There has been a storm brewing in Linn County. Last year, I along with a majority of Linn County voters approved a plan to increase the number of county supervisors from 3 to 5.
According to the Gazette:
Supervisors changed their status to part-time and lowered their salaries to about $70,000. In December, they rescinded that motion and restored their $87,662 salaries.
Before I go further let me say this. I supported the increase in supervisors in order to elect them from districts and increase their number. My goal was to have a board that better represented Linn County including smaller cities and rural areas. The gerrymandering that occurred is a discussion for a later date. I do not have a problem with supervisors making $87,000 a year. I did not believe that increasing the number of supervisors would significantly reduce their workload.
The problem is that the three (did I say Democrat) incumbent supervisors lied. They declared themselves to be part-time and lowered their salaries in order to get elected. As soon as they got re-elected they made themselves full-time again and now they have accepted the County Compensation Board's recommendation to re-increase their salaries to $87,662.
While I have no problem with the salary amount — I am outraged that the incumbents on the board pulled this stunt. Apparently I am not the only one.
Today, Republican House Minority Leader, Kraig Paulsen, plans to introduce a bill giving voters the right to petition and recall local elected officials. On similar lines, all Linn County legislators, except Democrat Nate Willems, have signed on as co-sponsors with freshman Republican representative Nick Wagner on a bill to decouple Supervisors salaries from other county employees.
I understand why people are mad. As a voter, I don't like to be lied to. If the election were held again today, none of the three incumbents would be re-elected. The lone Republican on the Board of Supervisors, Brent Oelson noted that was elected in November and neither he nor Supervisor Rogers were a part of this fiasco.
Interviewed about Paulsen's proposed bill on KCRG, Oleson said:
Isn't that convenient the people writing the law aren't applying it to themselves …
I don't mean this as a criticism of Kraig, I am a friend and supporter, but I agree with Brent. If the petition and recall bill included state officials, I would be all for it.