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Davison commissioners vote raises for officers

Jerry Fischer

Davison County commissioners approved raises of about 4 percent to elected officials during a Thursday meeting at the courthouse.

The commissioners gave raises of 2 percent plus 50 cents an hour to base pay rates. The increase followed raises of 1 percent plus 25 cents an hour given last December to county officers.

The county auditor, treasurer and register of deeds' base salaries, which were $45,612.24 in 2012, will be $47,564.48 in 2013. That includes a 2 percent raise of $912.24, plus $1,040 (50 cents an hour based on 2,080 hours a year). The extra money equates to a 4.28 percent raise.

Treasurer-elect Christie Gunkel will receive a base salary of $43,564.48 a year. Historically, newly elected officials have received wages about $4,000 below those of outgoing officials, Kiepke explained.

The pay formula will not apply to incoming State's Attorney Jim Miskimins, who was recently appointed to finish out the term of former State's Attorney Pat Smith.

Miskimins' initial salary was $71,386 , or $5,000 below Smith's ending salary of $76,386.28, Kiepke said.

But he too, will receive a raise in 2013.

Miskimins will be paid $73,854, which is a 3.5 percent hike since he took over the office Dec. 14.

Sheriff Dave Miles, who will retire on Jan. 18, was paid $54,682.78 in 2012. He will be paid a pro-rated portion of his 2013 new base salary of $56,816.43 (a $1,093.65 increase, plus $1,040), which equates to a 3.9 percent overall raise.

Kiepke said all raises for the 2013 budget were figured with the 2 percent plus 50 cents per hour formula included.

On Jan. 8, the commissioners will consider raising their own salaries as well as those of other county employees. All are expected to get raises based on the same formula.

The raises do not include additional longevity bonuses for longtime service with the county. Those range from $100 for five-year employees, to $700 for 20-year employees, to $1,500 for 36-year employees.

Kiepke said six county employees get $700 in longevity bonuses. No one gets the 36-year bonus, Kiepke said, but one employee with 33 years of service is close.

Fischer farewell

The commission said farewell to outgoing District 2 Commissioner Jerry Fischer.

Fischer, a Democrat who chose not to run for re-election, will be replaced by incoming Commissioner Randy Reider , a Republican, who will be sworn in on Jan. 8. To mark his final meeting as a commissioner, Fischer read a handwritten farewell into the official meeting minutes.

Elected in 2001, Fischer served three terms on the commission.

"I have worked hard every day at being a commissioner," Fischer wrote, noting that his time on the commission capped 43 years of public service as a city employee, firefighter and commissioner.

"I want to thank the residents of Davison County for letting me serve them as Davison County Commissioner to District 2."

To his fellow commissioners, Fischer said, "I'll miss all you people."

Commissioner Gerald Weiss, the commission's only other Democrat, was absent due to a family illness.

Kiner boosts Brink for sheriff

Noting that he has received numerous calls supporting Chief Deputy Steve Brink for appointment to sheriff when Sheriff Dave Miles retires on Jan. 18, Commissioner Denny Kiner recommended Brink's appointment.

"He has developed good working relationships in the office, and his appointment would ease the transition," Kiner said.

Kiner said he has been satisfied with Brink's performance. He said he has personally observed times when Brink's cool demeanor helped defuse potentially violent situations.

Fischer said he has received an equal number of calls from constituents who favor Brink's appointment.

Commission Chairman John Claggett recommended addressing the appointment at the Jan. 8 meeting since Brink's appointment was not on Thursday's agenda.

Claggett said he would also like a brief executive session with Miles and Brink to discuss how such a transition would affect other sheriff's office personnel.

Other business

In other business:

* The commissioners approved routine cash operating transfers of $460,000 from the general fund, an amount that includes $350,000 for the highway department and $110,000 for emergency management.

* Kiepke told the commissioners that a year-end budget supplement hearing will not be needed because the $225,504 in contingency needs will not exceed the county's $300,000 contingency budget.

The commissioners approved funding to cover following departmental budget shortfalls: elections, $2,530; treasurer $20,960 (to cover expenses associated with an extra deputy); Geographic Information Systems, $1,400; sheriff, $48,830; jail, $24,565 (due mostly to overtime caused by staffing shortages); 24/7 Sobriety program, $17,254; coroner, $5,080; juvenile detention, $57,903; emergency management, $5,534; highway, $29,000; community health nurse, $12,059; WIC, $389 (additional employee health insurance).