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  • Writer's pictureBruce Mattare

Should Politics Infiltrate Public Safety?

Updated: Mar 4

On Wednesday, August 30, the BOCC deliberated on the FY24 Budget. There are a number of items in it that are good for county citizens. Not everyone realizes that counties must perform certain functions the state requires by law. There's no getting around it.

One of the ways counties can ensure they are providing the services they are supposed to is by employing qualified people. This year's budget addresses that issue by making sure we can keep and attract qualified employees to provide a high level of service for Kootenai County residents.

One of the biggest components of our budget is Public Safety. This is a growing community and we need to ensure we have a functioning and proactive public safety system. This year we increased our Patrol Sheriff's Deputy pay to 3% BEHIND the Coeur d'Alene Police Department's pay.

In a previous post (click here), I discuss and made the business case, how being cheap is expensive. We spent over $3.5 million to recruit and train patrol deputies, only to lose them within five years to other agencies. This is a classic case of "stepping over dollars to pick up pennies."

Whether we like it or not, we get what we pay for. And this also includes elected officials.

As a brand new Commissioner, I was surprised that the county had no policy on elected official pay, unless you count "executive fiat" a policy. A good policy includes:

  1. What the triggers are to visit the pay policy

  2. What the methodology is for calculating salaries

  3. And what criteria must be met to determine whether to implement the pay policy (e.g., county bills are paid, employees taken care of, etc.)

There is no policy in place to address those questions, despite the BoCC being responsible for developing policy.

Below is my video statement on why this year's budget is good for county citizens, the problems we're trying to fix, and why I believe that if a commissioner votes against a pay raise, then he or she should not accept that pay raise.

The challenge for citizens is that it allows a "politician" to tell you he or she voted against a budget (knowing it would pass without that politician's vote) for political points, but he or she gets the benefit of that budget, including the pay raise.

We see this in Washington D.C. all of the time.

The vote to move this Public Safety budget forward was as follows:

Commissioner Brooks: Yes

Commissioner Mattare: Yes

Commissioner Duncan: No

Here's my statement:

If you like this blog, please share this link with others.

Thank you for reading it.

Bruce E Mattare

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