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Board proposes 4 percent raise for elected officials

By Staff | Jan 10, 2014

The Emmet County Compensation came up with its annual recommendation for raises for the county’s elected officials for fiscal year 2014-15 on Monday.

On a 5-2, vote, the board’s recommendation to the Emmet County Board of Supervisors is a 4 percent across-the-board raise for the sheriff, county attorney, auditor, treasurer, recorder and each of the five supervisors.

The compensation board consists of seven members-one representative for each elected office with two persons representing the board of supervisors.

Members of the compensation board and whom they represent are as follows:

n Jennifer Bennett-Finn county attorney.

n Kevin Sander sheriff.

n John Wittneben auditor.

n Ron Menendez treasurer.

n Laurel Hash recorder.

n Jay Gunderson and Bob Schacherer board of supervisors.

During discussions in coming up with their recommendation, compensation board members looked at the cost-of-living increase and the salaries of elected officials in neighboring counties as well as counties with similar population.

During discussion, Bennett-Finn presented information show that the number of court filings by the Emmet County attorney is higher than both Kossuth and Palo Alto counties.

Gunderson presented information comparing the salaries of the five counties above and below Emmet County in population.

“We compare favorably with those averages,” he said.

Sander made the motion for the 4 percent increase with Wittneben providing the second.

During discussion before the vote, Schacherer said the 4 percent raise is not in line with cost-of-living increases. The City of Estherville recently approved 1.9 percent raises for its employees and a 40-cent per hour increase for police officers

“I think 2-3 percent is more in line,” Schacherer said.

When the vote was cast, Schacherer and Gunderson were the dissenting votes.

Last year, the compensation board recommended a 3 percent raise and the supervisors gave final approval to a 2 percent raise.

The supervisors have the option of accepting the compensation board’s recommendation or decreasing the amount of the salary adjustments. Supervisors cannot increase pay above the amount recommended by the compensation board. They can also deny any increase.

Two years ago, the supervisors approved a 4 percent increase for the other offices, but reduced their raise to 2 percent for fiscal year 2012-13.