Exponent Editorial, March 18, 1999
Lets get it right this time and give
raises to troopers
One glaring omission from the list of bills passed
at the end of the regular session of the Legislature Saturday was a pay
raise for state troopers. It had been one of the high profile issues addressed
by lawmakers this year but childish behavior in both houses botched things
To hear Sen. Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, tell it,
the House members of the conference committee (including Del. Barbara Warner,
D-Harrison) broke off the negotiations. But the House members claim that
while they were trying to talk with Prezioso on the Senate floor, they
were abruptly escorted out of the chamber by the sergeant-at-arms.
Good grief. Just get it done.
The main sticking point was over a proposal to cancel
this years cadet class in order to add more money for trooper raises.
The Senate wanted to keep the class, which would provide for a $2,200 annual
raise for troopers. The House wanted to scrap the class which would mean
a $3,900 raise.
However they resolve this issue, one thing is abundantly
clear: Lawmakers are embarrassed that they failed to provide a raise for
troopers and now they are scrambling to add it to this weekends special
Absolutely essential, in my opinion, said Senate
President Earl Ray Tomblin, is the State Police pay raise.
Even if we do nothing else, said House Speaker Bob Kiss, we need
to do that.
We think the troopers have stated their case very
clearly. While the state enjoys a low crime rate, they are paid much less
than their counterparts in surrounding states.
West Virginia state troopers need a substantial
pay raise this year and lawmakers need to make certain that it happens
in the special session.
Todays editorial reflects the opinion of the Exponent editorial
board, which includes William J. Sedivy, John G. Miller, Julie R. Cryser,
James Logue, Kevin Courtney and Cecil Jarvis.
Anmoore officials can quickly ease water bill
controversy: just by paying up themselves
Anmoores elected officials can do something right
now to calm the controversy over past-due water bills: They can pay off
their own. If they cant afford to do that, they can sign up for payment
City officials arent the only town residents with
past-due water bills. But their bills are the most troublesome, because
they present the appearance of favoritism. (Well leave it up to the Public
Service Commission, which will look into how Anmoores water and sewer
departments have been run, to decide whether there was favoritism.)
But Anmoore officials, by paying their bills or
agreeing to payment plans, can show they take this problem seriously. And
it is a serious problem. Thirty-three percent of the citys water customers
177 of 543 are at least 30 days late on their water and sewer bills.
(Among them are a council member, a former council member and some relatives
of council members.)
With so many overdue bills and few if any shut-off
notices going out, it is no surprise the Anmoore water department is in
debt. The department had a $9,000 deficit in fiscal year 1998 and deficits
in the past three years.
One thing Anmoore does not need right now is a lot
of finger-pointing. Some city officials have claimed the water woes are
left over from previous administrations. That wont wash. Nor will the
defense offered by some city council members that they did not know
about the water departments problems. The Anmoore City Council serves
as the Anmoore Water Board, so it was council members job to know.
The findings of the PSC investigation are not due
until July 9. Anmoore cannot wait that long. City officials need to act
now. They should send out overdue shut-off notices promptly putting themselves
at the top of the mailing list. They should pay up their water bills or
sign payment agreements. Doing so will be best for themselves and best
for their city.
Telegram Editorial Board member