Compensation board recommends 5-percent pay raise for officials
BY BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
Same song, second verse.
For the second consecutive year, the Henry County Compensation Board, which met late Monday afternoon in its only meeting of the year, is recommending a 5-percent salary increase for county-elected officials.
Last year’s 5-percent increase was approved by the Henry County Board of Supervisors, which has the final word on salaries for county-elected officials.
The compensation board only makes a recommendation regarding wages. The supervisors cannot exceed the recommendations but can decrease the salary recommendations. However, if the supervisors decrease the salaries, each of the salaries — with the exception of the supervisors’ wages — have to be decreased by an equal percentage or dollar amount. The supervisors can, if they wish, decrease their salaries more than other elected officials.
With the recommended 5-percent salary increase, county-elected officials’ annual salaries would be as follows: supervisors, $35,280; auditor, recorder and treasurer, $59,955 each; sheriff, $79,185; and attorney, $95,845.
There was little discussion during the compensation’s annual board meeting. Tom Holtkamp made the lone salary motion with Jeff Thomas seconding it. The motion passed unanimously.
Prior to the motion, Bob Swindell, board chairman, handed out salary information from the five counties just above and below Henry County in population. The average elected officials salaries in those counties were as follows: supervisors, $31,005: attorney, $78,160; auditor, $57,097; recorder, $56,843; sheriff, $75,146; treasurer, $57,097.
Swindell, however, reminded board members that some counties have full-time attorneys and others part-time attorneys so salary information could be skewed.
Board member Ed Pilch also noted that not all counties issue driver’s licenses as does Henry County. “That is one of the big things. I don’t know how many other counties have it. We are 35th in population (among Iowa counties) and the treasurer ranks 42nd in salary.”
Supervisor Chairman Marc Lindeen was the only county official attending Monday’s meeting. Ana Lair, county treasurer, did have correspondence passed out to the board.
In her letter, Lair noted that neighboring county treasurers from Washington, Lee and Des Moines counties have respective salaries of $66,359, $62,056 and $63,000 for fiscal 2017. “As stated from the statistics, this salary (treasurer’s salary) is still behind other counties using the population comparison. …If the treasurers were given a 5-percent raise this year the salary would still fall below the counties I have listed for comparison.
“…A great deal of time and effort is spent carrying out the duties of the office and staying abreast of the many changes in law rules and procedures we deal with on a very regular basis,” Lair continued. “I request every possible effort to increase the salary of the Henry County Treasurer to be fairly compensated for the duties and in comparison to other counties.”
Compensation board member Thomas said that county officials are hard working and proficient. “The recorder’s office does an excellent job with the help they have. They have a very important job because they record land transfers and they have to be correct. I think all county employees work hard and do a good job.”
“Everybody is doing a good job and they have customer service skills that are appreciated,” echoed board member Dan Cornell.
Other compensation board members at the meeting were Robert Achen and Randy Stroud. Compensation board members are appointed by the county-elected officials. Each elected official makes one appointment while the supervisors appoint two members.
Supervisors will consider the recommendations as they prepare the fiscal 2018 county budget. The salaries would be for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017, and ending June 30, 2018.