The Union County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the 2014 compensation board’s recommendation for the upcoming fiscal budget.
“It is the board of supervisor’s responsibility to the other elected officials to make sure, within reason, that they are provided with adequate resources to fullfill their responsibilities with the interest of Union County, as a whole, being everyone’s first priority,” said chairman Dennis Brown.
The compensation board proposed and supervisors approved a 3.5 percent wage adjustment for Union County Attorney Tim Kenyon and Sheriff Rick Piel, as well as a 3 percent wage adjustment for Auditor Sandy Hysell, Recorder Paula White, Treasurer Kelly Busch and the board of supervisors.
Supervisors also approved an additional 2 percent cost-of-living increase. The raises only impact nonunion employees and elected officials.
“A good rule of thumb is that Iowa’s elected county officials’ pay should mirror the population ranking of their county,” Brown said. “Union County does not.”
Union County is 61st in Iowa’s population ranking, but ranks 79th in elected official pay.
The supervisors, recorder, auditor, sheriff and treasurer all fall below 61st for pay compared to other Iowa counties. Kenyon is ranked 47th.
The compensation board is limited by Iowa Code 331.907. It can only review the compensation of other elected officials across Iowa or similar taxing entities such as high schools, colleges, hospital or city government.
“If I have any credibility in regards to this, I will tell anyone that they are getting their money’s worth and then some from these folks,” Brown said. “One doesn’t have to reach back too far in Iowa history to show how important it is to have good, quality people holding elected positions.”
During the review process, Hysell estimated the total impact of the wage increase and cost-of-living would be around $36,000.
In other county news:
• Union County Engineer Steve Akes presented a five-year secondary roads construction program for the Iowa Department of Transportation.
The report breaks down the projects planned for fiscal year 2015 through 2019. Projects in the program can be moved around as other conditions arise, but it helps Akes and supervisors highlight what bridges or roads are in need of attention.
Akes also gave more information regarding the purchase of two new mower tractors. The equipment would be on lease for five years with annual payments of $11,750 and interest rate of four percent.
Supervisors plan to hold a public meeting in regard to the purchase of the new equipment on Feb. 3. Akes said they plan to sell the old tractors at auction.
• Union County resident Karon Finn spoke at open forum. She raised concerns about the way she was treated while trying to obtain public information from the auditor’s office.
She requested a written apology and promise it will not happen again within 11 days. Brown agreed to respond within the 11 days.