Monday, December 17, 2007

Lack of money is the root of all evil.

I have a modest proposal. While at first blush, it may seem like a rather costly endeavor, I can assure you that the end result would be a lean, efficient and highly-capable District. I propose that we pay board members a salary, and not just a small salary, but a salary that might motivate competent managers and business people to join its ranks.

But can we pay board members? They are elected officials and we pay elected officials a substantial sum for their contributions to society. We paid Don Rumsfeld. We continue to pay George Bush. We pay our congressional representatives. Closer to home, we pay the mayors of Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace. We pay our County Sheriff. In fact, we pay the vast majority of our elected officials a wage that most people can comfortably live on. Why not include our local school board members.

Of course, if you offer a salary you might just get people competing for the position that really want to be there. Once there, they would work hard to keep their place. They might just cast a few votes in favor of the District's mission. It's a great idea and needs to get some traction.

For those of you that still believe that board members take their seats to perform a public service and are not motivated by the money, I say balderdash. Who is better equipped to detect a money-hungry parasite than another money-hungry parasite? Pay board members lucrative salaries and they might just look a little more closely at the fine print - or in the case of important documents like the CFP - they might even glance at the print or maybe the pictures.

I cannot help but wonder what motivates a board member to sit on the board. Of course, it isn't the money. (Well, not the actual stipend. Surely there must be kickbacks here and there.) It isn't in the spirit of public service, because they must be convinced by now that a service to the public hasn't been performed since September 11th, when Bruce Williams resigned. There was nothing public service-oriented about the property transactions. The piano scam. Or a wide spectrum of internal malfeasance.

This token gesture of handing out $50 bills for each board meeting a member attends has to be ended. In this day and age, even children know that you only get what you pay for. There is no such thing as a free ride and $50 is as close to free as you can get in the world of accounting.

1 comment: said...

What will these salaried board members do all day? Put them to work as clerical or custodial subs. Let them teach Junior Achievement classes after school. Let them train principals and teachers about the free market and effective business practices.

Heck, just give them a set of master keys and let them roam around. They'll find something to do.