[Sun Gazette editorials represent the viewpoint of Sun Gazette Newspapers, which provides content to, but is otherwise unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]
Oh how we wish we could track down the exact quote, but it goes something like this.
Back when actress Carole Lombard – known for a saucy sense of humor – was married to Hollywood’s top leading man Clark Gable, she reputedly was asked about their love life.
Her response, most certainly tongue in cheek, went something along the lines of “oh, you can forget about that ‘world’s greatest lover’ thing people say about Clark – because frankly, I’ve had better.”
That’s akin to our view, talking about their professional performance only, of the current Arlington County Board. Collectively, they’re OK. Not necessarily superstars, not always rising to the level of some who came before them, but solid and workmanlike. A Timex rather than a Rolex. Nothing wrong with that.
Yet the current County Board members sometime seem to forget Arlington got to where it is, occasional warts and all, due largely to those who sat on the dais before them. As Ann Richards (like Lombard, one with a delightfully tart tongue) said of George H.W. Bush: “He was born on third base and thought he hit a triple.”
We mention all this because of last month’s decision by board members to significantly increase their potential paydays by raising the cap on board salaries to nearly $90,000 and, for the chairman, nearly $100,000 a year.
In the grand scheme of things, a potential pay raise is no big whoop-de-do, even if we had to sit, prior to the final vote, through board members’ sanctimony about all the sacrifices they make, and watch as they hid behind the skirt of a phony-baloney “community-engagement process” to justify their action. The fix had been in from the start; nobody was fooled.
So it’s not the action in itself that is bothersome, but rather the sense of self-aggrandizement that was the underpinning of the vote.
Eventually, board members will take the second step and boost their pay, perhaps up to the levels they have approved. Whatever. But they should remain cognizant that the community’s view of this County Board is the same as Lombard’s view of her husband: No complaints with overall performance ... but we’ve known better.