As I follow the newspaper descriptions of deliberations and decisions by the town council, I am becoming more and more disenchanted with its performance. As an editorial in the Roundup noted, it gets curiouser and curiouser.
In regard to the Diamond Star situation, I question the wisdom and performance of certain members of council. Some appear to need lessons in communication skills and public relations, not to mention knowing when to speak and when not to speak to the press.
In regard to the pay raises, I question the entire process and performance of those members of council who voted for the increases.
The process and fundamental logic were flawed.
Why did the council not seek input from the public by forming a representative committee of citizens to study the issues and publicly report results? Why were public hearings (longer than three minutes each person) not scheduled so that public input could be genuine? Why was the public not given more information and more time to study information that is critical to making good decisions about weighty matters?
I also disagree with the logic and factual information used by some members of the council. In several cases, the municipalities used as comparisons do not appear to be comparable. The comparison data is outdated and was compiled by a person who, as an employee, has a conflict of interest. In addition, the costs of the raises and projected costs of new fixed overhead were not made clear to the public who will have to bear the tax burden of paying for them.
The difference between "fair market wages" and "merit pay" is clear to me. I wonder if it is clear to some members of the council. Town employees should receive fair wages comparable to what they would receive in similar municipalities, and it is reasonable for many town employees to receive increases in pay. It is also reasonable to suggest that some employees, particularly at the higher levels, do not deserve either merit or market raises at the amounts set by council. Also, it is reasonable that more thought go into this scheme before taxes are raised to pay for long-range, fixed overhead costs.
The town council has lost my confidence and my support. I hope that each of you will remember them when your tax bill arrives, or when they tell you why you should vote for them.
John Lemon, Payson