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Reader in Radiant: Has Madison County lost its collective mind?

Reader in Radiant: Has Madison County lost its collective mind?

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Have we in Madison County completely lost our collective minds?

Our supervisors have now voted to increase county administrator Mr. Ernie Hoch’s salary by 18 percent beginning in July with five percent increases over the following three years of his four-year contract.

I like Ernie Hoch, and perhaps he is due a pay increase -- but 18 percent?

I bet the rest of the county employees would be thrilled with an increase in pay half that amount. If you do the math, five percent for the following year based on $118,000 is an additional $5,900, making his base salary now $123,900 a year. The next year five percent of $123,900 is $6,150, making his salary now $130,050. Then the following year the five percent increase based on $130,050 is $6,502, bringing his pay to $136,552.

So for the four years, his total pay will amount to $508,502, plus benefits. Nice work if you can get it.

My guess is that about 98 percent of the people who live in this area never come close to this in four years. Apparently the wealth in this county exceeds my wildest dreams. We paid, or are still paying, for a $10 million renovation of the courthouse. I don’t know what the original bid was for the work on the building, but the general consensus I hear is that it ended up costing in the neighborhood of $10 million. No one seems to be able to come up with an actual figure.

Now we are embarking on another $10 million or so for work on the high school and other capital improvements, some of which are probably needed. And some time ago it seems I read something about obtaining a multi-million dollar bond. I don’t know how many property owners or businesses there are in Madison County, but whatever the number, we are all going to be responsible for a lot of debt for many years.

Several years ago, I voted for Doris Lackey and Jonathon Weakley, thinking that they would be more conservative and responsible regarding county finances. This year I voted for the three newcomers to the board, thinking the same thing. But with the exception of Bill Campbell, they too, in my opinion, have been a disappointment based on their support for this more than generous pay increase.

Mr. Herb Putz has written many comments to the editor (much too many, in the opinion of some) raising concerns regarding how the board of supervisors and the school board spends the county’s funds. Some of his points seem to be valid and worthy of consideration.

However, I cannot ever remember either board commenting or considering that his concerns need addressing to either agree that they should be looked into, or to explain why they are incorrect. Instead they seem to just ignore him and dismiss his concerns as unimportant.

I think that the board of supervisors owe the citizens of Madison County an explanation of how they can justify this extravagant increase in Mr. Hoch’s salary.

Donald Gerhart


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