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Washington County Supervisor Blasts Obscene Pay Raises

by Lewis Loflin

"I don't approve of percentage raises. The rich get richer, and the poor never catch up." Paul Price

Washington County Supervisor Paul Price blasted this year's "percentage-based raises" for widening the income gap between county workers and executive paper pushers. In 2007 the already overpaid county executives got obscene pay raises. County Administrator Mark Reeter got a $20,000 raise last year and another $3200 this year while County Attorney Lucy Phillips got $13,000 and another $2800 this year. Working full-time employees got a whopping $8 an hour. Mr. Price calls this "disproportionate" and he is right.

He by the way supported the 2007 increases. Quoting Mr. Price in regards to people like Reeter, "I wouldn't say that I wouldn't want them to get a raise, but we've got to do something about the people who just aren't making ends meet. You've got county employees who work hard and show up, and they just keep getting farther and farther behind."

Note that government workers in the region earn much more than private sector workers, so why doesn't this also apply to them? Mr. Price wants a more "fair" plan on pay raises for public workers; "I don't approve of percentage raises. The rich get richer, and the poor never catch up." He wants a new plan in two years; good luck Mr. Price.

The situation is no different in Bristol, Virginia. To quote the Bristol Herald Courier (June 11, 2008), "A third of Bristol's residents need affordable housing, said Mayor Jim Rector, and "public affordable housing is the way to go. In private housing programs, the only goal is profit, while public programs do what is best for residents." Why in the heck don't we ever get jobs that pay a living wage here so they won't need public housing Mr. Mayor? What's wrong with private affordable housing other than those that could afford it are not wanted in most parts of Bristol? Why did Bristol, Virginia vote to give a developer $2.5 million in corporate welfare that produced a single restaurant, but refused to allow another private developer to build affordable housing that demanded no subsidies? And this didn't stop Washington County Supervisors from spending $10 million in corporate welfare for a strip-mall development.