With significant turnover — and the addition of two new members thanks to redistricting — the Hamilton County Commission will look much different behind the dais in the Courthouse in a few weeks.

And, as Mayor Jim Coppinger and several commissioners have said through the summer, there still is work to do.

Most of the attention (rightfully) has been focused on the proposed new Lookouts stadium at the former Wheland Foundry and U.S. Pipe site on South Broad Street. You may have read about it a time or 12.

And today, commissioners appear to be ready to dole out up to $30 million in federal money — spread out among the commission districts for a variety of projects (feels a little like discretionary money on steroids if you ask me — thanks, Uncle Joe Biden).

But there is another issue being bandied about downtown, and this one is not about giving taxpayer funds to businesses or wealthy developers and their investors.

This one is about commissioners weighing whether to boost taxpayer funds to be given to — commissioners — in the form of a pay raise.

That's right. The county budget office has been asked to prepare some examples of pay raises ranging from 2% to 5% at the request of a commissioner.

When asked about it last month, Hamilton County attorney Rheubin Taylor said he was approached about the legality of amending the recently approved budget (yes, the budget can be amended), and that was completely legal after the fact.

County employees received a 3% pay raise this year; however, the county mayor did not receive a pay raise. Because commissioners' salaries are tied to the mayor's, they did not get a raise.

Commissioners make about $24,500 a year (the chairman gets another $5,000), according to the county website.

I left multiple messages for the commissioner who asked the initial question of raises; he did not return my calls or text messages.

Since the various scenarios have been prepared by the budget office, the next step would be for this proposal to see the light of day. You know, when it finds the sunshine and all.

Of course, six of the current nine members of the County Commission will not return come September, which means they are not overly concerned about the appearance of voting themselves raises since they are not looking for any of our votes.

And here's betting that each has some sort of argument about "how many hours they put in" and "how hard they work" and could even hint that they are doing this for the next crew of county decision makers.

And all that is accurate.

But let's not forget that increased salaries in this proposal also means increases in pensions for commissioners (those with at least five years on the panel) who are easing off the commission. Yes, pensions. You remember those, right?

Since when do employees get to decide if they get raises? If commissioners view this as their "right" or a raise is something they have earned, make the case to the public. They work for you and me and and every other taxpayer in Hamilton County, and if they want a raise, they should be asking their bosses.

And doing it publicly.

Contact Jay Greeson at or 423-757-6273. Follow him on Twitter @jgreesontfp.

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Jay Greeson