Six Republicans in the State Legislature have forgotten the party mantra of local control. Rep. Ed Van Gerpen (R-19/Avon) has floated House Bill 1071, which would cap the salaries of county commissioners at 50% above the state-specified minimum. SDCL 7-7-5 currently sets default pay for county commissioners on a four-step scale that increases with population. HB 1071 would set the maximum here in Lake County at $8095.50. In Minnehaha County, the maximum would be $10849.50.
According to their December 21, 2010, minutes, Lake County commissioners currently receive an annual salary of $10,348. According to Minnehaha County's January 4, 2011, minutes, commissioners receive $25,450.88.
I'm surprised that these Republican legislators aren't letting folks decide their own county commission salaries at the local level. State law leaves it to local government to determine the salaries of municipal officials and utility board members. The state does, however, cap per-diem compensation for school board members.
So how much is good government worth to you? If we want to pay our Lake County commissioners twice the minimum specified by state law, is that anyone's business but our own?