I could say that I’m not good at math, but that would disappoint my fifth grade math teacher, Laura Polk. I could say that I hardly make mistakes, but that would be untruthful and disappoint everyone who believes in veracity and upright living. What I will say is that I simply did not have all of the information.
In last week’s paper, I pointed out how the current Charter Review Commission is looking at placing an item on the November 2018 general election ballot, a measure to allow the annual salaries of county commissioners be raised 89 percent. I pointed out how the state statute shows a formula to compute the salaries for these part-time jobs.
Since that time, Art Hooker, a member of the Charter Review Commission (see his letter to the editor), pointed out how the Florida Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research uses an entirely different formula to calculate the BCC member’s salaries. According to the report titled “Salaries of Elected County Constitutional Officers and School District Officials for Fiscal Year 2017-18,” Clay County Commissioners should be paid $73,686 a year, not the $70,000 the CRC wishes to propose. BCC members are currently paid $37,000 a year, a rate that was set by a county charter amendment that voters overwhelmingly approved in November 2008 by a margin of 82 percent yes and 14 percent no.
The other issue at hand, which could very well be construed as a canned talking point is that, in 2008, the voters were angry at county commissioners “for not doing their jobs.” That is a stretch, at best, unless each and every voter was questioned why they cast a yes vote in 2008. Total conjecture.
One of the points I made last week is still valid. Just because commissioners in other counties are getting paid based on the state’s chart, it doesn’t mean voters should rush out and immediately begin begging the BCC to let us raise their salary.
Since we posted this news on our Facebook page, voters have already weighed in and the majority seem to be pointing to no.
“Oh no, no, no! They don’t deserve this! They make jokes at every meeting about things that are very important to their constituents. This is what’s wrong with government, big and small,” posted Dana Spurrier.
Other comments were more low-key, but still voiced concerned.
“This will get passed under our noses if we don’t keep watch and stay diligent,” stated TaeJa Davis.
Others remarked that it’s sad that the BCC salary is currently higher than that of a first-year teacher, which is $35,000 annually.
“The question should be posed as to what the citizens can do to prevent this from happening. They all knew what the pay was prior to taking the positions if they didn’t like the pay they shouldn’t have accepted the position,” posted Danielle Copley.
So, each time to talk to school students about why a free press is foundational to the United States of America, I discuss facts.
It’s still a fact that their pay hike request equals 89 percent and it’s still a fact that when they ran for the BCC, they knew what their pay was going to be. It’s also still a fact that voters have spoken on this issue and the ink is barely dry on the ordinance, not even on the books a decade and they want to strip it away for their benefit.