We are about a month away from our June election, and Solano County has two seats open on the Board of Supervisors.
As a savvy voter, I attended candidate forums for both districts and both were polite and courteous. The questions centered around the usual topics of crime, jobs and water policy, but for the most part, answers were limited to three-minute sound bites. This format did not quench my thirst for in-depth discussion of the multitude of issues that will come across a supervisor’s desk. Here are some questions I would like to have discussed:
The compensation issue strikes a chord with me. As a working citizen, I want our public servants be in the same boat as us, so they can relate to challenges we face. Very few working folks in our county get a transportation allowance. Since we the people are often being encouraged to take public transportation, why not lead by example and have the supervisors take public transportation so they can experience firsthand the issues and opportunities facing citizens? Additionally, my longevity bonus is in the form of “I still get a paycheck.” Elected officials’ longevity bonus is that they get re-elected; why should they get a cash bonus?
Solano supervisor salary is currently tied to the salary of California superior court judges, per county policy. Why tie it to a completely unrelated position? I tried to get my boss to tie my salary to the salary of the Raider’s third-string quarterback, but he was not having it. A better compensation package idea: A supervisor’s salary should be equal to Solano County’s median income. As of 2012, this would be in the neighborhood of $69,000. If the people of the county are better off, then the supervisor will be better off; this would be performance-based compensation. The saying “a rising tide lifts all boats” comes to mind.
Governing a county of 400,000 residents with diverse demographics, ranging from classic urban in the west to very rural farming in the east, is a challenging role. We the people are hiring someone to represent our respective districts for a four-year term. Asking detailed questions and getting quality answers is instrumental in making an educated voting decision.
Brian Thiemer is chairman of the Solano County Libertarian Party. He can be reached at email@example.com.