Supervisors question proposed pay increases

By Xiomara Levsen, The JOURNAL


The supervisors decided not to go with the compensation board?s recommendation during the meeting Tuesday morning.

Last week, the compensation board recommended increasing all department heads? pay by 3 percent. They also recommended giving the county attorney an additional $6,000 increase, the sheriff $3,000 and the recorder and treasurer $500 each.

The supervisors were not happy with these recommendations.

?I?ve been on this board for five years,? supervisor Bob Yoder said. ?Two-to 2 1/2 percent is about all we?ve ever approved.?

One to 3 percent increases was all he could see them doing, he added.

?And even with that I?m probably going to take some heat from my constituents,? Yoder said.

Supervisor Stan Stoops asked Yoder how much he would be comfortable with in regard to reducing the compensation board?s recommendation.

Yoder said he wanted a 2-to 2 1/2 percent increase. Then he asked board chairman Abe Miller what options they had with the increases.

?We have a choice of reducing it by percentage,? Miller said.

Supervisor Richard Young said the compensation board put the supervisors in a bad place when they recommended this.

?They knew what they were doing,? Young said, ?and that?s why I brought it to their attention about what they were doing. They were making us make a very difficult decision on elected officials? compensation. I do not agree with what they did. I did not agree with what they did that night. I still don?t agree with what they did, so now we?re going to have to fix what they did.?

Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. was on speaker phone during the meeting and said he agreed with Young.

?We let the compensation board know during the deliberations about what it would cost the taxpayers in money to do the kind of adjustments that they were talking about, but apparently there were a few there that was still behind it,? Seward said.

In looking at the spreadsheet prepared by the auditor?s office, Seward said he felt comfortable with maintaining 2-to 2 1/2 percent increase for the elected officials since the other county employees would be receiving that.

?I can?t in my mind see giving any more than that if possible,? Seward added.

On the spreadsheet, there was a 70 percent reduction calculated based off the compensation board?s recommendation, which would give the highest elected official a raise of 2.6 percent, he said. The next one at 60 percent would give the highest elected official a 3.5 percent increase in salary. He suggested going with a 66 percent reduction.

Miller also spoke out against the compensation board?s recommendations.

?I also had a problem with the way the comp board figured everything out because I thought we were trying to catch up some elected officials to make it more across-the-board even,? Miller said, ?which we didn?t accomplish that.?

He said having a 2-to 2 1/2 percent increase for elected officials is what he would go with.

?The comp board kind of tied our hands in a way and we have a choice of reducing everything on a percentage basis, so that?s my opinion,? Miller said.

The board approved going with the 70 percent reduction option with a 3 -2 vote. Stoops and Young were the two supervisors to vote no.

On a separate motion, the supervisors voted to reduce the compensation board?s recommendation for them 90 percent, which would mean only a 0.72 percent increase. Everyone unanimously approved this.

The supervisors also approved a $1,500 stipend for Miller as chairman unanimously, which was the same as last year.

A 2.5 percent increase was approved unanimously for departmental compensation.

All these changes will go into effect for the 2018-19 fiscal year.