Keep democracy working

Published 9:45 pm Saturday, April 21, 2012

By Jon Ward

Citizens of Suffolk, give yourselves a pat on the back. By standing up as one in a common cause, you have shown that democracy really can work.

Like many, I was pleased with the City Council’s decision to scrap the high pay increases for the top positions in our city. It seems a bit fairer that they should spread the wealth a little by giving a 2-percent raise to all city employees, instead. It just goes to show that when we become active in our governmental process there is nothing that cannot be attained.

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Our governments consist of people — whether elected, appointed or hired on — who are our neighbors, friends and sometimes family. They need to know what we as individuals and groups need and want for our neighborhoods, towns, cities, counties, states and nation. Getting involved the value of democracy in our nation.

I am still concerned about the implementation of this new budget over three years. It seems as though the study that was done on these pay rates is flawed and really needs to be redone. It needs to be redone with comparable cities whose populations, revenues and infrastructures are similar. Also, the citizens of Suffolk should have access to the study to see for themselves what the results suggest.

It is up to us as citizens to make sure that all people within our government are doing the jobs they are supposed to do. If their performance is lacking, should they get raises? If their performance is outstanding, how much of a raise is fair? Also, if all of our needs as a city are not met (i.e., education, fire, police, parks and recreation, social, and so on), should we be giving any raises at all when the money is not there.

If our education system is lacking, it really should be funded before any other raises are given. Then the City Council should be fair to all and give raises to everyone, based upon performance.

If we do give raises, and the money is not there, the only way to get it is by raising various fees and taxes, which will also have an impact on citizens. Our city should be run like a standard household — you live within your means.

I cannot stress enough that the citizens of Suffolk are vital to our city’s success. Your input, your actions, your coming together as a whole for a common cause, your phone calls, your emails, your support are all needed for your elected council members to know how to represent you within our city.

Never forget that we elect them there to do a job, and like all jobs, someone needs to check to make sure that the job is getting done right. I, for one, would like to see monthly town hall meetings to keep the public informed of everything going on. That is something we do not have much of, and it would help keep our elected officials up to date on what Suffolk’s citizens want them to do.

Keep democracy working. Get involved.

Jon Ward is a resident of Eclipse. Email him at TigPooh2@aol.com.