By Jim Magdefrau
VINTON – A big step in forming the Benton County budget for next year was taken by the Benton County Board of Supervisors, as they acted on the Benton County Compensations Board’s recommendation for elected officials’ salaries. They also acted on pay increases for non-elected, non-union and non-commissioned employees.
They accepted the recommendation from the compensation board. In making his motion, Supervisor Richard Primmer noted that it is a significant pay increase for the sheriff, adding this is part of an effort to “Back the Blue.” He said if the board cuts the recommendation on other elected officials, it will cut the sheriff’s pay as well in terms of percentage. The next year they will be right back at it again. Supervisor Gary Bierschenk observed they might be at it again anyway.
Primmer made the motion and Bierschenk seconded it. It was approved 3-0.
As for non-elected, non-union and non-commission employees, Primmer made a motion to follow through with the same percentage for these employees. Exceptions included Cara Martin with the Veterans Affairs recommendation, with a $10,000 lump sum raise; Justin Birker in maintenance at 85 percent of the department head’s salary; and human resources Kirsten Nelson at 10 percent, which includes here contracted rate plus another two percent.
Benton County Attorney David Thompson recommended dealing with the exceptions in a separate motion.
Primmer pointed out he wasn’t comfortable with the recommendation for human resources. It felt like she was being singled out.
This again was approved unanimously.
“I got a lot flack on this stuff,” Primmer said after the vote, pointing out Benton County has good employees. “We need to keep good employees,” he said. Otherwise, the county can’t provide services.
“There’s been a lot of comments about the percentages,” Primmer observed. “We can’t help the current economics. We really can’t. And how the hell we fund this is not going to be fun.” He urged boards and departments to tighten their belts. “You want your people, you’re going to have to give elsewhere.”
Auditor Hayley Rippel wrote in an e-mail that basically the non-union, non-commission get a 10 percent raise. She added the conservation board sets their departments salaries, along with the assessor’s office, who have their conference board to approve
Official Current Recommended Salary Salary for FY22 Auditor (10%) $81,201.56 $89,321.72 Treasurer (10%) $76,793.12 $84,472.43 Recorder (10%) $76,793.12 $84,472.43 Attorney (10%) $115,922.92 $127,515.21 Sheriff (28.5%) $96,236.74 $123,664.21 Supervisor (10%)$43,895.16 $48,284.68 (Chairman) $44,895.16 $49,284.68 $1000 stipend
A wage increase was approved for Joe Wehage, transportation driver, for obtaining his class CDL/passenger license.
Quotes were viewed for the parking lot at the service center.
Budgets were reviewed for the volunteer program, mental health and Benton County Attorney.