MADISON – Deciding how much someone should get paid is never easy – and the discussion over Madison County elected officials’ pay was at times strained on Tuesday.
The Madison County Board of Commissioners approved a new four-year pay cycle for all elected officials Tuesday morning. The new salary plan works in $1500 raises for each elected office in each of the next four years, with some exceptions. The county surveyor’s pay will stay frozen for four years, and the county district court clerk and register of deeds will both not see pay raises in the next year, but raises each year after that.
The decision followed lengthy discussion over a study done by the National Association of Counties which showed that Madison County’s officials are paid significantly below those in similarly sized counties.
“We met and we looked over it,” said Madison County District Court Clerk Monica Rotherham. “I feel that all pf the offices should at least be making the base minimum. We are public servants and we do a very good job with what we do.”
Madison County Board Chair Jim Prauner voted against the changes. He wanted instead an annual 1.5% increase, would have meant slightly less for each office per year. Prauner said that he’s not worried about what other counties pay their officials as much as he’s worried about the effect on the taxpayers.
“How many people make $60,000 in Madison County?” Prauner said, alluding to the Clerk of the District Court’s salary. “They think that’s quite a bit of money if you think about that a while. That’s why I’m sitting talking to the constituents and trying to get the best bang for their buck. All of you are doing darn good work, but you are a public servant. You wilt get $200,000 or $300,000. If you want that, you’ve got to get out in the private sector and get yourself a job.”
The approved approved pay cycle also includes cuts in how much each Commissioner gets paid. They get a base salary of $34,150 for each of the next four years, unless they continue to stay in charge of road maintenance, in which case they would get $41,650. They are being paid $46,450 in 2018, and Prauner, as board chair, receives and extra $1800 annually.
Commissioners said they understood and appreciated each offices concerns over their pay, but added they were hesitant to pass more of that burden on to the taxpayers.
“I don’t know if this is fair to say, but this is election season,” said Commissioner Ron Schmidt. “If someone were running against me, I would be a little bit hesitant to say I’m for this huge increase in salary.”
The Board did approve raises above and beyond the $1,500 annually for the County Sheriff, County Attorney and Public Defender.
View the full pay schedule approved Tuesday below: