Isn't a paid volunteer an oxymoron?
How can you be a volunteer, if you are receiving money for it?
We ask that question after Alpena County commissioners agreed recently to cover the costs - $1,911 in 2010, for mileage and per diem to members of the county's youth and recreation committee.
Keep in mind the committee wasn't even formed for all that long this year, but its members had accumulated already nearly $2,000 in reimbursements.
Let us quickly point out here that five of eight members of the committee are accepting no mileage for their work, and committee Chairman Tony Suszek is receiving no per diem reimbursement nor any compensation for his leadership. We applaud that spirit.
We think the day of paying citizens to serve on committees should be over. We know of several boards, many of which handle funds equal to, or greater than, those this committee handles, where committee members receive nothing for their time. These people volunteer their skills, and are honored and humbled to be able to do so.
At a time when local governments are rubbing pennies together in an attempt to find nickels, we think a good place to start finding some extra money would be to do away with these paid committees.
Ask for volunteers who understand they will receive no compensation for it. We believe there still will be plenty of people ready and willing to step in and serve.