Joe Halbur
Joe Halbur
The Carroll County Compensation Board Thursday recommended a 3.25 percent pay increase for next fiscal year for all county elected officials.

The plan goes before the Board of Supervisors Monday for consideration. The board can reject it or approve smaller percentage increases but cannot increase the pay raises beyond 3.25 percent. The raises would go into effect July 1.

In a 21-minute meeting at the Carroll County Courthouse the compensation board voted 5-0 to approve the recommendation.

Board chairman Joe Halbur, a Carroll attorney, said the increase is in line with national economic considerations and confidential polling he did with nine Carroll County employers who provided information on employee salaries.

Halbur said Carroll County's elected officials continued to be paid less than their counterparts with the City of Carroll.

"I don't think it's any secret that compared to the county, they (city salaries) are much higher," Halbur said.

In fact, Dr. Paul J. Greteman of Carroll, a member of the compensation board, said in a letter that he believed the salary of Sheriff Doug Bass should be equal to that of Carroll Police Chief Jeff Cayler. As of Jan. 1, Cayler makes $77,063 annually. Bass makes $70,618. To bring those salaries in line board members would have had to approve a 9 percent increase for Bass.

"While the chief reports to the mayor, the sheriff is the top law official in the county and answers to the voters," Greteman wrote in the letter. He added, "The sheriff is responsible for the oversight of the jail, the serving of court papers, mental-health transfers, and substance-abuse responsibilities, and all other miscellaneous law enforcement that is needed in the county."

Greteman was not present at the meeting, and no other board member formally took up his case for separating Bass for higher pay.

Board member Mary Bruner, a human resources official with Carroll County State Bank, made the case for the 3.25 percent increase.

"I greatly respect our elected officials and what they do," Bruner said.

The five compensation board members voting in favor of the recommendation were: Bruner, Halbur, Rick Vanderheiden, Mike Franey and Clay Winterboer, all of Carroll. Jean Stadtlander of Manning, the seventh member, was not present.

If approved by the supervisors, the salary increases for the county elected officials would be as follows: Supervisors Mark Beardmore, Gene Meiners, Neil Bock, Marty Danzer and Dan Nieland: $27,327 to $28,215; Auditor Joan Schettler, $59,062 to $60,981; Treasurer Peggy Weitl, $55,921 to $57,738; Recorder Marilyn Dopheide, $53,076 to $54,800; Sheriff Doug Bass, $70,618 to $72,913; and County Attorney John Werden, $62,129 to $64,148.

The compensation board's authority extends only to salary and does not reach into other benefit areas such as health insurance and retirement plans.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Consumer Price Index increased 2.9 percent from 2011 to 2012.

Last year, the Board of Supervisors approved 2.5 percent increases for its members and a 3 percent increase for all other county elected officials. The compensation board in 2012 recommended a 3.6 percent increase.

The previous year, in fiscal 2011-2012, the Board of Supervisors approved $750 raises for its members and $2,100 increases for other elected officials. Salaries were frozen in fiscal year 2010-2011.