Five Things Dallas County Commissioners Should Have Done Instead of Giving Themselves a Raise

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Being a Dallas County Commissioner is tough. You have constituents whining all the time about this and that, you have to read through a lot of boring paperwork, and those chairs around the horseshoe aren't nearly as comfortable as they look. All that for a measly salary of a bit more than $126,000.

Today, commissioners voted to give themselves and every other elected official a four-percent raise. Even with that boost, they will make a paltry $131,873, while poor County Judge Clay Jenkins will get scarcely more than $160,000.

But even as we congratulate our public servants on a well-deserved bonus and marvel at their thrift but just for fun, let's remember that the money could have been used for other, equally deserving things. Like what, you say? That would ultimately be up to the commissioners, but Unfair Park does have a few suggestions:

The John Wiley Price Legal Defense Fund The county has elected official's backs, legally speaking, when they're performing duties within the scope of their office. But what about when one steps into that murky gray area when you're caught with a mountain of cash the FBI says you got by shaking down developers? Or if you're forced from office after forcing underlings to sell raffle tickets to fund your reelection? You're pretty much on your own at that point. Unless, of course, the county were to create an endowment that would help cover the legal fees of wayward officials. Taxpayers would love it.

Electrc Fence For Commissioners Court meetings Earlier this year, County Judge Clay Jenkins ordered barriers to be put in place during Commissioners Court meetings to keep reporters at bay. But the so called "barriers" are just velvet ropes an infant could bypass. If Jenkins is really so serious about maintaining public order, he should erect an electrified fence separating commissioners from the public. After all, if a moderate shock can deter bears, surely it can do the same for reporters.

Silver-plated mosquito bazookas The recent aerial bombardment for West Nile went well, but we've tipped our hands to the parasitic bastard, and they're sure to be ready when the planes return. Bazookas are the perfect ground-based complement to the aerial assault. While the mosquitoes chuckle smugly at the approaching, Duet-laden planes Bam! they're hit with a bazooka blast. The silver is because they're little vampires.

Create a new, completely useless department Call it the Bureau of Institutional Efficiency or something equally official and vague. Staff it with all those civil service employees who are worthless at their jobs but too much of a hassle to fire. It will have no purpose, but pretend that it does. It'll be like the constables, only more so.

The "Make it Rain" Campaign Declare another West Nile emergency and make all those airplanes come back. When the pilots state health officials aren't looking, replace the toxic chemicals with dollar bills. When they ask why you did that, tell them its part of the new "Make it Rain, Dallas!" campaign. When they ask why, tell them it's because the commissioners court said so.

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