(Clarinda) – The Page County Compensation Commission has sent its recommendation to increase elected officials’ salaries to the supervisory board.
During a Tuesday afternoon meeting at the courthouse, the Compensation Commission – which consists of two citizen representatives of the supervisors and one each representing the auditor, secretary, treasurer, attorney and sheriff – voted to recommend an 18% salary increase for the Sheriff, 7% each for the auditor and the prosecutor and 6% for the other elected representatives of the county. The recommendation comes after the sheriff’s representative asked the board for a 40% increase. At the start of the board meeting, supervisors chairman Alan Armstrong warned the board against giving such a large raise to a department for fear of what it might do for the rest of the county budget.
“It could increase – because all MPs are affected and everyone – it could affect us up to $ 411,000 in additional payroll,” Armstrong said. “I don’t know how (Supervisor) Jacob (Holmes) and (Supervisor) Chuck (Morris) would feel, but I would be very worried about what we can do with so much money coming out of our pockets. “Are we cutting back on the payroll? Should we be cutting back on staff? Getting rid of everyone’s staff? It gets very, very complicated.”
The sheriff’s department’s large demand for a raise came following the passage of the “Back the Blue Act” last summer, which stipulates that the salaries of sheriffs must be comparable to those of police chiefs in cities. with populations similar to those of the county. Sheriff Lyle Palmer was asked if the rest of his staff would get a raise similar to him. He says he only controls the salaries of MPs, not jailers, dispatchers or administrative staff.
“In the past, supervisors decided it wasn’t possible and they give them whatever everyone else gets,” Palmer said. “Under this law, I would have liked to see it – where, of course, our lawmakers and our governor wrote this in writing ‘must define’, not ‘must compare’ or ‘must comply’ is a “Must define” for where they did it. I would also have liked to see our corrections and our dispatch. “
Palmer says that county jailers in particular need a raise to make their wages competitive with other counties in the region.
“Last year, in budget meetings with supervisors, we discussed a possible increase in our jailers at this point,” Palmer said. “At that point I was told that now was not the time to go and that we would do it later. Later never came. I would suggest that our prison staff be – in comparison with the other counties around us – either behind. “
Heidi Carter is County Auditor Melissa Wellhausen’s representative on the Compensation Board. During the discussion, Carter argued for a larger increase for Wellhausen based on changes to the Iowa code that make the auditor personally liable for violations in election administration.
“If the Secretary of State pronounces a technical violation against Melissa, she also risks a fine of $ 10,000 per incident,” Carter said. “A technical violation is a fine. It is not covered by county bond or liability insurance. No other elected official is subject to personal sanction and fines from an elected official of the State.”
Following the recommendation of the Compensation Committee, the Supervisory Board can choose to grant all of the salary increases to elected officials, to reduce the increase by equal percentages for all elected officials or not to grant an increase. to elected officials. The Compensation Commission recommendation does not affect salary increases for unelected county employees. These salaries are set at the discretion of supervisors.