Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 4:41 PM on Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's wrong to raise mayor's salary

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly needs to reconsider its stance on Ordinance 2011-11 which would increase the borough mayor's salary from $80,000 per year to $99,000 per year. This was not well thought out.

When the average weekly salary of a worker in the borough is $794 per week this would make the mayor's salary more than twice that of the average constituent. According to the U.S. Department of Labor (03/23/2011) the average salary in the Kenai Peninsula Borough is $41,288 per year. The average household income (2.6 people) is $60,235. We might also point out that May's unemployment numbers have dropped from 11 percent to 8.7 percent it's summer so there are some seasonal jobs to provide relief. The outlook for this coming winter is not so rosy.

It is irresponsible of our assembly to consider giving a raise to someone who is not a professional (we say we don't want professional politicians, right?) and is chosen at the pleasure of the people. In an election one hopes the best candidate for the job is chosen but we all know it could very well be the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker because it's really a popularity contest. There are no guarantees that whoever is elected has any background or expertise in governing.

This feels like dj vu all over again. In May 2008 this issue was addressed and cooler heads prevailed. You simply cannot compare the salary of a public servant to career employees who have education and experience to justify their wages and benefits. This is like comparing apples and oranges.

We urge the assembly to repeal this ordinance and urge every resident to let their assembly representative know how they feel about paying an elected official more than twice what the average worker on the Kenai Peninsula earns. Oh, and don't forget the position comes with pretty good benefits, including health insurance.

Brendan and Patti Boily