hose elected to county-level offices will see a pay raise effective at the start of the next terms for each office.
That decision was made by a vote of the current elected officeholders, who form the membership of the Platte County Salary Commission. The salary commission meets every two years to consider the pay scale for elected positions of the county.
At the salary commission meeting Monday, by a vote of 6-4, members voted to raise the pay for each office by 2.5% beginning at the start of the next term.
Per the state constitution, pay raises of elected officials cannot take effect within the term of office. So the adjustment will not take effect until Jan. 1 of 2019 for those offices whose terms expire in 2018 and Jan. 1, 2021 for those offices whose terms expire in 2020.
Sheriff Mark Owen made the motion for the 2.5% salary increase. His motion was seconded by Kevin Robinson, auditor.
Others joining Owen and Robinson in voting in favor of the increase: Sheila Palmer, county collector; Jera Pruitt, public administrator; Gloria Boyer, recorder of deeds; and Nancy Armstrong, county clerk.
Voting no were Ron Schieber, presiding commissioner; Dagmar Wood, first district commissioner; John Elliott, second district commissioner; and Rob Willard, county treasurer.
David Cox, county assessor, did not attend the meeting. The prosecutor’s salary is determined by state statute, so the county prosecutor has traditionally never taken part in the salary commission discussions. The prosecutor’s salary, as determined by the state, is $135,059.
“It was time to do something,” Owen said in an interview after Monday’s meeting.
“I just want qualified, competent people (to continue to fill officeholder positions),” he said in explaining his desire to see the salaries increased.
“I truly respect conservative governing and conservative points of view, but when this takes effect that will now have been only two raises in 23 years,” the sheriff said.
In 2007, officeholders positions received raises of three percent to the level they are now. Following are salaries for each of the affected positions, with current salary followed by the effect of the 2.5% raise in 2019:
- Presiding commissioner: $65,755 to $67,398.
- Associate commissioner: $63,755 to $65,348.
- Assessor: $65,755 to $67,398.
- Auditor: $65,755 to $67,398.
- Collector: $65,755 to $67,398.
- County clerk: $65,755 to $67,398.
- Public administrator: $65,755 to $67,398.
- Recorder of deeds: $65,755 to $67,398.
- Sheriff: $71,327 to $73,110.
The sheriff pointed out the elected officials have not taken a raise since 2007 and since that time employees of the county have had raises of 4.5% to 5.7% during that time period.
“The electeds are not keeping up with the cost of living,” the sheriff said.
“This action does not affect next year’s budget,” Owen added. Officials are well into budget preparation for 2018.
The sheriff pointed out many city police chiefs in Platte County are paid higher salaries than the sheriff. The sheriff runs a considerably larger department and also is responsible for operating the county jail, he said.
Boyer, longtime county recorder, supported the idea of a pay raise.
“We all agree the positions are very valued positions. There never seems to be a good time to do this (take a pay raise),” Boyer said.
Willard, the county treasurer, said he opposed the idea based on his belief that county employees are underpaid.
“I don’t think employees of this county feel valued or appreciated,” he remarked.
“I would be sending the wrong message to give myself a pay raise.”
Elliott opposed the idea of a salary increase, saying “until we get a new tax structure in place” the county budget is simply trying to keep up with price increases in certain areas, including in health insurance costs.
“There is no extra money sitting around, unless we were to raise taxes,” Elliott said, adding the county commission has no intention of raising taxes.
Schieber and Wood did not make any specific comments prior to their votes against the motion.
Palmer, Pruitt, and Armstrong made no comments specific to the salary increase prior to their votes in favor.