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County assessor appointed, given raise

County assessor appointed, given raise

Motion passed after discussion on pay

Gary VanderWerf was unanimously appointed to the office of Floyd County Assessor. What took more discussion Tuesday evening was the question of salary.

In preparation for the conversation, Vanderwerf presented a spreadsheet comparing salaries of those working in county assessor’s offices in the northeast Iowa district. Also included on the spreadsheet were the years of experience for those holding the office.

VanderWerf will be entering into the County Assessor position with 12 years of experience in Floyd County and 16 years of experience in appraisal. His predecessor, Bruce Hovden, is retiring with 30 years of experience in Floyd County and a total of 37 years experience in appraisal. Experience and ability to transition into the position played a role in deciding how much to offer VanderWerf.

As a deputy, VanderWerf’s salary was $53,015 while Hovden was paid $68,948. Charles City School Board member Jim Frisbie motioned to give VanderWerf a $70,000 starting salary to be frozen without raise for 18 months. Frisbie justified the increased starting wage by acknowledging VanderWerf’s comfort and familiarity within the county. Having experience in the assessor 's office, he will be able to seamlessly step into Hovden’s vacated position, Frisbie said.

Marble Rock Mayor Jerry Engelhardt was hesitant to approve this motion. His opinion was that paying someone with less experience more than the person to be replaced devalued — to an extent — the retiree’s years of service.

“What message does that send?” Engelhardt asked.

Floyd County Supervisor Roy Schwickerath argued for keeping the salary at its current level.

“The job is worth ‘this’ much money and we pay what it’s worth,” he said.

Floyd Mayor Trevis O’Connell spoke on behalf of the motion, noting that VanderWerf will not be “starting from zero.”

Ultimately, Floyd County Supervisors Mark Kuhn, Doug Kamm and Schwickerath voted against the motion to give VanderWerf a $70,000 salary without raise for the first 18 months. O'Connell and Engelhardt, representing the mayoral vote, approved the motion along with Frisbie who represented the county’s school board vote. The motion was passed two to three.

VanderWerf will officially take on the Floyd County Assessor role Jan. 1, 2016.

By Amie Johansen [email protected]

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