County elected officials getting 3% raises

On 1/29/2018, the Linn County Compensation Board met, i.e., four of them attended in-person and three called into the meeting. After consideration of the documents received prior to the meeting (see mine below) and the comments at the meeting, the Board recommended a three percent (3%) increase for all elected officials. If the Compensation Board’s increase is approved by the Linn County Board of Supervisors, the following elected official salaries will go into effect on 7/1/2018:

Attorney – $176K – see Code of Iowa Chapter 331.751–331.759 et al for a description of the duties;

Sheriff – $152K – see Chapter 331.651–331.661 et al;

Recorder and Treasurer – $110K – see 331.601–331.611 et al and 331.551–331.559 et al, respectively; and

Supervisors and Auditor – $107K – see Chapter 331 et al and 331.501–331.512 et al, respectively.

Considering that the income in half the households in Linn County is $60,989 per year or less; and considering that the Attorney, Recorder, Treasurer, and all three Supervisor jobs are on the ballot in 2018; I would think the new salaries would spawn some competitive races in 2018. – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

From: Miller, Joel
Sent: Friday, January 26, 2018 3:17 PM
To: Linn County Compensation Board

Subject: Input from Auditor re Monday’s Compensation Board meeting

Chairman Stefani et al,

Last year, I requested no increase in the salary for the County Auditor. This year, I am requesting that the salary of the County Auditor be increased by $3, 116.66, and then increased by whatever percentage increase the Recorder and Treasurer are awarded.

What’s changed? Prior to running in the June 2016 primary election, I publicly announced that I would not be seeking another term as County Auditor after the 2016 elections. In November of 2016, I was re-elected as Auditor and the voters decided to reduce the number of County Supervisors from five to three. For several months, I have been ….

I may not … and I most definitely will not be the Auditor on 2 January 2021.

So what do you want in your next Auditor? Who do you hope to attract to run for Auditor? What will skills, experience, and education should they bring to the job? The salary you set for the Auditor now and in subsequent years will determine who the applicants are for the job.

Does the status quo continue, i.e., the applicant pool comes from existing deputy auditors and/or other county employees? Or do you want to attract non-employee applicants, e.g., applicants with law degrees, MBAs, or CPAs?

I have attached a Excel spreadsheet from the Iowa State Association of Counties which indicates the FY18 (current year) salaries for the Auditor, Recorder, and Treasurer. I have sorted the spreadsheet using the Auditor v Recorder column. You can also sort it using the Auditor v Treasurer column.

Until your meeting last year, the Comp Board was adamant that the Auditor, Recorder, and Treasurer must be paid the same. Now, the Linn County Auditor along with the Clayton County Auditor are paid less than their respective County Recorders and Treasurers. Two other Auditors, i.e., Winneshiek and Cass are paid less than their respective Treasurers.

Two counties have eliminated the Office of County Recorder, i.e., Marshall and Woodbury counties, and their respective Auditors earn $3,557 and $2,142 more than their respective Treasurers, which is not much considering the responsibilities that were added onto them as Auditors & Recorders.

The spreadsheet also indicates that 44 counties pay their Auditors more than Recorders; and 41 counties pay their Auditors more than Treasurers. One county indicated the Auditor was paid more because he is the Board’s budget coordinator. One indicated that the difference in pay goes back to 1981 and no one remembers the justification. Two indicated their counties relied upon compensation studies to justify the difference in salaries, but they did not have any current studies available to me.

Since your meeting last year, I have asked the Board of Supervisors to include the county elected officials in a compensation study that is currently underway. The Human Resources Director was against amending the contract and the Board sided with her.

Perhaps, next year, when you meet, the Board can provide you with a compensation study.

In the meantime and at the very least, I ask that you consider increasing the salary of the Auditor to match the ultimate salaries given to the Recorder and Treasurer. ###

Auditor v Recorder v Treasurer 1-23-2018.xls

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