Pella Chronicle

January 30, 2014

No elected official salary discussions yet

By Steve Woodhouse
The Chronicle

Knoxville — Regarding County Department head budget requests, Board of Supervisors' Chairman Craig Agan said the meetings are going well. The supervisors are trying to balance each department's requests with the spending levels available to provide services. Department heads also say the meetings were good.

"I think it went well," Marion County Treasurer Denise Emal said. She shared with the supervisors how changes within the Department of Transportation will affect services in the county. 

Marion County Attorney Ed Bull said his meeting went well, too. One thing he pushed for is pay for his assistant county attorneys at a level consistent with colleagues in other counties. Bull also provided notice of the changes coming to his office with the Iowa Court System's new Electronic Data Management System. See the related article on this topic. 

The Marion County Compensation Board made its recommendations to the board earlier this month for elected officials' salaries. Agan said the supervisors intend to have a discussion about the pay increases recommended next week. Budgets cannot be finalized until a decision is made regarding the pay levels for county officials. 

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."

When looking at pay rates for other police officials, a Captain with the Iowa Department of Public Safety earns over $98,000. Sergeants make over $80,000 and Majors make $89,000. The average sheriff in Iowa has 8.5 years of experience. In Fiscal Year 2014, the average sheriff's pay in Iowa is $70,786. (Marion County is the 22nd most-populous county in the state.) Locally, the chief of police in Pella is paid $94,300 and the chief in Knoxville is paid $73,195.20. 

Job performance has not been factored in to the Marion County Compensation Board's figures.

Compensation Board members thought they should stick to the same formula they have used for years for all elected officials. 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. 

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. 

The supervisors' meetings with department heads are open to the public. The board will meet again Monday, Feb. 3, at 9 a.m.