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County sending wrong message to rank and file, taxpayers

Hernando Today Hernando Today
Published:   |   Updated: March 7, 2013 at 04:25 PM

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ISSUE: Giving raises to highly paid administrators when county is facing general budget shortfall.

OUR OPINION: County needs to take on more of a business mentality.

Suffice to say in normal times promotions usually bring with them extra compensation.

These are not normal times and it is downright bad policy to give raises to people making $70,000 and much more for taking on additional collateral duties.

To begin with, one of the newly promoted assistant administrators was demoted in 2010 from a "director" to a "manager" and the county commission failed to heed the recommendation of the then-county administrator to reduce his pay as he had less responsibility.

The county cannot afford to keep paying administrators, directors and managers such exorbitant salaries, especially when the county is facing another significant budget shortfall for next fiscal year.

Instances like this send the wrong message to the rank and file workers who make far less in most cases.

It also gives the impression there is no fiscal accountability in county government.

The problem with government is the money they are spending — and giving raises with — is not theirs.

County government needs to emulate the private sector if it wants to be successful moving forward.

With several commissioners having a business background, a fair question to ask them is whether they would run their personal business the way county government is currently being run? Everyone knows the answer to that question.

While it was stated that there was a saving as a result of the reorganization, that saving could have been even more to the benefit of the taxpayer if the raises were not given at all.

There should be willingness on the part of the highly paid administrators that in view of the dire straits of the county's financial situation they could have agreed to take the new positions at their current salaries.

After all, they put their names in the hat to be considered for the jobs and could have provided leadership and an example to others of putting duty above self.

However, leadership seems to be a trait that is lacking in this county government these days.

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