I have a part-time temporary job offer pending. I really don’t need the extra income; my house and car are paid for, I have no debt and my MU pension and Social Security provide me with sufficient income. But hey, every little bit helps.

The problem is the wage. The full-time permanent people who work there get salaries and benefits varylng from a comfortable middle-class income to upper-middle-class to hundreds of dollars per hour, but the job being offered to me pays only $6 to $9 per day. Not per hour, but per DAY.

Normally I would decline this employment opportunity, and not politely. I would find that pitiful pay to be downright insulting, and I would let it be known that I feel that way. But in this case, if I decline this job offer, I will be cited for contempt of court and fined.

The real contempt, of course, comes from the employer-to-be’s disrespect of the individuals being offered the job and the work they are being asked to do. What could possibly disrespect someone more than that pathetic rate of pay?

Why is juror pay so pitiful?

Some might say that jury duty is not a job, but a noble rite of citizenship. But if that is true, that is all the more reason why jurors should be respected for their noble duty by being decently compensated, at least at the same level as bailiffs and court reporters.

I will accept this job offer, but only because I do not have the option of declining. And I will resent it.

Ronald V. Jensen lives in Columbia.


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