December 21, 2015
By Corey Bearak
Of Course Compensate Legislators fairly
Queens, NY- Working inside during a “prior life” and often dealing with elected officials at all levels, I often share in conversations when prompted that, just as in life, you find most (perhaps “overwhelming number of them”) honest and some not; and just as in real life with friends and family, you get surprised at some who have their “issues” that bring them unwanted attention. With a commission looking at raises for city elected officials and others outside government throwing their own suggestions pro and con on pay, I offer my own. I support fair compensation.
I never view it enough to say folks should do it for the public good. I never saw it as a choice between the good life and being a pauper but any living ought to be decent.
Why not couple a fair raise in legislative compensation with an end to “lulus” for leadership positions and assigning budgets to standing committees to empower the chairs hire staff instead of staff assigned via leadership. Move to something move reflective of the congressional model; one might argue the current disfunction in Washington as push back but that reflects more politics rather than leadership malfunction per se.
Term limits by its nature suggests a citizen legislature. And proper disclosure forms submitted to a publicly viewable electronic database could also help address issues of outside employment. Remember if you ban outside income, you essentially welcome those with inherited wealth or unearned income or who own businesses over other good folks who wish to make a good living all on the up and up.
So what do you favor when it comes to fair compensation for those who we elect to represent us?
*Corey Bearak can be reached at StrategicPublicPolicy.com. Find his ebook, The Public Ought To Know, at Kindle, Nook and Apple iBooks.