Ramsey board gives itself a raise

The Board of Commissioners proposed a 25 percent pay increase for themselves.

Earlier this month, the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners held a morning meeting to let the public weigh in on its proposed pay increase.

To give an example of what the board of elected officials does, its 2005 to 2007 goals and objectives include implementing a capital assets management and preservation plan; developing a governance organization and financing structure; working on a two-year budget for Ramsey County; gaining support for transportation initiatives; focusing on crime and public safety; addressing changing demographics in the workforce; and improving quality of life for children, families and those with special needs.

The initial goal of the meeting was for it to be a public hearing where people attending could give testimonies about the proposed salary increase.

But the problem with the meeting, some feel, is the time it was held. The meeting occurred at 9 a.m. on a Tuesday, and four people came – two people for the increase and two against.

Those for the raise said the board members work more than eight hours a day and deserve to be paid more for that work. Those against the raise argued that the money could be better spent in other areas that would benefit Ramsey County.

This Tuesday, the board officially voted to approve the pay increase, bringing the salaries from $63,948 to $80,000.

Hennepin County board members receive $90,276, and that is most likely where the contention from the Ramsey County board is coming from.

The way the Ramsey County board went about it, however, was less than honorable. The board should have held the meeting at night when more people could have attended, and the board should have tried to solicit more input from their constituents.

In the end, the board voted 6-1 for the raise, with only one commissioner voting no because, reportedly, her constituents did not like the idea.