Elected leaders get paid a piddling amount | Letter to the editor

Posted 12/3/21

The recommendation of the Port Townsend Salary Commission to raise the salary of city councilmembers from $500 to $700/month — up to a whole $800 by January 2028 — and to raise the …

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Elected leaders get paid a piddling amount | Letter to the editor

Posted

The recommendation of the Port Townsend Salary Commission to raise the salary of city councilmembers from $500 to $700/month — up to a whole $800 by January 2028 — and to raise the mayor’s salary from $750 to $1,025/month — up to $1,175 in January 2028 — fails to adequately address two fundamental issues. 

The first is the extreme burden it places on low-income people who wish to serve a community in which rents are increasingly unaffordable and significant initiatives on the part of developers seem destined to increase the proportion of retirees moving here. 

The second is the reality that from the number of uncontested races in our recent elections and the number of vacancies on the city’s volunteer commissions, it’s clear that fewer and fewer people are drawn to serve in a governmental capacity. 

I expect that economics plays a significant part in this shift away from government-related volunteerism.

The jump from $500 to $800 may seem huge. But when you take into account the cost of everything from food, rent, and clothing to property taxes, health insurance, and transportation, $700 or $800 month for someone who must make responsible and informed decisions about Port Townsend’s present and future course is a piddling amount.

I do not in any way wish to fault commission members, whose submitted documentations gives evidence of the considerable effort they devoted to their task. 

Nonetheless, I must lament that for many who wish to engage in community service, running for city council may entail significant if not insurmountable hardship. No wonder so many governmental positions are held by people with the means to bankroll their own campaigns and reward those who help them achieve office.

Jason Victor Serinus
PORT TOWNSEND

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  • Herbert T Birdsfoot

    All elected offices boil down to one thing: "Will they spend the Tax Payer's money in a non wasteful and effective way?" If they do not have proof of doing this in their own career in the private sector, what business do they have in making big financial decisions with Other People's Money? If someone does not want to run for office because "it pays crappy", they are not qualified for the position.

    Monday, December 6, 2021 Report this