Bad timing on pay raise | Editorial

The San Juan County Citizens Salary Commission has voted to give Prosecuting Attorney Randy Gaylord a $19,000 pay raise, putting him in a tie for the title of highest-paid public employee in the county.

Bad timing.

The commission should know that just because it can approve a raise, it doesn’t mean it should. Not when public positions and services have been cut and public employees are taking unpaid furloughs.

We believe public employees, even those at the top, should be paid good, livable wages. We believe Gaylord’s current annual salary of almost $130,000 is a good, livable wage. We also believe public service positions are just that; they are about public service, not the paycheck.

By the way, with the raise to $148,832, Gaylord would be paid more than the prosecutor of urban Skagit County, with eight incorporated cities and towns and a population of more than 117,000 people.

We aren’t knocking Gaylord; the state pays for half of judges’ and prosecutors’ salaries, and the state Legislature decided that the salaries of prosecutors and Superior Court judges should be the same. So, he’s entitled. But the pay increase, when the Salary Commission voted against cost-of-living increases for all other elected county officials, with exception of the sheriff (he’ll get a 1 percent increase), leaves a bad taste in our mouths.

Until the economy turns and conditions change for the rank and file, we say no more increases in six-figure public salaries.

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