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Published: Wednesday, 11/12/2008

Monroe County to give 3% raises to some officials in 2009


MONROE - A panel charged with determining pay rates for Monroe County elected officials has decided the county commissioners will not share in planned raises over the next two years.

The nine district commissioners are not among elected officials that the compensation commission has approved for 3 percent raises in each of the next two years.

The commissioners are paid $14,852 annually. The chairman of the board of commissioners is paid $18,567 and the vice chairman receives $16,486.

The prosecutor, clerk/register of deeds, drain commissioner, sheriff, and treasurer, who have not had increases since 2006, are to get raises in 2009 and 2010.

The pay level of the clerk/register of deeds will be $78,810 and $81,177 in 2010. Prosecutor William Nichols will be paid $110,336 next year and $113,650 in 2010.

The annual salary of Drain Commissioner Dan Stefanski will go to $72,805 in 2009 and $74,992 in 2010. Sheriff Tilman Crutchfield will have a bump in salary to $93,195 in 2009 and $95,994 in 2010. The treasurer's wage will be $70,047 in 2009 and $72,152 in 2010.

The committee, which meets every two years to review salaries of elected officials, voted 4-1 to restructure the salaries.

According to Terry Serbin, chairman of the commission, the decision to omit the commissioners stems from a $4.5 million budget deficit facing the board and action the commissioners took in giving substantial raises to county employees.

Two years ago the compensation committee chose against pay raises for elected officials because the budget was heading into a deficit, Mr. Serbin said.

"We gave zero and zero for each year at the time. We were basically suggesting that it might be time to draw back a little on salaries," he said.

Among the considerations of the committee in reviewing the salaries this time were 3 percent pay increases for the county's work force, including unionized employees.

The multiyear collective bargaining contracts, which were retroactive to 2007, will equate to about $700,000 in additional personnel costs.

Mr. Serbin said he is ready to withhold pay raises for the elected officials given the current economic situation. He said adjustments were needed because the salaries of elected officials were falling below the wages of upper level managers..

"It caused us to take a harder look at it. It didn't make us happy," he said.

County Board Chairman William Sisk said he told the compensation committee to be frugal and encouraged members not to raise the commissioners' salaries and to give pay hikes to the other officials instead.

"I said that I preferred that raises be given to the elected offices because they are full-time positions and it is their livelihood," he said.

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