To the Editor:
Compensation for elected officials in city government, a sticky subject in our city. What is fair and how does one answer that question? Very often you will hear some people say, “… whatever it says in the City Charter or city ordinances.” Unfortunately those documents don’t tell you an amount or figure; they do say how the compensation may be determined.
What would you the resident taxpayers say? Some say, since there are no qualifications for these jobs other than being a resident elector, let the Common Council or the personnel director figure it out. Others have said, whatever they get now, that’s what it stays at until the Common Council changes it; the people running for office know what the job pays and, if they don’t like it, they shouldn’t run for the office.
Some questions: where do you go to get a birth, marriage, death or other important and legal certificate of record? How about a dog or fishing license? Where do you go to find out what are your property taxes or to pay them? Where do you go to speak with the mayor, to register to vote or to speak with a Common Council member? Now, if you figure out the answers to those questions, how do you know if the answers you get are correct since there are no resumes required to run for those offices? For the most part, you don’t! Now, are you comfortable knowing that the folks running these offices are competent in performing their duties?
If one compares New Britain with other towns that are very much similar, you find that New Britain is woefully behind in compensating elected officials. Fortunately for New Britain, our elected officials are all professionally educated, competent and dedicated. Our mayor who receives all the grief if 73,000 people are not satisfied with all the services they get, as well as our town clerk, tax collector and others, receive compensation that is abysmal. As a town, we should be ashamed of that record.
Lou Salvio, Alderman