Viewpoint: Commission should lead by example

The fiscal struggles of local governments are almost universal and well-documented. Dougherty County employees are facing their third consecutive year with no pay raise, and rising health insurance premiums.

Dougherty County's Police Chief is seeing resignations from some of his experienced officers, and these are the reasons why. The Dougherty County Commission is calling for a 4.6% pay cut, which will come in the form of un-paid days off:  the dreaded FURLOUGH.

The county manager, who makes nearly one-hundred twenty-five thousand dollars a year, has already said that he is furloughing himself the same as the rank and file employee, and DCP Chief Don Cheek, who makes $88,000 a year, will take the furlough medicine, too.

These leaders are leading by example in tough times. We think it's only fair and reasonable that the people who set policy and control the direction of the county do the same. The six Dougherty County Commissioners' base pay is $9,600 a year.

The Chairman makes $11,070 a year. That comes to $68,670 a year.  If they all take the pay cut being recommended for their subordinates, the county will save $3,158 a year.

In the overall scheme of things, that's not much money.The message sent by doing the right thing will speak much louder. Though the action is mostly symbolic, it is still important, and our elected leaders need to be good examples. We call on them to adopt this measure at their next board meeting.