Compensation Justified

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Editor:

I've heard some negative comments regarding the issue of pay increases for council members and the mayor. Just some thoughts to consider:

The vast majority of mayor and council seats historically have been occupied by retirees, like me. One of the major reasons for this is that we have far more time to devote to the job. If you want effective leaders for your town, you want folks who are willing to take the time to research the issues, attend the myriad meetings, attend training, which is usually out of town, visit with constituents and appear at functions where you are expected.

Having been there, believe me this is very time consuming. And we do this after an exhaustive and expensive political campaign. I can hear you now saying, "Well, you didn't have to do it -- you asked for it." True. But are we not fortunate that a very small group steps up every two years and agrees to serve their community? Why do we do it? For myself, as corny as it may sound, I did it because I really care for my community and wanted to try to make it better. Of all the mayors and council members I worked beside during those years, whether I agreed or disagreed with them, they all felt the same way. Some enjoyed the spotlight, but they still labored, not for special interests, but for the good of our citizens of all ages.

The pay scale for these people is an affront and an embarrassment. To spend hundreds of hours of intense work for the compensation of a paperboy (my two boys made more on their routes) is just not fair. If we want a broader based mayor and council in terms of age, we need to be able to justify to working individuals the need to take time from their jobs and businesses to donate to public service.

I applaud the mayor and council's recent decision to increase the compensation. And to those detractors, I would say -- take out a petition next December and run for one of the council seats. You might have a different perspective.

Dick Wolfe, Payson

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