Compensation board asking for significant pay raise for Linn County elected officials
Written by Jason Epner, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -
Taxpayers in Linn County never seem to be short of an opinion when it comes to substantial pay raises for elected officials.
"They should be comparable to other counties and other taxpayers of Iowa pay for what they do," said Brandon Jolly of Cedar Rapids.
"If they feel like they deserve it, then they need to prove it to us," said Tim McCall of Cedar Rapids.
"It doesn't really bother me one way or the other. They do their jobs well, so why not?" said Chelise Brain, who lives in Linn County.
The seven-member compensation board is appointed by the county's elected officials. The board is recommending a four percent increase July 1st for elected officials followed by a second four percent increase six months later.
"We're trying to catch up to where we should be and so therefore we need larger increases for a few years," said Phillip Klinger, who serves on the compensation board.
Klinger, who has served for more than 25 years on the board, says board members compare salaries of similar positions in other counties and in the private sector as mandated by Iowa code before making a recommendation.
"How are we going to get people want these jobs? Why would someone want to run for office if the pay is not commensurate with what they make in the private industry?" Klinger said.
County supervisor chair John Harris, who is among the five supervisors that ultimately approve the county's budget, says the recommended raise for elected officials is troubling and is not in line with proposals in Iowa's other highly populated counties.
Iowa's largest county, Polk County, recommended three percent raises for elected officials. The Scott County Compensation Board asked for a two percent raise.
"I would have hoped we would have stayed in-sync with the counties that are closest to us in population," Harris said.
While the Compensation Board is required to look at the private sector in determining a recommendation, Harris says there's a certain reality with working in the public sector.
"It always seems to be a given that those who run for public service or have public service jobs pay less than the private sector," Harris said.
Ultimately, the supervisors will determine the final compensation for the county's elected officials.
County budgets are required to be certified by March 15.
Linn County's elected officials include the supervisors, attorney, auditor, recorder, sheriff, and treasurer.
Also, of note, the supervisors are asking to return to full-time pay status. Currently the supervisors are paid at 80 percent salary of a full-time elected official.
The move would give the supervisors a significant pay bump.
"We are working all day, every day on the job and to believe or to treat these jobs as part time jobs, would be a disservice to the public," Harris said.
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