Davison County officials give themselves 5.7 percent hike in salaryCommissioners, who had been earning $14,003 a year, voted 4-1 for what amounts to a 5.7 percent raise, bringing their annual pay to $14,803.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
His first day on the job, new District 2 Davison County Commissioner Randy Reider got an $800 raise.
That was the result of the 2 percent plus 25 cents-per-hour raise the commissioners voted for themselves Tuesday at the courthouse in Mitchell during the first commission meeting of 2013. Reider took office Tuesday after he ran unopposed in November to succeed retiring commissioner Jerry Fischer.
The commissioners, who had been earning $14,003 a year, voted 4-1 for what amounts to a 5.7 percent raise, bringing their annual pay to $14,803. The commissioners voted themselves what amounted to a 1.2 percent raise in 2012.
The commissioners also approved a 2 percent plus 50 cents-an-hour raise for all county employees Tuesday.
Commissioner Gerald Weiss was the lone holdout on the commissioners’ raise.
“I didn’t run for this job to make money,” said Weiss, noting he had a hard time justifying a raise during tough economic times. “I see couples with kids working two jobs and paying for rent and babysitters every day. Let’s set an example for our taxpayers.”
Commission Chairman John Claggett felt the raises are justified given the amount of time required by commission duties. He and Commissioner Denny Kiner said those duties reduce the time they give their regular full-time jobs, and end up reducing their earnings.
“How are you going to keep up?” Claggett asked. “It cost me $780 to X-ray my knee the other day.”
“I didn’t do it for the money, either,” said Kiner, who had mixed emotions about voting for a raise. “But I agree with John that you have to keep up with inflation.”
Kiner said the commissioner pay is “in the ballpark” compared with other counties.
“I don’t think you have to justify it,” Reider said, adding that the question that must be considered is if the pay is commensurate with the responsibilities of a job. He called Weiss’ concerns “commendable.”
The commission needs to do what it can to raise the attractiveness of a commissioner’s job to encourage others to run for office, Kiner said. Aurora County, he said, can’t find anyone to run for two open commissioner slots.
The commissioners have historically given all county employees a flat percentage increase and, in most years, an additional 25 to 50 cents per hour.
This year, the commissioners gave all employees a 2 percent raise plus 50 cents an hour. The extra 50 cents amounts to $1,040 based on a 2,080-hour work year.
The rationale for adding the extra cents per hour, said Auditor Susan Kiepke, is to lessen the disparity between the county’s highest and lowest wage earners.
A flat percentage plus a 25- or 50 cents-per-hour increase, goes the rationale, will do more to beef up the lower part of the county wage scale than it will the upper end.
Also Tuesday, the commissioners:
• Re-elected John Claggett to his third year as commission chairman and elected Gerald Weiss as vice chairman.
• Designated The Daily Republic as the official county newspaper.
• Approved the hire at $13.50 an hour of Clayton Wells as the new county weed supervisor. Wells, who is qualified to operate heavy equipment, will work with the Highway Department when he isn’t busy controlling weeds.
• At the request of State’s Attorney Jim Miskimins, approved the 2013 Jailer’s Union contract. The contract gives correction officers the same 2 percent plus 50 cents an hour raise given to other county employees, plus a shift differential payment of 25 cents an hour for night work.
• During the meeting’s citizen comment segment, heard from Darwin Buus, who said he is concerned that a sufficient number of drivers can’t be found to drive the veterans’ van to the Veterans Affairs hospital in Sioux Falls. Buus also expressed concern that Veterans Service Officer Steve McClure may not be able to coordinate van ridership in the future. Commissioner Denny Kiner asked to have the matter placed on next week’s agenda.
• Approved Register of Deeds Deb Young’s request for a 2013 work study contract that will provide work for two Mitchell Technical Institute students. The students will work in county offices at a rate of $8 an hour. The county will pay $2 of that amount; the rest is covered by a federal work study grant.
• Approved routine fees — most remained unchanged from 2012 levels — and committee appointments for 2013.