Linn Compensation Board: Raise pay for elected officials 8%, but nearly 12% for sheriff

The panel cited last year’s government wage freeze

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Citing the pay freeze for Linn County government leaders last year, a county compensation commission is recommending 8% increases for members of the Board of Supervisors and other county elected officials, and a raise of nearly 12% for Sheriff Brian Gardner.

Most of the county’s elected officials have asked for some type of raises after not receiving them last year, citing more work and obstacles to overcome due to the pandemic. But at Wednesday night’s panel meeting, elected officials asked for less than the recommended 8% – expect the sheriff’s office, which cited the ‘Back The Blue’ bill passed by the legislature last year. of Iowa and signed by Governor Kim Reynolds.

The compensation board approved the recommendation for increases of 8% plus an increase of 11.56% for the sheriff. But it will be up to the supervisory board to act on the recommendations, which would come into effect after July 1.

The recommended increases would apply to supervisors Ben Rogers, Stacey Walker and Louie Zumbach; County Attorney Nick Maybanks; Auditor Joel Miller; Recorder Joan McCalmant; Treasurer Sharon Gonzalez; and Sheriff Gardner. The effects of the increases would be:

  • Supervisors, auditor, treasurer and archivist: from current $119,198 to approximately $128,734.
  • Sheriff: from current $164,544 to approximately $183,565.
  • County Attorney: from current $190,492 to approximately $205,731.

Last year, supervisors Rogers and Zumbach voted to freeze the salaries of supervisors and other elected officials. Walker voted against it, advocating that supervisors freeze their salaries but give other elected officials a 2% raise.

Linn County Supervisor Ben Rogers

Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner

In arguing for a raise of more than $19,000 for the sheriff, the panel discussion cited Senate Docket 342, known as the Back the Blue Bill. The law requires county compensation boards to approve a rate “comparable to salaries paid to professional law enforcement administrators and commanding officers of the State Patrol, Criminal Investigations Division of the Department of public safety and municipal police chiefs employed by towns similar in population to the population of the county.In Cedar Rapids, Police Chief Wayne Jerman earns $178,225 a year.

Rogers, chairman of supervisors, did not state a specific percentage lower than recommended for supervisors, but said the board’s increase should be in line with other approved increases.

Compensation board chairman Raymond Stefani II said he was generally liberal with recommendations while on the board.

“I think all the officials work very hard and I appreciate that and I think they should be paid,” he said. “I think all the factors are there to give them a good decent raise and I’m not talking just 2 or 3 per cent. My thought is higher is better than lower.

The Compensation Commission is a seven-member committee appointed by county department heads. The council reviews elected officials’ compensation against other counties, states, the federal government and the private sector. Compensation board members also cited increases in other counties, including Johnson County, which recommended an 18% increase for elected officials.

Compensation Board member Karl Kolz said when the wage freeze was enacted last year he thinks it was because supervisors were afraid of what people would think.

“It wasn’t because the county couldn’t pay,” Kolz said. “It was because ‘I wonder what people are going to think.’ If they had had decent wages last year, maybe we wouldn’t be talking so much now.

Rogers said the county budget is healthy.

“The issue of salary is an issue that people are focusing on and rightly so,” Rogers said. “We (the Board of Supervisors) were a five member board and why we are not now because there were petitions being signed and a story of a previous board taking pay raises at the peak of the recession, and it left a horrible taste in people’s mouths. … Salaries have had an impact on the way we govern.

The county’s budget calls for its executives and non-collective bargaining group to get a 3% raise and, for its largest collective bargaining unit, a 2.25% increase.

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