2.5 percent raise suggested for county officials
The Jefferson County Compensation Board is recommending a 2.5 percent pay increase for elected county officials in the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors cannot exceed the recommendation, but may reduce it by a consistent percentage during the budgeting process. Last year, the supervisors reduced the board’s 1.5 percent recommendation to zero.
“We wanted to give the supervisors some elbow room,” said board chairman Tom Louden.
In reaching its recommendation, the compensation board looked at the consumer price index, which increased 0.9 percent during the fiscal year that ended in June. The third quarter of this calendar year is up 1.2 percent from last year; in 2009, it was down 1.6 percent from the previous year.
“I felt like the compensation board had a very good dialogue about the cost of living index,” said Jefferson County Supervisor Dick Reed, who sat in on the meeting. The board also took local unemployment, manufacturing and real estate data into consideration, he said.
“Times were really tough last year, and they’re not a whole lot better this year,” Louden said. However, the compensation board wants to keep pace with the groundwork laid during previous years, he said.
Jefferson County ranks 48 out of Iowa’s 99 counties in terms of population. The county ranks 57 in terms of salaries for elected officials. Louden said there was more disparity in the last decade, and the compensation board’s aim has been to get Jefferson County’s salaries in line with counties of similar size.
“We’re pretty darn close,” he said. The board is trying to maintain that progress, while being fair to the taxpayers, giving the supervisors a figure they can work with and recognizing the hard work of the officials, Louden said.
“They do a terrific job,” Louden said of the elected officials. Each elected official or a representative of his or her office gave a presentation at the onset of the meeting reviewing his or her duties and activities during the past year.
At one point, Reed said discussion turned to the two newly elected officials who will be replacing the long-time treasurer and recorder. The compensation board questioned whether those positions should receive a raise as well.
For the complete article, see the Monday, Dec. 20, 2010, printed edition of The Fairfield Ledger.