I've read many stories lately about how citizens don't understand civics.
One thing I perfectly understand is that Hilton Head Island town manager Steve Riley works for the mayor and Town Council, not the other way around. Why is Riley so concerned about what his bosses make? I find it highly inappropriate for the council to direct Riley and his staff to draft an ordinance to give them raises. If they want raises, let them make their own case.
Comparing the salaries of our mayor and council with other municipalities is hogwash. Hilton Head is unique. I don't know the exact number off-hand, but the number of residents living in gated communities is overwhelming. These residents neither require nor receive very much from the town.
What do the mayor and the council do for the rest of the residents? From what I've seen in my 16 years here, not much. Water and sewer services are handled by the public service districts. The town does not pick up the trash. Police protection is handled by the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office. Compare these facts with the responsibilities of the governments of other South Carolina cities and towns, and you will see that there is little basis for comparison.
After much reflection, I think a pay cut might be a more appropriate course of action.
John C. Watts Jr.
Hilton Head Island