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Commissioners Decline to Give Veterans Service Board Funds for Pay Raises
Posted on: 01/10/2014
By  Jamey Styer, Mike Cullums
 
The Washington County Commissioners had a somewhat contentious meeting yesterday with County Veterans Service Office director Roy Ash to discuss budget allocations. 

The Commissioners expressed concern about Ash’s latest funding request for Veterans Service Board member salaries, saying that while they recognize the demands of serving on such a board, they need to be careful about how they spend taxpayers’ money.
 
Here’s part of an exchange between Commissioner Tim Irvine and Roy Ash.
 
Irvine: “To me, earning retirement benefits by serving on the Veterans Service Board is not why you do it. Secondly, you’re asking us to increase the compensation to the board by over 33 percent, and just because the money’s available it doesn’t mean that you –“
 
Ash: “That percent is very misleading! You’re talking about – “
 
Irvine: “Now wait a minute. They made, last year, $5,396 and you’re asking us to go to $7,200.”
 
Irvine and Ash debated the proposal further, and Commissioner Ron Feathers joined in agreement with Irvine.
 
Commissioner David White then expressed his concerns.
 
“Having sufficient or even surplus funds, in and of itself, doesn’t justify paying more than what’s usual or fair. Twelve to 20 meetings a year. If I take 20 meetings per year at the current rate of pay, that’s $275 per meeting.”
 
White added that people serving on many types of boards must attend training sessions and lots of meetings.
 
“Something comparable might be a school board. I think most school board (members) in this area get paid somewhere in the range of $100 per meeting.”
 
And David White questioned the long-standing practice of some Veterans Service Board members to stay in place for many years.
 
“The wisdom of keeping people on the board for longevity – I think sometimes that keeping people on a board just because they’ve always been there is counter-productive.”
 
Commissioner White finished by saying he was definitely not in favor of allocating more funds to the Veterans Service Board than a recent two percent increase for expenses.
 
All three commissioners then decided to take no action on Ash’s request.
 
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