Monday, December 21, 2009
Collin County officials stay home for the holidays
The Collin County Commissioners Court want to enjoy their holidays without being interrupted by pesky meetings and government business.
Along with the holidays, winter also brings the biannual campaign season. Once again, Collin County voters are being deluged by candidate and incumbent messages -- virtually all proclaiming how conservative their guy is, much more conservative than the opponent.
I'm not going to get into a discussion here on the definition of "conservative." Suffice it to say that most voters expect their government to be careful stewards of taxpayers money. I think we can all agree that fiscally conservative government requires fiscally conservative leadership. I'd argue that the necessary leadership begins with how our leaders treat themselves, especially vis-à-vis to our tax dollars.
As I've said before, here in Collin County our leaders refer to themselves as "Elected Officials." I think the taxpayers would be much better served by "Public Servants." It's not just semantics. There is a huge difference between officials and servants. Officials are entitled to power and perks, servants simply serve.
It's a distinction often lost by incumbents who are routinely re-elected over and over again.
A case in point:
The Collin County Commissioners Court meets four times a month. This month, the last two meetings were canceled so that the "Officials" could enjoy their holidays.
These "Officials" make a heck of a lot of money. Keith Self's base salary is $136,073. Matt Shaheen's is $107,387 and Jerry Hoagland, Joe Jaynes and Kathy Ward each make $111,146. Totaling these court's salaries means that the taxpayers are paying $596,898 for a commissioners court that meets 48 times per year -- that is over $12,000 in base salaries alone per meeting.
Collin County's budget is $270 million, therefore the salaries of our "Officials" is about 0.213% of the budget they control.
Contrast these numbers with, for example, that of the Plano City Council.
There are seven council members, each makes a base salary of $6,000, while the mayor is allowed $8,400. The City Council meets twice a month (24 times a year). The cost to Plano taxpayers for councilmember salaries is therefore only $2,100 per meeting, or about 1/6th of the cost of a Commissioners Court session.
Plano has a larger budget than the county. The council's salaries amount to only 0.013% of their $388 million budget -- about 1/20th of the county's salary to budget ratio.
For the next two weeks, the Collin County Commissioners Court will not meet. Our "Elected Officials" want to enjoy their holidays without being interrupted by pesky meetings and government business. (Meanwhile, most of their taxpayers will be at their jobs every working day.)
How about these "Officials" refunding us $24,000 we're paying for the two missed meetings?
Oh yea, the Plano City Council will meet on December 22.
Pegasus News Content partner - The Collin County Observer