Here is an example of why government people should never be put in charge of shrinking government:
It occurred over in Linn County which is Cedar Rapids territory.
About a decade ago, there was a movement afoot to merge the city and county governments. The thought was to reduce the cost of government for the taxpayers, but of course it didn’t go anywhere.
A few years later, Cedar Rapids changed its City Council makeup from five full-time council members, who were also administrators of city departments, to a nine-member part-time council. Voters approved that change in 2005 and it took effect in 2006.
Linn County then got involved in “smaller government” when voters approved a change to go from three to five supervisors.
What was pitched to the voters was this: With five supervisors, there would be less work on each of them so they should be willing to reduce their pay. They had been making the same salaries as the treasurer, recorder and auditor.
A similar idea of streamlining government by increasing the number of supervisors has been floated by political candidates in Cerro Gordo County in recent years.
The five-member Linn County Board of Supervisors took office in 2009. In order to comply with state law, supervisors voted to consider themselves part-time employees. This allowed them to cut their pay to 80 percent of what the auditor, treasurer and recorder were making.
But this year, they apparently decided they weren’t getting paid enough for the work they are doing.
So they voted to make themselves full-time supervisors and raised their pay to the level of the other office holders.
The result is a 25 percent salary increase for all five supervisors, from $74,362 to $92,953. They are also entitled to a 3 percent raise next year, as are the other elected officials.
So this grand plan of a few years ago — to increase the number of supervisors, spread out the workload and reduce the individual pay of supervisors — has evolved into a near $100,000 annual extra burden on the taxpayers.
There’s a lesson to be learned here about how government shrinks:
It never does.
Reach John Skipper at 421-0537 or firstname.lastname@example.org.