The Shoshoni Town Council has asked city staff to draft an ordinance requiring any future salary changes for local elected officials to be voted on before the general election in any given year.
The proposal came from Councilmember Bob Zent, who said he had “multiple people question the action that was taken” by the council to raise officer salaries last month, after the 2022 election had already been decided.
“The governing body did follow the law,” he said. “(But) people came to me and said, ‘Well, if you give yourself a raise, and you know you’re going to be sitting in these chairs, is that a conflict of interest?’ Because it was done after the general election.”
Shoshoni Mayor Joel Highsmith pointed out that the last time the council voted on raises for elected officials it was Dec. 29, 2020 – also after that year’s general election.
The mayor’s seat was not up for election that year, he recalled, and some councilmembers at the time said they would be more comfortable voting in favor of a raise if they knew who was going to hold the office in 2023, when the increase would take effect.
“There’s no way we can force a mayor (to) do the work like I do,” Highsmith explained. “You can do a couple hours a week and fulfill your oath of office doing what is required by law.”
But Zent said voting on salary changes before the general election would “eliminate rumors in the community.”
The vote to move forward with drafting the ordinance passed unanimously.
For more information call the Town of Shoshoni at 876-2515.