Johnson County supervisors consider 18% pay rise for 10 elected officials

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors will discuss a massive salary increase for all elected officials during ongoing budget discussions this week.

Under a recommendation from the Johnson County Compensation Board approved Jan. 20, all elected officials would receive a maximum salary increase of 18 percent. That would be a dramatic increase from last year’s 2.75% increase. The increase is intended to help Johnson County’s salaries keep pace with other densely populated Iowa counties as some of the highest-paid elected officials in the state.

Some Supervisors are already ignoring the recommendation, wanting to propose a figure lower than 18%.

In an interview with the Press-Citizen, supervisor Lisa Green-Douglass, vice chair of the board, said she thought an 18% raise was far too high for all elected officials.

“What I would like to see with elected officials is that a pay raise look like raises for our department heads,” she said.

Supervisor Jon Green tweeted that he wouldn’t support such a high raise for supervisors either, hinting that it would be “almost impossible” for him to support a raise of more than 2.25%, which is the rate that Johnson County is on the right track. to be approved as a cost of living increase for non-union employees.

While the other elected officials already have six-figure salaries under Johnson County’s current compensation model for fiscal year 2022, the five supervisors would top $100,000 for the first time. Sheriff Brad Kunkel would retain his position as the highest-paid elected official, his salary approaching an annual payout of $200,000, which is double what each supervisor earns.

Here’s how each elected official’s salary will change, assuming an 18% increase:

  • Supervisor: $87,168 to $102,858

  • Lawyer: $160,192 to $189,027

  • Sheriff: $162,912 to $192,236

  • Auditor: $116,224 to $137,144

  • Treasurer: $116,224 to $137,144

  • Recorder: $116,224 to $137,144

Supervisors will discuss the proposal in a working session on Wednesday, but will not fully approve any increases until the full budget for fiscal year 2023 is voted on at the end of March. The salary increase would take effect in July, at the start of the new fiscal year.

Johnson County Supervisors, from left, Pat Heiden, Royceann Porter, President of the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, and Lisa Green-Douglass speak at a formal meeting, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at the Johnson County Administration Building in Iowa City, Iowa.

Although the board has the ability to assess and modify its own salary increase separately from other elected positions, the board must approve the others en bloc, which means that any changes to an elected position must be passed on to the others. .

According to the Iowa State Association of Counties salary survey, Johnson County has not approved a salary increase of more than 10% for an elected office since 2010.

Each fiscal year, all elected officials received salary increases ranging from 1% for all elected officials except the sheriff in 2011, to 9.95% for Supervisors in 2017.

At the Jan. 20 meeting, County Auditor Travis Weipert argued that changes to state law that could hold his office liable for any technical election-related violations with a $10,000 personal fine should be considered for his salary increase. County Attorney Janet Lyness and County Recorder Kim Painter also argued for pay increases for their deputies and other staff.

“The theme of what I hear from these people is that the workload has increased for these people on top of working during the pandemic and putting their lives on the line,” said Leah Jesse, a member of the Commission of compensation.

Jesse, who was nominated by Weipert, said it was “crucial” to consider the legal repercussions that could befall Weipert.

Other council members pointed to the rising cost of living and inflation as other reasons for increasing the salaries of elected officials.

Of all the elected officials and board members who spoke about the increase, most cited the added workload due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to offer competitive salaries to elected officials and staff. unelected in order to keep pace with other counties.

Most Iowa counties that have already approved or are considering pay increases have not gone as high as Johnson County’s proposal, but in many counties sheriffs are seeing higher increases than other elected officials.

In Black Hawk County, the Board of Supervisors approved a 15% raise for sheriff, while other elected positions only got between 3.375% and 7.5%.

Neighboring Washington County is considering a bigger 20% raise for all elected officials, but has yet to approve it.

George Shillcock is Press-Citizen’s local government and development reporter covering Iowa City and Johnson County. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @ShillcockGeorge

This article originally appeared on Iowa City Press-Citizen: Johnson County elected officials could get an 18% raise

William M. Mayer