GARNER | The Hancock County Compensation Board believes good employees should be paid well.
And it’s for that reason, it’s recommending a 4.5 percent raise for the county’s eight elected officials next fiscal year.
“I’m a firm believer if you have good people that are not causing you problems down the line, that are doing a nice job, you certainly have to reward them,” said Kenneth Krause, a Compensation Board member. “I have no problems paying people a wage they should receive.”
The Compensation Board’s recommendation, which was approved in a 6-0 vote Wednesday, Jan. 2, came after nearly two hours of discussion between its members and the county’s elected officials, who updated the board on the past year and the year ahead.
At the conclusion of that discussion, board members asked the elected officials in attendance — Sheriff Scott Dodd, Auditor Michelle Eisenman, Treasurer Deborah Engstler, Recorder Tracy Marshall and Attorney Blake Norman and Supervisors Florence “Sis” Greiman, Gary Rayhons and Jerry Tlach — what they were seeking for a raise.
Eisenman, Engstler, Marshall and Norman identified an increase between 4 and 5 percent.
Greiman deferred to Rayhons, who was elected to his first term as county supervisor in November, said it “wasn’t his place” to identify an increase because it was his first day on the board.
“In talking with people when I was out (campaigning), they love the services our courthouse provides. They love the services Hancock County provides. They love to live in this community. We have some great school districts and some great people to live with. Those are all factors we have to take in,” he said. “They know a service comes a cost. They know that. That’s what I’m trying to get to, and most of them aren’t afraid to pay if they know their services are good.”
Tlach and Greiman said 4 percent was “doable.”
Gerald “Chip” Thiedeman, Compensation Board vice chair and secretary, said the state average increase was 3.46 percent last year, and he expects it to be higher this year.
The cost-of-living adjustment was 2.8 percent this year.
“It’s not just a matter of being frugal, but we do have to be fair,” said Dan Kadrlik, Compensation Board chairman. “I do believe in order to keep good people, we have to compensate fairly at a minimum.”
The pay raise recommendations will go to the County Board for consideration during its budget process. The county board can approve, reduce or reject the recommendation, but it cannot increase it.
“This is what we would recommend you do, not based upon budgetary but based upon personnel, and if you look at it that way, I don’t think it’s inappropriate to say 4.5 to 5 (percent),” said Collin Davison, Compensation Board member.
The Compensation Board comprises seven members selected by elected county officials to determine wage adjustments annually based on their workload, the Consumer Price Index and other counties’ compensation board recommendations.
Last year, the Hancock County supervisors approved the Compensation Board’s recommended 3.5 percent increase for all elected officials, and in 2017, they approved the recommended 3.2 percent increase with one-time salary bumps for recorder, auditor and treasurer.
The proposed fiscal year 2020 raises are as follows:
- Supervisors: $36,379, an increase of $1,567
- County attorney: $106,131, an increase of $4,570
- Sheriff: $87,733, an increase of $3,778
- Auditor: $65,686, an increase of $2,829
- Recorder: $64,874, an increase of $2,794
- Treasurer: $65,415, an increase of $2,817
The proposed raises would cost the county an additional $21,489.
If the supervisors approve the salary increases, they will be effective July 1, 2019, the beginning of fiscal year 2020.