Elected Officials Will Receive 3% Raises Beginning In 2023

The Custer County Board of Supervisors held their final meeting of 2021 on Tuesday, December 28 with a shortened agenda planned.

A majority of the meeting was spent discussing elected officials’ salaries which are set every four years. From 2019 through 2022, elected officials received a $4,000 base increase the first year, which then became a 2½ % increase the following three years. The Supervisors’ salaries were frozen during that time.

Supervisors Bobby Myers, Don Olson, and Lynn Longmore were on the committee in charge of determining the best route to go regarding the salaries. According to Longmore, the committee looked at counties of similar population size to see where Custer County was in comparison. He stated Custer is within range of the other counties such as Box Butte and Red Willow.

Some of the elected officials felt that only comparing populations was not the only option that should be looked at. Some of the ideas that were suggested to be looked at included the number of District Court cases, valuations, and neighboring county pay scales.

Custer County District Court Clerk Amy Oxford, said they appreciate the raise in the base salary from a couple of years ago, but money is being stretched extremely thin with inflation having ballooned in the past year.

Custer County Sheriff Dan Osmond said while he only lost one deputy in the last four years, he is concerned that if the pay is not raised for deputies they could lose them to neighboring counties.

Supervisor Dwain Bryner stated he has never seen hiring bonuses’ as the ones being offered across the state. He remarked that there are departments offering large signing bonuses, but only requiring the employee to stay on for a few months.

“There is just no loyalty anymore,” said Bryner

Supervisor Doug Stunkel said with everything going on in the country, Custer County is a great place to live. In regards to salaries being higher in neighboring counties, he mentioned that if employees don’t like it here they can leave.

Olson argued that the county can’t afford to have, for example, the entire sheriff’s department leave for Dawson County.

In the end, elected officials will receive a 3% increase each year for four years beginning in 2023. The elected Supervisors however will have their salaries frozen for two years before receiving the 3% increase.

Also discussed during the meeting was the Sheriff’s department receiving work cell phones. Sheriff Osmond said currently deputies are having to use their personal cell phones to take pictures of accidents and crime scenes and to conduct county business. After attending a number of meetings and seminars this past year, Osmond said the court could order a subpoena and access any of the information on the personal phones. He said it would be in the county’s best interest that work phones be issued to the entire department to alleviate possible issues in the future.

Osmond informed the board it would be approximately $30/line and the phones would likely be free. He remarked that there are still policies that would have to be updated and he wanted to do a little more research with other sheriff’s departments about how they were handling the work phones. A few of the Supervisors voiced their support for the work cell phones, but made no decision regarding the topic.

Also approved during the meeting was the approval for Healing Hearts & Families to pursue an additional grant. Custer County is the lead county for HHF and must give approval for them to pursue the grants.

The next Custer County Board of Supervisors meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 11 at 9 AM.