Ed Priola spoke against pay raises for elected officials during a public hearing held on January 19. Here is the written testimony:
'I am here tonight to testify against Council Bill number 2, which proposes increases in compensation for the Howard County Council members.
You may think that the question before us is whether to raise the pay of local elected officials or not? But I think the real question is: do we cut libraries, schools or road repairs to afford those hikes? Or, do we increase taxes and fees on hard working citizens and small businesses to pay for them instead?
We must consider this bill against the pretty impressive backdrop of
the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Last year, the County laid off nine people! Homeowners' water and sewer fees rose by 6 percent, and the school system continues to struggle to keep its capital program up to speed.
With all respect, this is a philosophical point of view. It is my opinion that this kind of 'business as usual' is no longer affordable. It's the pennies that matter in this day and age.
For the record, I disagree with the Compensation Review Committee's argument that pay raises are necessary to 'attract the best possible candidates.' I know many outstanding candidates who reject this proposition.
Let's put the 'public' back into public service. These are part-time jobs meant to serve the community. They are not 'career' or 'wealth building' positions...
Council Members, I encourage you to do the right thing; reject any and all increases in pay outlined in Bill number 2.
UPDATE: Council split the baby...and donated their half of the baby.