On the evening of May 17th, 2011, I attended the Kenai Borough Assembly meeting where the Borough Assembly members voted in favor of Ordinance 2011-11 to increase the mayor's salary to $99,000 per year even though there were many objections heard during public comment time. This ordinance was brought forth by Assemblymen Smith and Pierce.
From what the members of the assembly said it seems they voted in favor of this ordinance out of fairness, stating that the average income of persons residing in the borough was over $100,000 per year and because we have such a low rate of unemployment.
So, I did some research and found that in the Kenai Peninsula Borough Resident Snapshot (2009) published by the Kenai Peninsula Borough there were 41,744 residents of the borough that were of working age (16 and above) and that the total wages paid out within the borough was $871,032,386. Well, I divided the total wages paid out by the number of working age residents and came up with an average annual salary of $20,866.05. Wanting to be fair I then took the number 20,872 (half of the 41,744 residents, thinking maybe at least half were students and seniors not seeking work) and applied the same math and came up with an average annual salary of $41,732.10. Keeping in mind also that many of these individuals earning the salary of $41,732.10 went to school for many years to earn the degrees and credentials required to earn this salary, I decided to see what qualifications, degrees, and credentials were needed to be the borough mayor and earn an annual salary of $99,000. What I found is that you need no education, degrees or credentials that the only qualification to hold the office in that a candidate for borough mayor must be a qualified voter of the State of Alaska and a resident of the Kenai Peninsula Borough for 180 days immediately preceding filing for office.
So where fairness played into the decision of the assembly to grant this raise to the mayor or where any common sense was used to reach the decision eludes me. I feel the $80,000 salary received by the mayor prior to the raise was more than adequate for a job whose only requirement was that you be a resident for five months.
I ask that you keep in mind that in my above letter when I refer to mayor I am referring to the office not any particular individual.
Becky Moore, Kenai
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