Letter: Liberty and justice for . . . nine?

I expected last week’s issue of the Rappanhannock News to be especially thick. Surely it would be filled with numerous letters from the spirited Friends of Liberty scribes who would be taking the board of supervisors to task over excesses in the county budget. Coming off a concerted effort to blast the school board, the superintendent, the teachers and anyone else that supported spending on education, I thought their tongues and pens would quickly pivot to target to those with the power of the purse. 

Imagine the outrage of our Friends as they learned that the budget contained a provision for $90,000 in salary increases for the benefit of only nine people! Not one-time “atta boy” bonuses, mind you, but annual salary increases that would also pump up retirement benefits for the Entitled Nine. But when our Friends went out with a whimper at the actual vote (4-1 to approve the budget and the windfall), I thought they would certainly respond with a vengeance. After all, what are Friends for?

Well, where are your Friends when you need them? On vacation in the islands? Planning the first charter school in Rappahannock County? Your guess is as good as mine, but one thing is for sure; they weren’t at their typewriters. So why, pray tell, do our Friends take a nap when county government employees get big salary increases? Is it because the word “Constitution” is contained in “constitutional officers?” Maybe the secret for the school system is to rename all their history teachers “constitutional instructors” and all the maintenance staff who clean the restrooms “cleaners of the bodily constitution.” Then the 3-percent raise that school employees received this year (i.e., $1,200 on a $40,000 salary as opposed to an average of $10,000 for a barrister, comptroller or clerk in a county of barely more than 7,000 people) may have gotten a more Friendly response. 

Maybe our Friends should slip a little extra money into their tax bill for our constitutional officers. That was their brainchild for taxpayers who wanted to spend more on educating the next generation. After all, what’s good for the school kids should be good for the sheriff.

Larry Hepinstall

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