Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

December 13, 2016
Unconscionable increase

Of the Tooele County Commissioners, it will never be said they are adept at the art of tact or of being even remotely sensitive to the collective mind of their voting constituency.

There exists within the public conscience an understanding that government can always be depended on to raise taxes and to increase its own compensation, both to whatever degree the public will angrily tolerate. Both are the inevitable consequence of nearsighted, freewheeling, egotistical human weakness so displayed when charged with the responsibility of managing large sums of other people’s money. From the beginning it has always been so, and forever it shall painfully remain.

But there exists no such public sentiment, to any degree of acceptance, when both indulgent matters occur simultaneously, with a single stroke of the bureaucratic pen, overwhelming the unsuspecting public with a profound sense of disbelief, bewilderment and betrayal.

That’s precisely what happened to us last Tuesday night.

On that night, the Tooele County Commissioners passed the 2017 county budget, which included another sizable tax increase and a hefty 18-19 percent salary increase for each commissioner. The clear and unmistakable impression the rest of us must choke on is that the commissioners eagerly raided our bank accounts and then, adding insult to injury, carved out a nice piece of the now larger tax pie for deposit to their own accounts. As I wrote above, noticeably absent was even a modicum of tact or sensitivity.

Even to a casual observer, it would appear that Tooele County is home to a mini-lottery that is governed entirely by the county commissioners who inevitably allow themselves the exclusive privilege of picking the winning numbers, and they do it with impunity and virtually no oversight or accountability and, remarkably, always with a straight face,

What is most egregious is the irrefutable fact that these men understood from the beginning what their salary and benefits were to be, and they willingly accepted those terms as a condition of their employment. It took a large tax increase to bail the county out of a near-bankruptcy predicament three years ago, caused by poor management by a previous commission, and the current commissioners have not proven themselves capable of managing the recovery to its successful conclusion, except, of course, for raising taxes, again.

But yet they have managed to convince themselves they are somehow of greater value to us and have accordingly made their way to the public trough and helped themselves to an unconscionable increase in compensation without the necessary evidence of ability and accomplishment.

How do they square their decisions with reason and good business practice?

Richard Ewing Davis

Stansbury Park 

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