They $aid they want what?

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

23 thoughts on “They $aid they want what?

  1. My feelings are, the salaries were known before the members ran for office and if a citizen calls to report bad road conditions you don’t have to get in your car and go look at it , its bad , I can sit right here in my chair and tell you its bad , every road in this parish are bad .

  2. I have noticed that a number of people have mentioned that council members incur out of pocket expenses in direct service associated with their office. If there is presently no provision for the reimbursement of actual council related expenses, there should be. In lieu of a salary increase, the parish should authorize and develop a system of direct reimbursement of expenses, or a flat allowance possibly based upon the size of the district. That, in my opinion would be fair and reasonable.

  3. The good people of this parish voted out the antiquated Police Jury system of the past for it’s ineffectiveness and the financial disaster it had created. The author of this commentary is correct regarding public service and monetary compensation to council members. I served on the non-compensated B.R. commission that designed and proposed the new form of government and the rationale covered in his piece closely parallels what our thinking was at the time. When we recover financially from the past (and we’re making progress) then pay raises are a legitimate topic for both the council and the Parish President. But we’re not there yet so I feel these proposed raises are premature. The council members that are supporting the raises should have considered the compensation before running for office or chose another avenue for public service. There are numerous committees, commissions and organisations looking for assistance and they do help make a difference in this parish.

    Unfortunately, to expedite our road improvement efforts, it will likely require a parish vote for a new tax of some sort. Having the council vote themselves a 140% pay increase at this stage will not instill confidence in the parish voters to support a new tax. In conclusion I’m not saying there isn’t some legitimacy to pay raises, however I think the timing is wrong and there are currently higher priorities for those dollars.

  4. It is just as Simple as this They Knew What the Position Paid When They Ran For Office. If they did not like it they should have not run. If they cannot live without the raise they should Resign.

  5. Look at how many of our city police officers that do a public ( Service ) that don’t get paid at all at least they are getting something or even our sheriff’s officers that are in the reserves that have to volunteer 11 hours before they get paid and they are putting there lives on the line everything they leave there families. Everyone has to make sacrifices at least they are getting something for the job they are SUPPOSED to be doing and us the public that have to travel the roads to and from where ever aren’t getting ANY long term fixes for our roads. I’m not a person to complain but I grew up in this town and have physically have seen the depreciation of the roads in the town I call home. I’ve even dug ditches and filled pot holes on my own road and unplugged culverts to prevent further damage to the road I live on I’m not asking anything in return but something has to give and everyone has to get off there high horse and do what’s best for our town and come together and put personal drama aside to make our town beautiful again like it once was when I was kid growing up before everyone started putting there hand out saying give me give this is our town we live in and we should all be ashamed to have family and friends come here and travel these roads when they leave Natchitoches parish roads it’s like night and day far as the condition of them.

  6. I am shocked that the members that propose this raise ran for re-election. They have made a fool out of the people that voted for them. WHY I ask if you felt cheated would you run for the position again? I have confidence that Rick Nowlin will veto the proposed ordinance should it pass.

  7. Oh, and as for you sir, I forgot to reply to your post in my original comment. I applaud you on your selflessness but not everyone has such deep pockets or extra income to donate their salary. Some people use it to actually drive their roads and see what the problems are, which cover many many miles. What about the raises for the secretaries, or directors which are way above 1200 a month. How about decreasing those to an actual reasonable amount. Instead of coming across and wanting what’s best for the tax payers, you really just come across like you’re saying you are better than everyone else.

    • Jeez, Brittany, the secretaries work 200 hours a month for $1500. And you are defending self serving elected officials paying themselves virtually the same amount for one (1) hour of sitting at a table in the courthouse per month. How can those officials be objective concerning the budget shortfall when their first order of business is to vote themselves a raise to be paid from funds that are not there or in the budget. I urge you to reexamine your thoughts and realize the absurdity of their position. I am not one to rise up in anger and protest normally, but I for one will be at the meeting when this proposal is discussed and acted upon to register my protest. I hope others will do the same. There is an often over used quote that is most apropros in this situation: “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. Edmund Burke

      • Alan, here is the problem with your logic, it’s not just the one hour a month at a table as you call it. It is having your phone ring at all hours of the day and night with people wanting to know this and that. Once you get out if the city limits of Natchitoches, things go downhill VERY quickly. Mr Bedgood’s District is the entire north side of the parish on both sides of the river. I am sure he has an incredible fuel expense to meet with some of the people he represents. Mr Salter for the moment, soon to be Mr Rachall will have the same problem in District 5, though he has already gone on record as saying he opposes the raise idea. They only have 1 meeting to attend a month, but they still have to answer the phone and meet with the people of the district from time to time, at least that is what a good councilman would do.

        And and as far as the budget goes, and correct me if I am wrong, was it not a “Balanced Budget”?? I am looking at the ones from 2014 and they show that the parish has MILLIONS in the bank, The Road Fund was in the red, but the general fund had close to if not $2 Million in reserve!!! I could go on but this no money crap has about as much truth as the “xxxx road only pays $xxx.xx into the road fund” logic. Find some other person to try and buy that line

  8. I disagree.. I think that the council members should be reimbursed for expenses related to serving on the council, including yourself if you so choose.

    The council members from especially Districts 4 and 5 have a lot of area to cover and I am sure that $500 is not enough and they are having to go into their own pocket. This parish has nearly $2 million sitting in the general fund as of the end of last year. The money is there. Even if it not passed as I am sure it will be, The extra money would not be transferred to the road fund. That would amount to “swapping funds” as you call it and “would bring us back to the old days”

    If not $1200, why not compromise on say $800-$900?? Lets meet in the middle.. Would work for a lot of things in this parish, but I venture to say, It will be a cold day in you know where before that would happen

  9. Thank you sir for your commitment and your challenge. The ‘Three Stooges’ of the current council wanting the “Pay Raise” are representative of a style and pattern of public entity management that has worn thin with most citizens. Two out of the three were just re-elected to the council. It seems that “Public Service” is not on their agenda.

    • Public Service is all that one of the “three stooges” as you say has ever done. And if you knew how much time and stress he out in to the job you wouldn’t be so quick to talk bad about people. I can’t speak for all, but the one that I know personally, tries his best to get things done for the roads and the people he represents. That’s hard when you can’t do anything yourself. So how about before you talk down on someone, call them and get their personal take on things. Their number is available to everyone.

      • Amen Brittney!!! Everything that is going wrong with this parish seems to be directed at these three members of it. No one wants to blame anyone else, and I know for a fact that none of the people making a big deal out of this have called them to find out why they are requesting this. The only reason they catch so much grief is because they were former police jurors. A lot of people publicly say they wonder why they are still there. Well as I have said before, they are there because they are who the people of the district chose to represent them. The ones that say “the Three Stooges” are just upset because they are the voice of the rural citizens of this parish, who want their fair share of the pot

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