Attention, Hartford voters. You have an opportunity to save your city nearly $1 million over the next four year, simply by voting yes on the only referendum question on this fall's municipal election ballot. Voting yes essentially cancels a big raise that city council members voted for themselves three years ago.
In 2008, the council voted to put a nearly 80 percent salary increase for themselves - from $15,000 a year to $26,650 - on the ballot that year. It passed with 51 percent of the vote, quite possibly because the ballot question was confusingly worded and didn't make clear that it was about giving the council a raise.
Some council members, to their credit, agreed to put a question on this fall's ballot to rescind the raises. The question, unfortunately, is once again needlessly complex and confusing. It reads:
"Shall there be an ordinance repealing the November 4, 2008 ordinance which increased the annual salary of members of the Court of Common Council to twenty six thousand six hundred fifty dollars and 00/100 ($26, 650) and restoring the annual salary to fifteen thousand dollars and 00/100 ($15,000) pursuant to Chapter IV, Section 1(a) of the Charter of the City of Hartford?"
To vote yes is to bring the salary back to $15,000, which is still the highest council salary in the state, and ought to be enough. These are part-time positions. As councilman Kenneth Kennedy said in opposing the raise in 2008, council work is public service, a privilege that involves some sacrifice.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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