As taxpayers, we like to think that our elected officials are using our hard-earned money well, especially when weâ€™re in the middle of a recession.
But for some Colorado leaders, this may be too much to hope for.
According to a Denver Post report, elected officials, including Sen. Mark Udall, former congressman John Salazar and Denver Rep. Diana DeGette have doled out thousands of dollars in bonuses to their employees, something not publicly spoken about until the Postâ€™s article.
Much like how CSU President Tony Frank and Chancellor Joe Blake were awarded bonuses earlier this year, the issue is not whether these bonuses were deserved, but rather what message giving them out sends to the public.
After all, while weâ€™re all struggling to pay our bills and feed ourselves, itâ€™s disconcerting to think that public officials, in a government that is struggling with insurmountable debt, are receiving extra money.
Especially when the people paying their salaries have no money.
Itâ€™s fine if thereâ€™s extra money at the end of the year to award staffers for a job well done, but the real concern here is the moral issue that arises when substantial amounts of money are delegated to staffers when there are far more substantial things that can be done with the extra funds.
The $3,000 dollar bonuses Diana DeGette gave to staffers could have instead paid for someone to go to school. The pay raises Sen. Udall gave staffers in 2008 could have paid for extra teachers.
Weâ€™re all making sacrifices, and as public officials, our elected leaders should be setting an example and making the largest sacrifices of all.
We all like to think our elected officials are using our money well, but at the end of the day, they generally arenâ€™t.