Comp board suggests 3 percent pay increases

Union employees receiving 2.5 percent increases

The Greene County compensation board will recommend to the county board of supervisors a 3 percent pay increase for county elected officials for fiscal year 2016, just as it did four of the last five years.

The compensation board came to that recommendation at an eight minute long meeting Monday morning.

As they addressed the board, the elected officials asked the compensation board to match the 2.5 percent increase the county’s union employees (secondary roads and sheriff’s office) will receive this year, with county attorney Nicola Martino, treasurer Donna Lawson and recorder Marcia Tasler all adding that 3 percent “would be nice.” Sheriff Steven Haupert asked for at least 2.5 percent. Auditor Jane Heun did not make a request.

Mary Jane Fields, appointed to the compensation board by Haupert, was elected as chair of the board. She noted that in previous years, the goal has been to keep Greene County elected officials’ salaries within 95 percent of the state average. She said that a 3 percent increase would put all elected officials at more than 95 percent, while a 2.5 percent increase would put some, but not all, in that 95 percent range. She favored a 2.5 percent increase.

According to figures provided by deputy auditor Billie Jo Hoskins, a 2.5 percent increase would add $15,000 to the county budget. A 3 percent increase would add $18,000.

David Morain (appointed by the board of supervisors), Aaron Schroeder (appointed by Tasler), and Tom Heater (appointed by Martino), all said they favored the larger increase. Morain pointed out the small difference in total cost as justification for the larger increase.

Bob Schwarzkopf (appointed by Heun) asked about the county’s financial picture. Supervisor Guy Richardson answered, “All the elected county officials are working hard and doing a good job. They’ve all budgeted wisely and kept the county on solid financial ground. We’ve been mindful and good shepherds of the county’s money.”

Heun told the comp board that total valuations in the county are up 2.87 percent for the coming fiscal year. She also noted that union employees can earn overtime, but the elected officials are salaried and not eligible for overtime.

If the board of supervisors accepts the comp board’s recommendation, salaries would change as follows: supervisors, from $26,335 (each) to $27,125; treasurer from $51,802 to $53,356; auditor from $52,274 to $53,842; recorder from $51,313 to $52,853; sheriff from $67,540 to $69,566; and attorney from $83,540 to $86,046.

Other members of the compensation board are Denise Van (appointed by Lawson) and Jim Unger (appointed by the supervisors.) Unger was not at the meeting.

The compensation board preceded the supervisors’ regular meeting. At that meeting, Richardson, Dawn Rudolph and Mick Burkett talked about the recommendation but took no action. Burkett worried that approving a 3 percent increase would bring “comments” from county employees.

Supervisor Tom Contner, who has always argued against a raise for the supervisors, was not at Monday’s meeting. John Muir was also absent.

The board of supervisors can approve an increase lower than what is recommended by the comp board, but in that case, the change must be the same percentage for all officials except the supervisors. The supervisors can approve for themselves an increase lower than the other officials receive, but not higher. In no case can the supervisors approve an increase greater than what the comp board recommends.

The elected county officials received 3 percent pay increases in 2013, 2012, 2010 and 2009, and a 2 percent increase in 2011. Last year, 2014, the supervisors accepted the comp board’s recommendation for a 3 percent increase, but lowered their own increase to 2 percent.

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