Recent reports indicate representatives from Beaufort County Council received additional salary compensation, stipends, and holiday pay they were not entitled to. The pay was a result of votes they took as a body, and in violation of the law and county ordinances. Each representative should know that an increase in Beaufort County employee pay should not affect their compensation. One does not need to be elected to the council to know that representatives are not employees of the county, but rather elected officials. After voting four times to increase pay for Beaufort County employees, none of the council members noted a corresponding increase in their own compensation?
Vice Chair Paul Sommerville was quoted, “I’ve got better things to do than worry about what the finance department is paying me for.” The county finance department bears some responsibility, but oversight of county funds is one of the primary functions of county council. It is a failure at the most basic level, and these comments show a disdain for his role as Councilman.
Self – government is the foundation of American Democracy. We deserve representatives who understand their role and what a privilege it is to serve. More than that, we deserve representatives who have proven themselves to respect their relationship with the public as citizen-servants. My name will be on the ballot in November for Beaufort County Council, District 7. I plan to represent the people of Beaufort County with integrity and respect.
As a public school advocate, I engage with local government often. I follow and participate in Board meetings, council meetings, committee meetings regularly. I also inform others through social media, work with community organizations, and write letters to the editor for local newspapers. The work I've done provided valuable experience. As a citizen activist working to effect change, I learned value of transparency and accountability in government from the outside. I plan to use this experience to create a better relationship between the council and the community.
You can read the original article from the Island Packet detailing the issues with Beaufort County Council pay here.