Why are local politicians paid more than military officers?

Dear Editor:

The 2012 Isanti County budget was a very challenging process and we are still $300,000 short of balancing our budget. One idea we need to consider is reducing the salary and benefits of Commissioners who make two to five times as much as that of our military reservists. I realize that everyone may not agree with this, but I believe we must implement tax-cuts that respect you, the taxpayers’ limited financial resources at a time when many families are living on less income than in the past.

In 2010, the Board worked with unions to negotiate a salary freeze and implement 3 days of furloughs (an approx. 2 percent decrease in compensation for our county employees). During this time, the County Board did not implement any form of furloughs or reduction in our Commissioner salary. I argued that we should “set the example” and not force our hard-working employees to work for less while we maintained status quo. I was accused of “grandstanding” and my motion was not supported.

In 2011, I once again recommended reducing the Commissioner’s salary and per diems to help balance our budget but that motion was rejected on a 3-2 vote.

Here are my two fundamental questions on this issue:

• Is it fair for employees to take a reduction in pay while Commissioners do not follow that same decision?

• Is it fair for an Isanti County Commissioner to make more than double the pay of an Army Reserves Major?

I have served in both positions and a comparison on the responsibilities is given at www.alanduff.net.

Alan Duff
Bradford Township

  • Pete Douglas

    Isanti Co. has always balanced their budget on the back of their employees. I think they should furlough Dept. Heads first……

  • Laura

    Thank you Commissioner Duff for standing up for what is right. Isanti County voters should all be attending meetings or listening to the recorded meetings to really see what is going on. This is an election year and we need to stand behind officials, such as Mr. Duff, who are trying to do the right thing. Let’s get rid of the rest of them who are only in it to pad their own pockets.

  • Jon Z

    Having served 26+ years in the Air Force as an enlisted member, I would have to say in my opinion most Captains (O-3) and Majors (O-4) are overpaid. Unless they are a Unit or Squadron Commander (And then usually only on temporary orders due to Commander absense), they relay orders down from above to the Senior and Junior NCO’s who actual ensure the orders are carried out and completed. Also, Reservists are only paid for time they are activated, normally 2 days a month and one two-week activation per year so obviously their pay will be prorated to actual activation period.