By Doris Adam, Hamilton
“…it’s just a matter of math.”–That’s what County Commissioner Matt Kanenwisher calls the laying off of 20 hardworking, hardscrabble county workers, or 10% of our county workforce. Ten percent! Actually Matt, they’re not just “math.” They’re real people, our neighbors, who likely make much less than you as a commissioner. They may work much harder, and do their job much better, than our commissioners. Do our commissioners have any compassion for those they’re about to lay off so casually?
I have a simple question: Did the commissioners consider taking a pay cut from their approximate $50,000/year salary before deciding to eliminate these folks? As an example, a 10% cut in their own salary would save one of those jobs! That’s not asking too much, and it would demonstrate fairness and leadership. Was this on the table? If it wasn’t, seems to me it should be.
One other option might be to stop paying Texas consultants who tell our commissioners how to do their jobs. Talk about waste, incompetence and corruption. Or better yet, lay off two of the three newest commissioners, so we’d be back to the ‘old’ number of three. Would save about 4 jobs right there and wouldn’t make any difference in how the county’s managed. You could start with Matt, then Ron Stoltz, who adds less to the discussion than a bump on a log. But to be completely fair and constructive, how about a 10% across-the-board pay cut for all county workers? Right there that’d probably save all 20 positions and not bring calamity to 20 Bitterroot families.
It’s really about competence, fairness, and the right priorities. We need more of all three in our commissioners. And I must say commissioners, we need more jobs in our valley, not 20 less!