To The Daily Sun,
Last Monday evening the Executive Committee of the Belknap County Convention spent 2 1/2 hours validating the last nine months of budget decisions made by the Belknap County Commissioners. They agreed with more than $600,000 of transfer requests made by the commissioners. The commissioners provided answers to such questions as why the nursing home needed a new vegetable steamer (the old one was broken) and other details of the day-to-day management of the county that we elected them to handle. Throughout the lengthy hearing, the commissioners were professional and demonstrated their firm grasp of the county budget.
The only transfer the executive committee didn't approve was for $2,000 for the county administrator's salary, which is half of what this whole charade is really about. The convention leadership wants the commissioners to breach their negotiated salary agreement with the county administrator, and reduce her pay by $20,000 despite the fact that she is paid only about $150 more than the average salary of the seven county administrators who perform only that function. You can see the 2013 County Salary Data on my website — davepollak.com.
The other reason for this ongoing conflict is that the majority on the convention wants the commissioners to breach our contracts with county workers. The convention has not only refused to fund a 1.5 percent raise negotiated in good faith, but has also refused to fund part of the county's contractual obligation to pay the employer portion of employee health insurance costs.
At the same time the convention wants the workers to pay a higher percentage of their health insurance costs, they denied them that 1.5 percent wage increase which would have been the first raise in many years. It may only be a coincidence, but the full-time jobs at the nursing home are very, very hard to fill with positions remaining open for months.
This dispute is clearly not over the competence of the commissioners, whose work was not only confirmed by the convention, but also by the county's independent auditors who gave them a clean bill of health on Sept. 3 of this year. It is about the majority on the convention trying to force the lowest-paid workers to carry an even higher percentage of the burden and punishing the commissioners who are simply trying to live up their agreements and the county administrator whose accounting acumen has been a substantial obstacle to the convention's plans.
Please vote on Nov. 4.
Candidate for Belknap County Commissioner
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