The Cherokee County Board of Supervisors are recommending to department heads that they base budget recommendations using wage increases of 40 cents for hourly employees and salary increases for elected officials of half that recommended by the Cherokee County Compensation Board.
The action taken by the supervisors on Tuesday is not binding as far as a determination of wages for the next fiscal year beginning July 1. Supervisors indicated they were providing general guidelines for department heads to use when creating budgets for the 2008/09 fiscal year.
The compensation board recommendations have not officially been presented to the supervisors yet but the compensation board action was approved in an open meeting on Dec. 5 and there were supervisors in attendance.
The supervisors are restricted in their options regarding the recommendations of the compensation board. The supervisors can approve any percentage of the recommendations from 0 percent to 100 percent but must approve the same percentage for all offices.
The supervisors cannot, for example, approve 50 percent of the salary increase recommended by the compensation board for one office and approve 100 percent for another office. The supervisors cannot go below 0 percent (a salary decrease) nor go above 100 percent of the salary recommendation made by the compensation board.
There were six of the seven compensation board members present on Dec. 5 to discuss wage increases for supervisors, auditor, treasurer, recorder, sheriff and county attorney.
There was some question whether the wage recommendation for the county attorney position was an increase, since the wage that the county attorney is entitled to has been in dispute.
One of the features of the increases recommended by the compensation board was that they brought the salaries to even amounts, divisible by 100, a feature that would change for some of the offices if salary increases were cut in half as has been indicated by the supervisors.
The annual salary recommended for supervisors by the compensation board was $20,800, an increase of $600 (2.97 percent). The $1,000 additional stipend for the chairman position would be unchanged. Half of the recommendation would be $300, bringing the base salary to $20,500.
The annual salaries recommended by the compensation board for auditor, treasurer and recorder are all $44,500, an increase of $1,738 (4.06 percent). Half of the recommendation would be $869, bringing the salaries to 43,631.
The annual salary recommended by the compensation board for the sheriff is $53,500, an increase of $2,210 (4.3 percent). Half of the recommendation would be $1,105, bringing the salary to $52,395.
The annual salary recommended for the county attorney is $80,000, which is $10,000 more (14.3 percent) than the $70,000 the county attorney is being paid now but is less than the $90,000 that the county attorney has claimed he is entitled to. This claim is based on the fact that $90,000 was the salary paid to the first county attorney who had that position after it went from a part-time position to a full-time position at the start of 2007. That attorney resigned a few months later and was replaced by a less experienced attorney at $70,000 a year.
Ryan Kolpin, who was previously the county magistrate as well as having a private practice, won a special election for county attorney last summer that resulted from a petition from citizens.
Half of the $10,000 increase would bring the salary to $75,000.
Litigation has been discussed as a possibility regarding the disputed county attorney salary