Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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*BOC members need to cut their salaries*Lions Club, others help out food bank*No more business as usual for county*Central teachers deserve better pay

November 19, 2013

BOC members need

to cut their salaries

Last January I wrote that the vast majority of the elected Polk County board members, including city councilors and mayors, serve as civic volunteers without pay. These elected volunteers create and modify local ordinances, approve public budgets, set property tax rates, hire and fire personnel, and make quasi-judicial land-use decisions.

Polk County Commiss-ioners perform almost identical functions, but at an added cost. The three Polk County Commissioners pay themselves property tax-funded annual salaries of $68,160, plus retirement and health benefits. I asked why commissioner's wages should not be seriously reduced in the overall interest of Polk County property taxpayers. I never received an answer.

No one else asked the commissioners to publicly explain why they deserve salaries well above most Polk County families. Nor has anyone explained why county commissioners receive salaries while city councilors, some of whom oversee larger budgets and greater staff numbers, do not.

The commissioners continue to pay themselves. Now that the four-year county public safety operating levy has failed, is it not time to ask Commissioners Ainsworth, Pope and Wheeler to reduce their own pay?

E.M. Easterly

West Salem

Lions Club, others

help out food bank

On Nov. 4, the Central Lions of Monmouth-Independence learned that the shelves at the Ella Curran Food Bank in Independence were nearly bare. On Nov. 10, the Lions conducted a food drive at Roth's Fresh Market in Independence.

With the extremely generous support of shoppers, in six hours we collected 1,400 pounds of food, plus $265 in cash for the food bank. New Life Ministries had previously collected about 200 pounds that it left with us to deliver. It was very impressive to witness this tremendous display of compassion and community spirit.

A lot of shoppers went home feeling good about reaching out to others, the Lions exercised our motto, "We Serve," and the Ella Curran Food Bank shelves look much better today.

The holiday season is nearly upon us. Churches, scout troops and other service groups will be providing opportunities for our local citizens to help others. I am confident that with the spirit of goodwill that prevails in our community, those who are able to share will continue to reach out to those in need.

Thank you to all who gave. Special thanks to Roth's, Mungo Signs of Monmouth and New Life Ministries for their contributions and support.

Jack Rye

Central Lions Club


No more business

as usual for county

The reflexive reaction of Polk County to cut services to the public when their tax increase is not approved is wrong. This is not the only alternative.

Why not renegotiate union contracts to require employees to pay the so-called "employee pick-up," which is the 6 percent contribution to the PERS retirement system? They currently pay nothing while the public pays the full freight for the retirement system.

PERS is already one of the richest retirement systems that few in the private sector have. The unions and employees will generally oppose any change in their fringe benefits, but they should start thinking not only of their own interests but also the community they serve.

George Irving


Central teachers

deserve better pay

I have two children who have graduated from Central High School. We are a special case, we live in the Salem-Keizer School District and our children were out-of-district transfers to Central High School. It was no reflection on Salem schools; we just felt a smaller school would be a better fit.

Both of my children had excellent experiences at Central High. They were well prepared academically and socially. My daughter, a college freshman, received a full academic scholarship to the University of Oregon.

In comparing the salaries faculty with 10 years of experience and 45 graduate hours receive — $45,553 at Central and $60,000 in Salem — there is a difference of 11 percent. Top salaries differ by almost 20 percent.

Members of the community should be proud of the teachers at Central and the education they offer your students. Pay them accordingly.

David Olson


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