Editorials

Public workers shouldn’t be campaign ATMs

St. Clair County employees and office holders since 1999 gave $3.62 to their bosses’ election campaigns for every $1 their peers in Madison County gave.
St. Clair County employees and office holders since 1999 gave $3.62 to their bosses’ election campaigns for every $1 their peers in Madison County gave. bweisenstein@bnd.com

As Madison County politicians continue their conversion to the L. Andy Economy Church of Ethicology, they should look into some additional revelations. They can find them in the Book of Lug, Patronage 1:1, The Contributions.

“Thou shalt not prey on the workers of the public body, who feareth for their jobs. Seek not enrichment of thy campaign coffers from the flock, who unhappily selleth tickets to thy chicken dance.”

As much hellfire as the Madison County Board and chairman Alan Dunstan have felt, who knew they were far from the greatest sinners? The patronage kings are in St. Clair County.

St. Clair County employees and office holders since 1999 contributed $1.6 million compared to $442,000 from the same group in Madison County. That’s $3.62 from St. Clair County’s workers and bosses for every $1 that Madison County generated.

Traditionally county employees have paid a lug, which has been 10 percent of their salaries donated back as campaign contributions to keep their bosses in office. It essentially funnels tax dollars paid those public employees into campaigns to keep the dominant party in power.

Politicians pretend it is all voluntary and is a reflection of grateful employees generously showing their support. But the unwritten rule is that if you value your county job, you’d be wise to sell or just buy those campaign fundraiser tickets.

Public workers work for the public, not elected officials.

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