Montgomery Co. Commissioners Vote To Give Themselves Retirement Benefits
Commissioner Reed Ingram says the idea of commissioners getting retirement benefits has been floating around for several weeks but a vote on the proposal just made that idea closer to becoming a reality.
Along with Commissioner Dimitri Polizos, Reed Ingram voted against the retirement benefits. Commissioners Dan Harris, Elton Dean, and Jiles Williams Jr. were all in favor of it. Ingram calls the retirement an 'unnecessary pay raise' and says the commissioners are already reaping several benefits.
"We get paid really good for what we do part-time," says Ingram. "We get expense allowance and we get insurance... life insurance, health insurance. I don't choose to take a cell phone or a credit card but there are commissioners who have cell phones and credit cards."
Montgomery resident Nakia Smith says the commissioners should take care of other business before giving themselves retirement benefits.
"They're constantly closing down schools, which are very important to our kids and our kids futures," she says. "So if they don't have any money to fund the schools, how can they all of a sudden come up with funds for retirement? It doesn't make sense."
And Ingram agrees, saying the commissioners make a living and earn retirement by working other jobs. He says the city can't afford to provide retirement benefits.
"The schools are strapped," he says. "The county's strapped. The state's strapped and we don't need to be adding any burden onto the government. It doesn't send the right signal to the public."
For the most part, the public isn't on board.
"They shouldn't get it," says Montgomery resident William Rogers. "Middle class people aren't making any money. The rich is getting richer and the poor is getting poorer."
"How do you get a full time retirement just working part time?" asks Montgomery resident John Powel. "Here I am working 40 years and don't get a full time retirement but they're going to get one for working part time?"
Commissioner Ingram says providing retirement benefits may also encourage people to run for office but for the money and benefits instead of for the good of the people.