Wednesday, November 28, 2012

They Say it is a Part Time Job, But Is It?

We are often reminded that our jobs as mayors and commissioners are "part time," usually during comments on something critical about the elected official. Yes it is true that most of our charters do say it is a "part time" job, but what exactly does that mean?

For most people with a "part time" job that means no more than 30 hours per week, and that they are paid per hour on a regularly set schedule, not by salary. But when applied to elected officials, these limitations do not apply.

Many mayors and commissioners work a lot of hours per week and are more than happy to put them in. But, they come during the night, on weekends and during the middle of the day — when we are supposed to be working our full-time jobs, dealing with family matters or resting. It is often not time-specific and can come anytime, including at 1:30 a.m.

Then there are those who, though it is a "part time" job, put in way over 30 hours per week even though they have another full-time job. Why? Because the job requires it, and the public demands it. Typically, these dedicated individuals sacrifice their time and cut back their full-time job (with loss of income) and time for their families. Still, they have bills and personal matters like everyone else, and are expected to be there at any time.

The concept of "part time" simply doesn't apply.

The point of this is to state that while holding office is legally a "part time" job, in many cases it truly isn't. And it should be recognized as a job for which the concept of "part time" does not apply. After all, the last thing you want is to try to contact your mayor or commissioner to ask them something very important to you, and either you can't reach them, or they tell you that it's only a "part time" job and can't help you right now.

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