One powerful lesson of my service in the Marine Corps came early in my service, on a cold and snowy day high in the mountains at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center. We had been training at high altitude for weeks, existing on pre-packaged meals. After days of continuous work in freezing temperatures, like a gift from the heavens, we saw snow trucks approaching bringing “hot chow.” When you’re wet, cold, tired and hungry, nothing lifts your spirits like a hot meal.
What happened next is something I’ll never forget. A burly gunnery sergeant yelled for us to get in line by rank. The lowest-ranking Marines were allowed to eat first; the officers ate last. The leadership took care of those whom they were responsible for before themselves. Of course, we ran out of food. The top leaders ate cold, pre-packaged meals — and never complained.
In this spirit, the County Board of Supervisors should reject their proposed 12 percent pay raise. Supervisors have received higher raises over the last eight years than the county employees who serve the public. Although our county supervisors’ pay ranks in the top half among the state’s most populace counties, our county employees’ average pay ranks in the bottom half – and this proposal does nothing to change that.
But the supervisors’ obligation is not just to the county employees, it is to the broader public they are elected to serve. The county plays a vital role in helping those in greatest need access available programs, and their efforts are falling short.