Republican candidates for St. Joseph County Council are speaking out Tuesday in advance of a scheduled vote by the current council to override a Board of Commissioners veto.
The vote comes after the County Board of Commissioners vetoed a measure initially passed by the council to grant Prosecutor Mike Dvorak’s request to grant pay increases for employees of that office.
“There is a budget process for a reason,” said Dennis Jordan, candidate for County Council in District B. “Republicans sat down in good faith during the budget process and came to a compromise. Now, Democrats are trying an end around.”
“It sets a bad precedent,” remarked Terry DeMaegd, candidate for the County Council seat in District H. “If this request is allowed to go through, what is there to stop other department heads from making similar requests? The council would be dealing with special appropriations year round.”
Republican Party leadership believes that the Democrats on the County Council are trying to avoid a battle over the general budget by circumventing the process and limiting the voice of Republicans on the council and the Republican majority on the Board of Commissioners.
“How are Republicans supposed to negotiate in earnest during budget meetings if Democrats are going to make unilateral decisions outside of the normal process?” questioned DeMaegd.
“We certainly want to pay our public servants a fair wage,” said Jordan. “But this is not the way to go about it. We need to have a broader discussion about budget issues. We have plenty of potholes to fill and the county hasn't yet replaced the $5 million that it borrowed out of CEDIT (County Economic Development Income Tax) to cover a budget shortfall in 2013. We need to tackle those issues first.”