BY: B. Keith Plunkett | UCF Staff   @Keithplunkett

The Town of Louise in Humphreys County has only 199 total residents, and not much of a tax base to speak of. But regardless of the size of the town, Louise elected officials have shown what true leadership in the face of adversity is all about.

On July 7 at the request of Mayor Ruffin Smith, Louise alderman voted unanimously to cut their own pay in half as well as that of the mayor. 

It’s not much. Mayor Smith’s monthly wage will go from $300 to $150, the vice-mayor’s pay will be cut from $70 to $35 and aldermen will go from $50 to $25. 

Some may say this is hardly worth mentioning. But with a budget as small as that of the Town of Louise, saving $3,420 is a real help. Add a few zeros to the end of those numbers and you can see how similar actions in other local and state governments could result in positive changes for taxpayers in those places, as well. 

Far too often politicians forget they’re not managing Monopoly money and the policies they push affect real people.

Whatever their past or future politics, the elected leaders of Louise are to be commended for putting their town first in this instance. 

It’s a stark contrast to the recent news of corruption by some of the politicians at the state Capitol and in statewide office. 

All elected officials should take note: this type of self-sacrifice is an example of real public service. 

Keith Plunkett is the Policy and Communications Director for the United Conservatives Fund. He has worked on communications and policy issues with a range of public officials from aldermen to Congressmen, and a variety of businesses, government agencies and non-profits. He serves or has served as a board member of several non-profit, civic and political organizations. Contact him by email at or follow him on Twitter @Keithplunkett


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