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Compensation board finalizes unanimous recommendation for county’s elected officials

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 11:04 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 11:06 a.m. CDT

The Union County Board of Supervisors will receive a unanimous recommendation by the 2014 compensation board Dec. 30 regarding wages for elected courthouse officials.

The board plans to propose a 3.5 percent wage increase for Union County Attorney Tim Kenyon and Sheriff Rick Piel and 3 percent wage increase for Auditor Sandy Hysell, Recorder Paula White, Treasurer Kelly Busch and Union County Board of Supervisors.

The board also plans to suggest an additional 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for all elected courthouse officials.

The compensation board is composed of Chairman Katie Turner, Vice Chairman Tom Hartsock, Linda Marley, Dorothy McNaught, Jim Norman, Marlin Neisemier and John Tapken.

Neisemier is the only new member of the compensation board, replacing the late Jack Keuter.

The board is restricted by Iowa Code 331.907 to review the compensation of the elected courthouse officials by comparing officers in other counties of the state or similar entities.

“We make sure to go over that (Iowa Code) every year,” Turner said.

It cannot take into consideration outside factors such as health-care benefits and county-tax rankings.

Those factors are considered by the board of supervisors. While determining the final compensation, supervisors can reduce the amount proposed by the compensation board, but it must be reduced an equal percentage for each elected county official.

The board of supervisors can consider the cost-of-living adjustment and wage increase separately.

When there is money left over in an official’s budget, it is returned to the county’s general fund. For the 2012 fiscal year, each department stayed within budget and returned funds.

“You can spend every penny out of your budget,” Hysell said. “We use what we need to run our offices as efficiently as we can, and if we don’t use it, it goes back into the general fund.”

Concerns

Several of the elected officials spoke to the compensation board regarding the need for a wage increase and cost-of-living adjustment.

The biggest concern was for the staffs that assist the elected officials. In order to attract and retain properly trained personnel, the elected officials wanted to continue having a competitive salary for their staff.

The compensation board compared Union County’s population ranking, as well as the salary ranking of each elected official, in all of Iowa’s counties.

“We look at other city administrators, city police, and we look at the schools and hospitals to see in comparison where our elected officials sit,” Turner said.

The board also reviewed the rankings of the counties surrounding Union County and recommendation passed last year by Shelby County, which included a similar wage increase and cost-of-living adjustment.

White — Union County’s recorder since 1995 — said at Tuesday’s meeting the Union County Courthouse is unique in the fact officials and staff in all departments work well together.

First deputy makes 80 percent of an elected officials salary, second deputy makes between 75-80 percent and clerk earns between 70-75 percent.

Kenyon does not have a full-time assistant. Piel’s chief deputy, Steve Maitlen, receives 85 percent of Piel’s salary because of a difference in Iowa Code.

The finalized recommendation will be presented by Turner and Hartsock at the supervisor’s meeting 10 a.m. Dec. 30.

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