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Board recommends 2.5%, 2% pay hikes for Floyd County elected officials

By Bob Steenson,

Floyd County elected officials will receive 2.5% salary increases next fiscal year, except for county supervisors, who will receive 2% hikes.

That’s if the supervisors accept the recommendation of the county Compensation Board.

The Compensation Board met for its second and last time this session on Wednesday afternoon, and approved the recommendation on a 4-2 vote after a discussion that examined several proposals and rationales for how to come up with a salary plan.

Under Iowa code, county elected officials appoint representatives to a compensation board, then that board comes up with a recommendation for the officials’ salaries for the coming fiscal year, which will begin July 1.

The meeting started with a general discussion on what other people are likely to see in wage increases this year, with Compensation Board members introducing statistics including Floyd County’s median wage, studies on state and federal pay scales, and information on the expected federal cost of living index and expected average raises in private businesses.

Board member Cheryl Erb said they have to remember that public officials get some benefits that those in the private sector often don’t. For example, she said, the county contributes almost 10% of their wages annually into the Iowa Public Employee Retirement System (IPERS), which guarantees public employees a retirement plan usually better than private workers will receive.

Health care benefits should also be considered, she said, noting that currently county employees have a $500 deductible on their health care coverage and the county covers the entire cost for single coverage.

“How many of your businesses could offer that?” she asked the other board members.

The discussion also turned to whether the board should recommend a dollar amount increase, as it did last year, or a percentage increase.

Board member Scott Tjaden said he would like to see all the officers get the same percentage increase, once they are on a level playing field, and suggested a plan that would give each elected official a different percentage increase in the next fiscal year.

Board members Erb and Kalen Schlader said they thought the percentages should be the same, but Lisa Garden said she thought increases should be individually based on the job the officers do and how well they do them, as is often the case in private business.

Schlader offered a plan that combined cost of living and an additional increase for a total increase of 3.23% for every official.

Board Chairman Troy Jaeger suggested a plan that would give 2% increases to all the officials except the supervisors, who would get 1%.

“I think 2% is a little bit low, with some of the other data,” Schlader said. “That’s why I was shooting for around 3 (percent). Cost of living is 1.8, so it’s just barely above that.”

“Would you consider splitting it?” asked Erb, suggesting a point between the 2% and 3% proposals.

“I wouldn’t have a problem with splitting it halfway,” Schlader said.

Erb moved to recommend a 2.5% salary increase for the county attorney, sheriff, auditor, treasurer and recorder, and 2% for each county supervisor.

The motion passed 4-2, with Garden and Tjaden opposed.

Here is the proposal:

Office – Current – Proposed – Increase – Change

Supervisor – $39,312 – $40,098 – $786 – 2%

Sheriff – $89,004 – $91,229 – $2,225 – 2.5%

Auditor – $67,132 – $68,810 – $1,678 – 2.5%

Treasurer – $66,913 – $68,586 – $1,673 – 2.5%

Recorder – $66,913 – $68,586 – $1,673 – 2.5%

Attorney – $104,362 – $106,971 – $2,609 – 2.5%

Iowa law requires the compensation board to look at salaries “paid to comparable officers in other counties of this state, other states, private enterprise, and the federal government” in making its recommendations.

The county supervisors have the final say in pay, but they cannot increase the elected officials’ pay above the compensation board recommendation, and if they decide to reduce the recommendation they must do so by the same percent for all the offices.

Supervisors can, however, choose to reduce their own pay increase more than the other elected officers.

Compensation board members are:

• Chairman Troy Jaeger, appointed by the sheriff.
• Scott Tjaden, appointed by the treasurer.
• Lisa Garden, appointed by the auditor.
• Veronica Litterer, appointed by the recorder.
• Charlie Thomson, appointed by the county attorney.
• Kalen Schlader and Cheryl Erb, appointed by the supervisors.

Thomson was not present at the meeting.