August 13, 2014 10:36:39 AM
It has been a week since Columbus Mayor Robert Smith broke a 3-3 tie to award himself a $10,000 pay raise during a special budget meeting that painted a grim picture of the city's financial picture. During that meeting, the proposed budget eliminated seven police officer and three firefighter positions. Even with those cuts, it appears the city will still have to dip into its reserve funds to balance the budget.
Against that backdrop, the mayor's decision to essentially vote himself a 12.6 percent raise to $88,797 annually touched a nerve with many in the community.
The next city council meeting will be held Tuesday and we anticipate that there will be those who might want to use that meeting to tell the mayor what they have been discussing with each others where this pay raise in concerned.
If that is to happen, citizens are reminded the city's citizen input policy has changed. If you want to discuss the mayor's raise -- or anything else that concerns "official government issues -- you must fill out a form stating your desire to speak and the subject you intend to discuss by 5 p.m. today.
As we have stated previously, given the city's serious financial landscape, the mayor's decision to give himself a raise was wrong. We encourage those who wish to comment on this or any other city matter to sign up to speak during Tuesday's city council meeting.
Thirteen months ago, the city council rescinded a $4,000 raise it voted itself, due in part to public outcry.
We cannot say that the mayor will be similarly influenced, but letting your feelings be known on the subject is really the only means available of helping to correct this unfortunate decision.
Even if you choose not the speak, we encourage citizens to attend Tuesday's meeting. Your mere presence can send a powerful message that the mayor needs to hear.
1. Lynn Spruill: My front door LOCAL COLUMNS
2. Ask Rufus: The blues heritage of the Black Prairie LOCAL COLUMNS
3. Jamie Stiehm: How the 22nd Amendment has hurt democracy: a ramble NATIONAL COLUMNS
4. Natures force DISPATCH EDITORIALS
5. Editorial Cartoon for 8-26-16 NATIONAL COLUMNS