioners are going with this. The idea that they could put in a Democrat to represent a heavily Republican district is appealing to some, even if that person never served a day in the Legislature, but the rancor that would result is just not worth it for a couple of weeks in office.
Unless you have a REAL GOOD REASON to do this, leave it alone folks, or send me your real good reason via my Contact page.
So, County Commission, despite the valiant efforts of @mikecarpenter1 to inform the public of the County Commission’s goings on, from a seat on the platform no less, I guess I’ll have to start bugging them too, just like I do the City Council. Clearly the County Commission is thirsting for the same kind of attention that the City Council gets, and my mom always said you have to try and treat all the kids fairly and equally.
Now I just have to schedule an extra therapy session or two every month to wipe all the additional stupid I will inevitably hear, out of my brain…