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Letter: Salary is no guarantee of competency

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To the Editor:

Assistant Wabasha County Attorney Michael Plante recently responded to my letter that exposed the excessive wage increases paid to elected officials in Wabasha County. Plante draws the conclusion that generous wages equate to “top-flight managers.” 

Let’s contemplate his logic. Plante stated, “Taxpayers should have the best and brightest officials running their government.” 

Does he really believe that wage increases will suddenly yield superior public servants? This logic is twisted. 

For nine years Wabasha’s “best and brightest” officials have been operating an illegal program. The state auditor, attorney general and two county commissioners tried to instruct these “top-flight managers” to cease their illegal ruse. It took ordinary citizens (not top-flight managers) to rise up and hold our officials accountable to the very law that Plante and his compensation increase-seeking colleagues lacked the ability to properly interpret.

How can it be that every day, underpaid taxpayers/citizens understood the law and Plante didn’t?

The judge’s recent ruling to shut down the program stated, “The statute is unambiguous.” He also characterized the continuation of this program would represent a “continued and repeated trespass on the laws of the State of Minnesota.”

If the court insists the statute is clear, why did Michael Plante repeatedly counsel his County Board to continue this illegal program?

So the world, according to Plante, would have you believe he and the officials who willfully participated in an illegal program for nine years are not incompetent, they are simply underpaid.   

Beverly C. Snow

Zumbro Falls

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