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Board recommends various pay increase rates for Floyd County officials

Board recommends various pay increase rates for Floyd County officials
By Bob Steenson, [email protected]

Floyd County elected officials could get pay increases ranging from 5% to 12% next fiscal year under recommendations approved this week by the Compensation Board. The county Board of Supervisors will have final say on what the actual increases are.

The state-mandated Compensation Board held a lively discussion Tuesday evening on reasons why the county sheriff, attorney, auditor, treasurer, recorder and supervisors should receive various levels of pay increases.

Members of the Compensation Board are appointed by the elected officials, and are tasked according to Iowa Code with coming up with pay recommendations based on comparisons with similar positions in other counties, states, federal government and private enterprise.

Members of the Compensation Board are:

  • Kalen Schlader and Cheryl Erb, appointed by the county supervisors.
  • Lisa Garden, appointed by the county auditor.
  • Troy Jaeger, appointed by the sheriff.
  • Veronica Litterer, appointed by the county recorder.
  • Danielle Ellingson, appointed by the county attorney.
  • Bret VanAusdall, appointed by the county treasurer.

Jaeger started the discussion by bringing up the “Back the Blue” law signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds in June that, among many other things, tweaks how compensation boards can consider the county sheriff’s salary.

The law previously said that compensation boards “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 and city police agencies in Iowa.

Now, Jaeger said, the law states the compensation board “shall set” 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 and “city police chiefs employed by cities of similar population to the population of the county.

Jaeger said the law changed from “shall consider” to “shall set.”

“The one thing with doing this, it’s going to help them retain and recruit deputies because that’s been negatively impacted this year with the lower sheriffs’ salaries,” he said. County deputies are typically paid a percentage of the sheriff’s salary.

Sheriff Jeff Crooks currently makes $92,587 after receiving a 1.5% pay increase last year — the same increase that was recommended and approved for all county elected officials, although county supervisors voted to take no increase.

Jaeger said in Iowa communities roughly the population of Floyd County’s 15,000 persons, in Pella, a city of 10,000, the police chief earns $113,000; in Newton, a city of 15,000, the salary is $130,000; and in Norwalk, with a 13,000 population, the salary is $115,000.

“This is coming,” Jaeger said. “Whether we do something this year, I think it’s something that really needs to be thought of.”

He noted that some county compensation boards were recommending 30% or 45% increases for their sheriffs, which he called “absolutely ridiculous.”

“I think you’ve got to go a little by little. I’m not saying we need to go 20-30%, but I still think we need to look at a 10 or 12%, so we can get there.”

The board discussed how pay should be set for a good portion of the meeting, including whether each county office should be evaluated independently or whether certain offices such as the auditor, recorder and treasurer should be paid similarly, and whether performance should be measured, and if so, how.

Members also discussed the county benefits package, which some members said was much better than employees in private businesses receive, but others said was similar, and discussed the current inflation rate of more than 7% and reports that many private employees were receiving pay hikes of 4% to 6% this year.

Schlader distributed a spreadsheet that recommended 5.3% increases for all officials, based, he said, on the cost of living increase and the median Floyd ​​salary, which he said he found listed as $50,314.

But Schlader did not make a motion to approve that recommendation.

Garden distributed a recommendation that the officials receive either a percentage increase ranging from 10% for the sheriff, attorney and auditor; to 5% for the recorder and treasurer; and 3% for the supervisors; or a dollar-figure increase of $10,000 for the county attorney, $9,000 for the sheriff, $7,000 for the auditor, $3,000 for the recorder and treasurer, and $1,000 for the supervisors.

But Garden, also, did not move that the board approve either of those recommendations.

Jaeger made a motion that the sheriff receive a 12% increase; the county attorney a 5% increase; the auditor, recorder and treasurer 3% increases; and the supervisors no increase.

That motion died when no one seconded it.

VanAusdall moved that the treasurer receive a 9% increase and all other officers receive a 6.8% increase. That motion also died for lack of a second.

Garden suggested that the board determine each county officer’s increase individually, and moved that the sheriff receive a 12% increase. That motion was seconded and passed 6-1, with VanAusdall voting no.

Garden then moved that the auditor receive a 6% increase, and after being seconded that motion passed 4-3, with Jaeger, VanAusdall and Schlader voting no.

Ellingson moved that the county attorney receive a pay increase of 6%, which was seconded, then passed unanimously.

VanAusdall moved that the treasurer receive a 7% increase, but that motion was not seconded and died.

Garden moved that the treasurer receive a 4% increase, which was seconded, but failed 2-5.

Litterer then moved that the treasurer and recorder both receive 6% increases, and that passed 4-3, with Jaeger, Garden and Erb voting no.

Erb then moved that the supervisors receive 5% increases, “to show good faith — the supervisors have had a tough year, a lot of heartache.”

Jaeger responded, “But they caused a lot of their own heartache.”

Erb’s motion was seconded and passed 5-2, with Jaeger and Garden voting no.

The Compensation Board’s recommendations now go to the Board of Supervisors. The supervisors can accept the recommendations or lower the amounts, but if they do lower the amounts they have to lower each officer’s increase by the same percentage.

The supervisors cannot increase the elected officials’ pay above the Compensation Board recommendations. They can choose to reduce their own pay increase by a greater percentage than they decrease the other officials.

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