Saturday, July 08, 2006

The View From The Cheap Seats - By Jerry Haferkamp

There will be a non-binding referendum in the upcoming elections. It will have to do with the proposed salary of the incoming mayor, but only if the position will become full-time.

With little information as to the pros and cons, the voters were hurried into voting on the issue of full-time mayor. We approved the change. Almost immediately, many questioned whether their decision was the proper one. I am among those.

At the time this is written, the council is discussing whether the issue of full-time mayor should be placed on the ballot along with the salary issue. The St. Peters advertiser (formerly the St. Charles Journal) editorial came out in opposition to allowing your voices to be heard. This is no surprise, since they have pretty much always been out of step when it comes to St. Charles issues. They claim that the people have already spoken. I wonder if that was their stance when the voters approved the Charter that called for the present structure. Did they stand up and decry the later effort to change to a full-time mayor? No, because it fit their agenda.

Many residents would vote the same way they did before, but many on both sides of the issue may have rethought the issue and would change their vote. Since there is little expense adding this to an already scheduled election, I see no harm in doing so. I have always felt that allowing the citizens as much voice as possible is the right way to go. Times change and so do folks’ positions on issues. Now is the time to address this issue, before the change would take effect. The resulting vote may change or may not, but residents should have the final say.

No matter how you vote on that issue, be sure to cast your vote that would set the mayoral salary if the position does become full time. As I stated in my last column, Councilman Hoepfner originally suggested a salary that was $10,000 more than we pay our governor. He has more recently let a little of the hot air from his balloon and come a little more “down to Earth”, but his proposal is still too high. You will probably be given three salary ranges from which to choose. Consider carefully and choose one!

Lastly, we should all support the tightening up of the recall provisions. We can’t afford the type of activity that we have recently witnessed that attempted to make a mockery of our election process. Our elections are too dear to us to have them turned into the farce that the Citizens Empowerment Committee attempted to foist upon us. Recall should only be used to remove someone from office for abuse of office or criminal acts in the performance of official duties.

Of course, that’s just the view from the cheap seats.