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Service should be based on committment not salary

As someone, thankfully, pointed out to me, I short cheated President George W. Bush. He actually makes $400,000 per year not the paltry $200,000 of the past. One doesn't generally think about the pay scales for government officials or how frequently they are changed.

In fact from 1969 through 2001, the Presidential salary was $200,000 with a $50,000 expense account (taxable and non-taxable at various times). That's a pretty stable pay scale for one of the most important positions in the USA and in the world.

This calls into question the burning desire to increase elected official pays in Chicopee. Mayor Bissonnette should be commended for stating he understood what the salary was when he decided to run for mayor. The mayor isn't looking for an increase in his pay but in all the other elected positions. It's true a CPA working in private industry is more than likely to be making more that a CPA who decides to run for a local office. Unfortunately, there is no assurance that a person running for an elected position is actually qualified for that position.

Mayor Bissonnette is right on point every time he talks about quagmires and potential quagmires that permeate decisions that affect the city when less than qualified people hold office.

I just don't get the jump that throwing more money at positions will equate to more qualified candidates. Trying to drum up potential candidates (and potential is the key word) is not the reason to espouse pay increases. Taxpayers are looking for hard facts to support this idea. When was the last pay increase and which elected positions received it? Are the positions full time or part time?

Let's compare the salaries to realty and not inflated salaries of other elected officials. Use the median family income in Chicopee as a starting block for comparisons of equitable pay.

Public service is about service. Our founding fathers were looking for lifetime appointments when they set up our frame work of government. It is a privilege to run for public office and to vote. Elected officials deserve fair compensation but there has to be a baseline that constitutes fair. The argument that higher salaries brings higher caliber of candidates is dispelled by looking at government corruption locally and in Washington DC.

If we want more people involved with government, then we have to teach our children the importance of volunteering and public service. These lessons have nothing to do with money and everything to do with values.



Lisa Bienvenue

Chicopee