Pay Levels Local Councils and Boards
By Alex Saitta
September 29, 2018
Public participation is vital for a healthy democracy. To that end, elected officials play a primary role in educating the public on the key issues, so the public can intelligently participate in the decisions being made by our government.
Unfortunately, most local leaders reach out to the public when they want our votes. Once elected, most disappear and do not spend the time to educate the public on the issues.
We see this with our new school board. Can you name a pressing issue in front of the school board right now? Probably not. That is not your fault, but rather the trustees who have made little to no effort to tell the public what is going on. Instead, they fly below the radar passing what they want 6 to 0, without the public involved or looking over their shoulder. If one or two happen to reach out to the public, they promote the positives and we hear half the story.
For instance, the SC Ready scores just came out, but not one trustee is telling us only 45% of our students read at grade level. Nor did will they tell us the percentage of the budget going to instruction has fallen from 60% in 2011 to 53%. Gosh, the school district videos its meetings, but neither the administration nor any board member puts them on line.
The county council is better, posting its meetings on line and reaches out to the public, but their focus is on only half the story (just the positives).
For example, the council touted absorbing the Liberty City fire department as an achievement. What they didnít say was each city residence then had to pay $120 more a year, and those in the rural Liberty area saw their fire fee rise from $106 to $120. Starting Jan 1 that fee jack-rabbits up to $156.
I still have an interest in open government so I try to provide information our leaders are hiding or would rather not mention. One pet peeve of mine is our elected leaders set their own pay levels. Naturally, that is ripe for abuse, so I keep track of these figures and here are the latest.
Easley: The mayorís salary is $14,400 and he gets $3,600 for expenses. Councilmen are given $7,200 salary, plus $1,200 for expenses.
Clemson: Mayor $10,000, councilmen $6,000.
Pickens: Mayor $12,000, councilmen $6,000.
Liberty: Mayor $7,500, councilmen $2,700.
Central: Mayor $3,600, councilmen $2,100.
Norris: Mayor $2,400, councilmen $1,200.
Six Mile: Mayor $2,000, councilmen $1,000.
School Board: $3,000 for each trustee. (Their pay is set by the state legislature.)
County Council: Chairman $13,008, councilmen $11,698, plus health, dental, life insurance, and a retirement plan.
Clearly, some have been responsible. Some have not. Having run for the county council and knowing they meet only twice a month, their salary plus a medical plan that could cost as much as $10,000 is excessive.
Their pay needs to be cut in half, and the savings allocated to some worthy service for the citizens. That will never happen with this crowd, though, because as they say so often say, they are unified, and in this case unified in their self-interest.