Compliment to one city’s mayor

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 27, 2004

In a day and time when it seems few of us dare trust elected officials I am again reminded that, perhaps, it is still possible to take a politician at face value and be pleased with the reflection.

Gov. Bob Riley put forth a tax package this past year and voters went to the polls in droves, 3 to 1 in fact, to vote the measure down. Why?

Well, many believe it was the lack of trust the Alabama electorate has in their elected officials that doomed Riley’s effort; Alabamians, the line goes, just don’t trust politicians with more of their hard-earned money.

Things are no different in Shelby County. Voters here voted down a tax increase earlier this month that was earmarked for the capital needs of our schools; this one also failed by a measure of 3 to 1.

It seems we simply have little confidence that those we vote into office will treat the money we send them with discretion and perhaps even with, dare I suggest, a bit of appreciation for those of us funding the system.

Whether you supported or opposed the two previously mentioned tax measures, one thing is almost assured: voters do not trust our elected representatives with more money.

Well, for those of you living in Alabaster, perhaps you can rest easy.

Turns out you have a mayor who isn’t interested in spending more of your tax money even when it would mean a nice raise for himself.

Alabaster Mayor David Frings stated this past week that he opposes a recent proposal that would raise the annual pay rate of the mayor and city council effective with this year’s election. Imagine that.

Turns out the voters in Alabaster elected a mayor that is judicious when it comes to spending tax money and is slow to press for a measure that would benefit him personally.

The measure Frings opposes, put forth by the city of Alabaster’s finance committee, would increase the mayor’s pay rate from $30,000 annually to a range of $32,400 to $37,200 based on the number of times re-elected; members of the city council, currently paid $9,000 per year, would enjoy compensation ranging from $9,600 to $14,400. That is an increase of 8 and 7 percent, respectively.

According to Mayor Frings, the city needs to focus on improving the compensation of other city employees, like police officers and firefighters, rather than increasing the take-home pay for elected officials.

Sounds reasonable enough to me.

Mayor Frings deserves the thanks of every taxpayer in the city of Alabaster.

And maybe, just maybe, we have a few other elected officials in this state and on our local school board who would act just as admirably when faced with the opportunity to invest the tax money with which we entrust them.

Isn’t it a shame we did not realize this a few weeks ago?

Tim Prince is the publisher of the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at