To the Good Folks of Natchitoches Parish,
I hear there is a proposal to raise the salaries of the members of the Parish Council from $500 to $1,200 a month. I think that is a 140% increase, if my math is correct. This action is called a proposed ordinance. The proposed ordinance seeks to spend money that is not available in the General Fund. The proposed ordinance is a failure of the public trust and would be injurious to the incoming Parish Council.
The proposed ordinance reflects a skewed idea of public service. This ordinance in no way benefits the tax payers of Natchitoches Parish. Rather than being about public service, this proposed ordinance is a reflection of personal greed at the public’s expense. It fails to understand the budgetary process and the proper handling of the public funds. It is bad government and poor representation. If you are trying to put a dollar amount on your time as a member of the Parish Council perhaps you misunderstand the meaning of the word service.
Candidly, I should tell you that I’m giving all my council salary to the Cane River Food Pantry so this is not about grocery money for me. It is about good government.
The proposed ordinance is bad business practice. It should have been made as the new operating budget was being formulated. As I have studied the new budget there is no money available for any kind of raise for the members of the Parish Council. The salaries come from the General Fund and the days of swapping money from one account to another will end, or at least I will raise holy hell when it is tried again. I hope no one says in a meeting, “that is the way we have always done it.” The way you have always done it has led to the roads we now have and to the lack of public trust.
The public meeting about this proposed ordinance is scheduled for December 21st at 5:30 p.m.
Here is what you can do about this proposed ordinance. You can make phone calls to the makers of the proposed ordinance and let them know your thoughts on the matter. You can attend the Parish Council meeting on December 21st at 5:30 and state your opposition to this proposed ordinance. At the very least, they will have to look you in the eye before voting. The proposed ordinance would cost Natchitoches Parish an addition $168,000.00 over four years. I wonder how much good pavement could be had for $168,000.00.
You can call upon Rick Nowlin to veto the proposed ordinance should it pass.
You can call upon the new members of the Council to sustain the veto of the proposed ordinance (again, should it pass). I will vote to sustain a veto of the proposed ordinance if that is necessary. I need two other council persons to join me in pledging to sustain the veto of the proposed ordinance.
If you rise up and demand good government you will start to see changes. If you sit back and do nothing, the good old boy system that is so dysfunctional will win again. As I see it, the tax payers of Natchitoches Parish can put a stop to this proposed ordinance by letting your opposition be known. Our goal should be to have this proposed ordinance withdrawn so we can enjoy Christmas week.
Doug de Graffenried
Parish Council Member, District 3 – ELECT