The Times (Northeast Benton County) - - OPINION -

Mayor’s salary con­sid­ered

In 2014 there was a po­ten­tial op­pos­ing can­di­date for mayor of Pea Ridge against the cur­rent sit­ting mayor. The cur­rent mayor went to the City Coun­cil and vol­un­teered by or­di­nance to re­duce his salary by nearly half, sug­gest­ing that a can­di­date’s start­ing wage should be based upon their qual­i­fi­ca­tions and ex­pe­ri­ence. Fol­low­ing the elec­tion in which he re­tained his seat, an­other or­di­nance was pre­sented to the City Coun­cil to re­in­state his salary in­clud­ing an in­crease. The Coun­cil passed this or­di­nance.

One of the al­der­men kept hear­ing from ci­ti­zens that this was not right and they were not in fa­vor of this prac­tice. He took it upon him­self to re­search the is­sue and upon call­ing the le­gal team at the Mu­nic­i­pal League in Lit­tle Rock, was told that the prac­tice was le­gal, but “ill ad­vised” and should be dis­cour­aged. Prior to an elec­tion it gives the per­cep­tion of dis­cour­ag­ing com­pe­ti­tion for that of­fice be­cause of the low salary.

Ul­ti­mately, it is nei­ther the mayor nor the City Coun­cil’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to de­ter­mine if a can­di­date is qual­i­fied for the po­si­tion. It’s the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the vot­ers to de­cide if an elected of­fi­cial is qual­i­fied, and they do so at the bal­lot box. Any elected of­fi­cial should start at the same wage as the per­son he is re­plac­ing re­gard­less of ten­ure.

Here we are in an­other elec­tion cy­cle and again an or­di­nance was pre­sented to lower the mayor’s salary for the up­com­ing term. The al­der­man who had re­searched it pre­vi­ously ex­plained to the other three al­der­men what he had learned, but they re­jected what he had to say and passed the or­di­nance three to one with the one al­der­man stat­ing: “I want the record to show that I am strongly op­posed to this or­di­nance.” These records are avail­able to the pub­lic un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act at City Hall. Ask for a copy of the min­utes.

In my opin­ion, if the mayor re­tains his seat, I hope the Coun­cil has the courage to en­force the or­di­nance on record that shows he vol­un­tar­ily re­duced his salary and he should have to serve the up­com­ing term at the amount agreed upon.

I would also hope that if we elect a new mayor, the Coun­cil will have the in­tegrity to raise the salary for that per­son by or­di­nance to give that per­son the salary they right­fully de­serve as a per­son duly elected by the ci­ti­zens of our com­mu­nity. SUE COTTINGHAM Pea Ridge

Con­trast­ing Po­lit­i­cal Views

Ten­sions over con­trast­ing po­lit­i­cal world views are di­vid­ing Amer­ica!

In the com­ing po­lit­i­cal sea­son, vot­ers need to choose can­di­dates wisely. Too many peo­ple choose a po­lit­i­cal can­di­date sim­ply for his or her pleas­ing per­son­al­ity or be­cause they make great prom­ises in 30-sec­ond TV sound bites. But vot­ers should fully eval­u­ate the can­di­dates be­fore vot­ing. For in­stance dur­ing the pri­mary sea­son, Ted Cruz was my first choice. And Don­ald Trump was my last choice be­cause of how he talked and his his­tory. But af­ter the pri­mary, Trump was my only choice. If I didn’t like Trump, why did I vote for him? Be­cause there are other im­por­tant cri­te­ria to con­sider be­fore vot­ing for or against a can­di­date. As Obama said, “Elec­tions have Con­se­quences!”

To re­ceive a po­lit­i­cal party’s sup­port, can­di­dates must pledge to sup­port the party’s core philoso­phies. And be­tween the par­ties, many of the op­pos­ing poli­cies are non-ne­go­tiable polar op­po­sites. For in­stance, Demo­cratic lead­er­ship be­lieves: The govern­ment can give or re­move our Rights; They say there are no ab­so­lute truths, and that our Con­sti­tu­tion and Bill of Rights are evolv­ing so that there is a “Sep­a­ra­tion of Church and State.” They be­lieve abor­tion is a right, and gen­der is fluid. They want more govern­ment reg­u­la­tions, higher taxes, and lim­ited law en­force­ment. Democrats be­lieve that any­one can vote, they want to abol­ish ICE, open our bor­ders, have un­lim­ited im­mi­gra­tion, and to be part of a New World Order.

Repub­li­cans be­lieve the “Con­sti­tu­tion is the Supreme

Law of the Repub­lic.” As our Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence states, “We hold these truths to be self­evi­dent, that all men are cre­ated equal, that they are en­dowed by their Cre­ator with cer­tain un­alien­able Rights, that among these are Life, Lib­erty and the pur­suit of Hap­pi­ness.” They re­vere the First Amend­ment, “Congress shall make no law re­spect­ing an es­tab­lish­ment of re­li­gion, or pro­hibit­ing the free ex­er­cise thereof…” They be­lieve that un­born ba­bies have the same “Right to Life” as all peo­ple, and they de­fend the Bib­li­cal def­i­ni­tion of Fam­ily and Mar­riage. Repub­li­cans want lim­ited govern­ment, lower taxes, na­tional sovereignty with se­cure bor­ders, and that only ci­ti­zens should vote. They want strong law en­force­ment and ICE; They know that the 2nd Amend­ment is nec­es­sary to se­cure our Bill of Rights.

Since these con­trast­ing po­si­tions aren’t ne­go­tiable, it is im­por­tant to know which party a can­di­date sup­ports! Some­times, we may not vote for a can­di­date as much as we vote against the op­po­nent. For those us in the “Bas­ket of De­plorables,” who are “Hang­ing onto our God and our Guns,” we voted against Clin­ton more than for Trump. And now, I’m glad we elected Pres­i­dent Trump, and that he is try­ing to keep his prom­ises like mov­ing the U.S. Em­bassy to Jerusalem! ALLEN MER­RITT Rogers

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