Last week in a story we wrote concerning county employees’ compensation, a county commissioner was quoted as saying; “I am compensating them because I am paying their salaries.”

How refreshing this must be for the taxpayers who will no longer need to pay the taxes that make their way as compensation to county employees. Here we have a county commissioner that is apparently going to take out his checkbook and start writing paychecks to county employees. We should all be rejoicing, and the county commissioner should be encouraging other county commissioners and all elected officials to follow his lead.

This is precisely what happens when elected officials forget whose money they’re spending. The money is not theirs, and it never will be. To make such a claim illustrates just how far some elected officials have strayed from their generalized and hollow campaign promises. 

The rock group The Who wrote about such people in their hit song “Won’t Get Fooled Again”: “Then I’ll get on my knees and pray. We don’t get fooled again. Don’t get fooled again. No, no! Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”

One of the warning signs regarding a new investment pitch is: “This time it is going to be different.” It never is. Politicians all too often make the same shallow promises. They speak one commitment when they want you to elect them and change dramatically after they are in office. 

This commissioner’s statement indicating that they are spending their money is a prime example of what happens when many elected officials forget for whom they work. Our county does not have a franchise on self-indulgent politicians; the matter is national in scope, but this narcissistic-induced pain we feel is right here in our backyard. 

Some of these elected positions are indeed thankless endeavors, and many, hopefully most, do it to serve. That is commendable, and I for one am grateful for their commitment. However, that commitment should be built upon the constant understanding that they chose the assignment and that, as such, they must serve as good and wise stewards of the taxpayer’s money. 

And if they decide that they want to pay the salaries of the municipality employees, we will shout it from the rooftops and encourage others to follow suit. If they don’t want to write checks, they should reserve these outlandish comments and behave in a manner consistent with the trust that has been placed in them. 

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