Opinion

Haugen should take a pay cut | Editorial

Tenth Legislative District Reps. Barbara Bailey and Norma Smith, both Republicans, get it. Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, a Democrat, doesn’t.

The two Republicans announced in the pages of this newspaper this week that they will take a 3 percent pay cut, just like the one they ordered many state employees to take.

Haugen, a veteran senator who has done more good for Whidbey Island than any legislator in the modern era, missed the boat on this one. She said her legislator’s pay of $42,106 is needed because she spends part of it on constituents services, including keeping an office in Oak Harbor. Therefore, she will not take the voluntary pay cut.

The issue here isn’t who can afford a pay cut and who can’t, it’s leadership. When leaders are ordering workers to take a cut in pay during dire economic times, they should lead by example. The Island County commissioners, for example, went to great lengths to reduce their own compensation as they were laying people off and cutting back hours.

The economy, unfortunately, isn’t getting any better. Gov. Chris Gregoire just this week ordered state agencies to prepare for another 10 percent cut. A lot of that burden will fall on teachers and social workers, who have already seen their ranks trimmed significantly. One way to save some of those jobs is for those in charge to take less money themselves.

Office holders at all levels of government, from governor on down to legislator, commissioner, mayor and council member, should suffer along with the workers until the economy turns around. Good for Reps. Bailey and Smith in recognizing this fact and volunteering to take a pay cut.

Sen. Haugen should join her 10th District cohorts and accept a salary cut herself. In these trying  times, it’s the only right thing for any leader to do.

 

 

 

Community Events, April 2014

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