Friday, March 13, 2009

Kurlinkus instructed to make Republicans look good

I just watched a tape from last night's county board meeting. Republicans had their hearts in the right place by proposing a 10 percent cut in their own $7,500 stipends last night as a show of solidarity with county employees in the midst of budget cuts. Unfortunately, they turned a nice gesture into more partisan nonsense.

Democrats on the board were deliberately left out of the loop. I guess that's just the GOP's way of trying to make people forget whose majority got the county into this mess in the first place.

The resolution was introduced by John F. Sweeney, who shall henceforth be referred to as Teeny-Sweeney, so as not to be confused with his father, John M. Sweeney, a/k/a the Weenie-Sweeney.

Republicans who jumped on board with this proposal were too busy strutting like peacocks to realize that what they were suggesting is technically illegal. By statute, a board cannot alter its own pay, even if it's to lower it. This is basic stuff and not one among them seemed to realize it.

When Democrats caucused during the meeting, it's a sure bet this came up, because by the time Teeny-Sweeney brought forth the resolution, he asked for legal counsel, Dave Kurlinkus, to make the plan legal by the time it comes up for a vote in two weeks. I'm fairly confident Republicans would have called for a rule suspension and immediate vote otherwise.

What's at issue here is that board members must be sure the taxes, based on the full stipend amount, are paid to the state and feds. After that, I suppose they could pledge to give 10 percent back to the county. Sounds like an awful lot of trouble over a combined total of $21,000, but now they're gonna be stuck with the absurdity they've started.

Not long ago, Chairman Christiansen boasted he was taking reduced pay. I'll bet the tax issue hadn't occurred to him either before he blurted that out. And if I know Doug Aurand, I'll bet Democrats will remind him of it at the next meeting.

Karen Elyea, who some would say is in politics just for the paycheck, was not present. I know because I saw her at the aldermanic forum going on at Heartland Church at the same time last night. Apparently, her priority is campaigning for one office while negating another. If she feels it wasn't important to be representing her district during a very important county board meeting, who am I to judge?

I'll be she won't sign the resolution. She'll scratch, kick, bite and pull hair to keep from parting with that $750.

1 comment:

  1. I think there will be pressure to require this of the Alderman stipend, too.