Best Move Is One Not Made

Sometimes, the best move is the one not made.

The Chautauqua County Legislature is living proof of that old adage this week. Jay Gould, R-Ashville and legislature chairman, pulled four local laws from the legislature’s Wednesday agenda prompted by recommendations from the Salary Review Commission. The commission had recommended 28.8 percent raises for the county executive, sheriff and county clerk and a $3,000 raise for legislators.

The Administrative Services Committee approved salary raises to the executive and clerk while keeping the sheriff and legislative salaries the same. Then, the Audit and Control Committee voted against any change to the salaries. There was no concensus on the proposal at two legislature committee meetings last week, setting the stage for chaos on the legislature floor.

Gould made the right decision to pull the salary recommendations from consideration at Wednesday’s meeting and is also correct when he told The Post-Journal that there must be a better way. As we have seen, the entire process used to set elected officials’ salaries needs to be overhauled. Recommendations from the last two Salary Review Commissions have been too rich for taxpayers to stomach and for legislators to responsibly approve – as clear a sign as any that the commission just doesn’t work.

This year is shaping up as a perfect time to decide these salary issues once and for all. Legislators should take the time necessary to figure out what the county can afford and set elected officials’ salaries accordingly – with strong consideration given to holding the line on salaries.