Differences in pay raises are questioned at supervisors’ meeting

By Jim Magdefrau

VINTON – The Benton County Board of Supervisors heard questions from the county’s land use and sanitarian office regarding pay raises for the next fiscal year, at the supervisors’ meeting Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, at the service center in Vinton.

Marc Greenlee and Barb Greenlee of the land use and sanitarian office were at the meeting. Marc Greenlee asked about the actions the week before that raised elected officials’ salaries 7 percent and non-elected officials at 5 percent. Greenlee submitted his budget with a 10-percent salary increase. He is now redoing that budget and he asked the board if they were sticking with those numbers. He also asked what rationale was used to determine those numbers.

He asked about performance and evaluations and if these were taken into consideration. He also asked about longevity, duties to do the job and degree of difficulty in that job. He pointed out that land use is a difficult process. “How do we determine this worth?” he asked the board and asked if this was discussed.

Chairman Tracy Seeman said this was discussed in a work session. He stressed he deals with anybody in the county and discusses everything from roads to property taxes. He added the girls upstairs in their offices have to deal with this the same way. They are elected officials and it costs money for them to keep their job. “That’s extra money out of their pocket,” Seeman told Greenlee. He pointed out the phone calls they get.

Seeman added, “I don’t need a raise.” If he could get stipend for chairman off of the books, he’d find the means.

Greenlee asked how the board determined some people were doing more work than others. “Some departments do for dealing with the public,” Seeman answered.

Supervisor Richard Primmer talked about why some employees were singled out for higher increases. For example, duties have increased for internet technology (IT), starting with just the courthouse, and adding the service center, secondary roads, conservation and Global Information System. “His original job did not include all of that stuff,” said of IT. They are working on getting additional help for when IT takes on the sheriff’s department.

Some of the secretarial increases were due to recommendations made to the board, Primmer explained, as they tried to get some equalization. Primmer added he was in favor of 5 percent across the board, with no difference between elected and non-elected. He voted against the 7 percent increase for elected officials.

“This causes issues,” Primmer observed. The board also works with non-union and union officials as well.

Greenlee asked if the board was going to stick with the numbers that were voted on. “As of right now, yes,” Seeman answered. It was discussed if departments will need to adjust their proposed budgets to reflect the numbers for salaries.

“Well, I guess all that I can do is thank you for your time and appreciate it,” Greenlee told the board as they left the meeting.

Learning connection

The supervisors met with Kristine Bullock of the Kirkwood Community College Learning Connection. The goal of the department is to be a one-stop point of contact for workplace learning experiences for schools and businesses. They start with sixth graders and introductory classroom speakers. They want students to see all different types of careers. If they do training in high school, they are more likely to stick with it, Bullock to the supervisors.

The exploratory stage is sixth to eight grade. Then they go into more specialized programs with classroom speakers, career fair, career clusters, and then job shadows and internships.

She said they have an exciting new program that is unique to Iowa County and Benton County. The state of Iowa has a program through the Iowa Department of Education where there is operational sharing with others. Rural schools are well versed in sharing, such as sharing a superintendent, curriculum director, and transportation director. Now they can share a work-based line coordinator. Benton, Vinton-Shellsburg and Williamsburg reached out to ramp up their work-based learning experiences. Each district gets $15,000 from the state. Kirkwood is cost-sharing the other half of this. Kirkwood can dedicate a full staff person to this now. This will help provide more customer service to those districts.

Their funding request is based on 10 cents per capita. The cost-share rate is the same for all participating counties. They are also applying for grants. She thanked the county for its shared investment in their team, plus several county departments for hosting students.

Other businesses

A correction was made in the motion for the maintenance salary, when the board last week approved pay raises for non-elected officials. They also talked about the rural residential roll back and its impact on the county’s valuation and budget. It will mean the need for software changes.

Benton Supervisors, Jan. 31, 2023


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