Whidbey News-Times


Dudley right to propose reducing council benefits | Editorial

April 22, 2013 · 8:44 AM

Oak Harbor Mayor Scott Dudley is looking to cut salaries for himself and council members. He is also looking at eliminating or reducing health benefits for the elected officials.

Dudley said his annual salary equates to roughly $51,000 a year. Council members apparently make $7,200 each year.

We don’t always agree with Dudley, but reducing benefits doesn’t seem like an unreasonable idea.

Consider this — If regular part-time employees for the city don’t qualify for health benefits, why should the part-time elected officials?

Hard-working Americans across this country are struggling with the high cost of health insurance. Government leaders should share that pain to some extent.

It doesn’t sit well with the majority of people that elected representatives have not faced similar challenges.

The City of Oak Harbor is facing budget problems, and regardless of the causes, expenses must be reduced.

Dudley is looking at cutting the salary and eliminating or reducing benefits for the mayor position. He’s also proposing the same be done with the part-time council positions.

Several of the council members said this week that their council roles are essentially full-time jobs and they don’t get compensated much as it is.

Council positions for a city the size of Oak Harbor aren’t intended to be a full-time job, nor are they intended to be a person’s primary source of financial support.

Dudley says he’s going to push for a salary commission to review elected officials salaries and propose new rates.

Compensation should be on par with what city’s of comparable size and population are paying.

Councilman Rick Almberg and Councilwoman Tara Hizon maintain the city is in its current financial crunch primarily because of the actions Dudley has taken.

Whether that’s true, as elected leaders, it is up to them and the rest of the council to work with Dudley to find a solution.

Maybe that means downgrading their insurance benefits.


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