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Compensation Board recommends wage hikes

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Cherokee County Compensation Board has approved salary recommendations for elected county officials to go into effect at the start of the next fiscal year on July 1, 2009.

The recommendations will now go before the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors for approval or revision.

Compensation board members Frank Escue, George Wittgraf, Donna Burkhardt, Laurie Gerstandt, Rich Ravnsborg and Dan Meloy met on Dec. 10th in the board room at the Cherokee County Courthouse to discuss wage increases for supervisors, auditor, treasurer, recorder and sheriff.

There were some questions regarding whether the wage recommendation for the county officers is prudent during the current economic slowdown.

The annual salary recommended for supervisors is $20,800, an increase of $0 (0 percent).

The annual salaries recommended for auditor, treasurer and recorder are all $46,000, an increase of $1,500 (3.37 percent).

The annual salary recommended for the sheriff is $55,500, an increase of $2,000 (3.7 percent).

The annual salary recommended for the county attorney is $82,000, an increase of $2,000 (2.5 percent).

The Board of Supervisors has the final vote on what the salary of the elected officials will be but the Supervisors are restricted in their options regarding the recommendations.

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.

Each of the offices was represented by one of the Compensation Board members who commented on their respective offices. Prior to that discussion, the board had elected Escue as chairman of the Compensation Board and Wittgraf as secretary.

Escue spoke on behalf of the sheriff in recommending a raise for Sheriff Dave Scott. Burkhardt spoke on behalf of Hedgie Brandt, treasurer. Meloy spoke on behalf of Kris Glienke, auditor. Gerstandt spoke on behalf of Dawn Jones-Coombs, recorder, Wittgraf spoke on behalf of Ryan Kolpin, county attorney and Rich Ravnsborg spoke on behalf of the Supervisors. The Supervisors request that no raises be given out for themselves.

All praised the conscientious nature of the public officials and described the high level of responsibility of their offices.

Deputies in the County Offices will receive an 80 percent increase of the recommended increases of each Department Head that have a deputy, except for the Sheriff's Department. His deputies receive an 85 percent increase.

The motion passed 4 to 2 and will go in front of the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors.

Escue and Ravnsborg voted against the motion.

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