When Director of Voter Registration Debbie Gardner asked to be paid more for her role in the county's election office, the quality of work of that office was disputed. Several citizens made public complaints after November's election, including voters being registered in the wrong districts and phone calls to the office going unanswered. Mistakes happen, and every office does have its problems, but an operation funded by taxpayers is going to be held to a higher standard than a private business. Certainly those tax-paying citizens who had problems during the last election would not justify a pay raise for Gardner.
If we are dissatisfied with a privately owned operation, we can take our business elsewhere; this is not the case with public offices.
One way taxpayers do exert some control over public offices is through their purse strings, so of course the pay of those working in those offices should reflect their performance.
By County Council having to pass this issue on to a committee to be settled brings its performance into question, as does the ongoing courthouse situation. While council seems to be headed in the right direction with its latest plan to remedy the space and safety concerns surrounding the Chesterfield County Courthouse, this has been an issue for the county for nearly two years.
If County Council members choose to not grant Gardner a raise, they need to think about their own performance and does it reflect the quality of work they are demanding from other public entities. And, if they choose to grant Gardner a raise, they need to reconsider the quality of work they are delivering to taxpayers.