By Steve Woodhouse
Knoxville — The Marion County Compensation Board held its annual meeting Thursday, Jan. 2, and will recommend to the Board of Supervisors that the County's elected officials receive a 3 percent pay increase.
The Compensation Board is a group of individuals selected by the elected officials to represent them when making salary recommendations for the coming fiscal year. Members present at the meeting were Chair Kevin Wadle, Steve Kraayenbrink, Bruce Roof and Todd Chambers. Three members were absent.
The recommendation presented to the supervisors is as follows:
• Supervisors-Present Salary at $34,391; Salary at 22nd Rank would be $34,194; Variance of $197; CPI increase of 1.7 percent; a pay increase of 3 percent; total increase at 4.13 percent and a final recommended salary of $35,810, or an increase of $1,419.38.
• Attorney-Present Salary at $93,717; Salary at 22nd Rank would be $95,923; Variance of $2,206; CPI increase of 1.7 percent; a pay increase of 3 percent; total increase at 7.05 percent and a final recommended salary of $100,327.70, or an increase of $6,610.
• Auditor-Present Salary at $58,475; Salary at 22nd Rank would be $59,763; Variance of $1,288; CPI increase of 1.7 percent; a pay increase of 3 percent; total increase of 6.9 percent and a final recommended salary of $62,511.33, or an increase of $4,046.33.
• Recorder-Present Salary at $57,404; Salary at 22nd Rank would be $57,946; Variance of $542; CPI increase of 1.7 percent; a pay increase of 3 percent; total increase of 5.64 percent and a final recommended salary of $60,643.99 or an increase of $3,239.99.
• Treasurer-Present Salary at $58,220; Salary at 22nd Rank would be $58,677; Variance of $457; CPI of 1.7 percent; a pay increase of 3 percent; total increase of 5.48 percent and a final recommended salary of $61,413.34 or an increase of $3,193.34.
• Sheriff-Present Salary at $77,431; Salary at 22nd Rank would be $77,516; Variance of $85; CPI of 1.7 percent; a pay increase of 3 percent; total increase of 4.81 percent and a final recommended salary of $81,155.26 or an increase of $3,193.34.
The issue was raised at the compensation board meeting of a provision in the Iowa Code which addresses the duties of the board (331.907). In regard to the sheriff's pay, the code reads, "In setting the salary of the county sheriff, the county compensation board shall consider setting the sheriff’s salary so that it is comparable to salaries paid to professional law enforcement administrators and command officers of the state patrol, the division of criminal investigation of the department of public safety, and city police agencies in this state."
Board members thought they should stick to the same formula they have used for years. They wanted to keep the elected officials' salaries in line with other counties, and expressed concern about the Board of Supervisors' actions in the past to reduce recommendations.
"If we would have done what we tried to do, we'd be right in line," Kraayenbrink said.
Options for the supervisors include reducing the recommendation for elected officials by the same percentage, granting the full recommendation or providing raises for all other elected officials, exempting themselves. The supervisors reduced the compensation board's proposal by 70 percent for 2013-14. The previous year, the supervisors approved 100 percent of the compensation board's proposal. Since the compensation board's proposal made in 2001, the supervisors have granted 100 percent of the proposal four times. In that same period, zero raises were granted in two years.
Kraayenbrink added that he believes a raise should be granted due to growth in Pella. He believes the school district plans to offer 3-4 percent increases and that the tax base in Pella grew with new construction.
"There shouldn't be any reason there isn't an increase in the revenue stream," Kraayenbrink said. Wadle and Chambers agreed, citing growth in Knoxville through Weiler and the Cobblestone Inn.
"I would have no doubt that an increase is in order," Wadle said. Roof added that Marion is a great county, with great employees. If an error is to be made in making recommendations, he prefer it be on the high end.
As for the supervisors' opinion on whether or not the raises will be granted, Board of Supervisors Chair Craig Agan was not sure what action the board will take. There had been no discussions about this aspect of the budget prior to Friday afternoon (Jan. 3) and he did not know what will happen.
"I'm sure we'll meet and discuss this," Agan said.
In addition to its salary recommendations, the compensation board is also recommending that a $100 a month stipend for the Board of Supervisors' Chairman to continue. Roof suggested the compensation board discontinue this next year, if the supervisors choose to not approve the recommendations.
Wadle was reelected chair of the compensation board for 2014. The board's next meeting will be Nov. 20, 2014.