I wish to respond to Mr. Lapitka’s letter to the editor published in the Advertiser-News on Feb. 28 regarding the Vernon mayor’s request for a $40,000 salary increase. First I wish to comment on the writer’s characterization of the mayor’s job as simply that of an “elected official” worth only $7,000 per year. I feel reluctantly compelled to draw a page from the Chris Christie book of candor in characterizing this statement as “so preposterous as to erode the credibility the entire remainder of this letter”. (A plagiarized Christie-ism).
I am guessing that Mr. Lapitka has not had any recent or direct experience in actually dealing with the local government on issues of importance to get them resolved. I have, (my first political effort ever in this town) and can only say that if it were not for the hands-on efforts of this mayor, the rather contentious multi-million dollar VTMUA situation may well have already descended into chaos. Vic prevented that from happening with diplomatic skills, energy and a well-above-average knowledge of the subject. The town’s professional staff is highly qualified, of course, but is not empowered to deal with diverse and largely political issues such as this created. This mayor filled a unique role here which I know could not have been done by anyone but a mayor, and in the long run may have saved the town a small fortune.
In my own work, I have dealt directly for many years in the private sector with a large number of CEOs of companies large and small and therefore feel qualified to say that this job is in many ways that of a CEO. Public service jobs are notorious for paying less than the private sector. I am quite sure, however, that many public officials nationwide could earn more elsewhere but don’t because they are personally drawn to the opportunity for public service. While performing it they should however be paid a decent wage.
As a final note, if the mayor is successful in obtaining this $40,000 salary increase it will cost each taxpayer a whopping $1.28 per taxpayer per year; a small price to pay the top dog in a rather volatile “corporation” like Vernon.
Sincerely,Roy Tanfield Vernon