Minimum wage, supervisors' pay divide District 3 candidates

Number of county supervisors also at issue

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CEDAR RAPIDS — This election, Linn County District 3 voters will choose between incumbent Democrat Ben Rogers and Republican challenger Tim Gull.

The two Cedar Rapids residents have very different views in this coming election.

For one, Gull, who owns Metro Transmission and Auto Repair, said he wants to see the five-member board reduced to three supervisors and their pay reduced.

“Any business you go to is having to do more with less, and I believe that to be the same with county government,” Gull said. “People are upset about the compensation and the fact that we have five when we used to have three.

“They’re overpaid and they don’t have enough to do.”

Rogers, who was first elected to the board in 2008, argued the opposite.

“I support keeping it at five because this is about representation, it’s not about salary,” he said. “I feel that five supervisors is the best representation plan to ensure that urban, rural, Democrats and Republicans all have a voice on the board of supervisors.”

Rogers said he isn’t opposed to taking a deeper look at supervisor pay, but added that it needs to be addressed across the board to include the county treasurer, auditor and recorder as well. All make about the same — more than $100,000 a year.

Both said budgeting and being fiscally responsible are top priorities for them as candidates.

Rogers added that building on countywide customer service and addressing needs in the county’s mental health and disabilities services will be other areas that will need attention in the years to come.

As for the minimum-wage ordinance, Rogers proposed the measure that eventually was passed by the board earlier this year, while Gull said he disagrees with the local ordinance.

Under the countywide ordinance, Linn County’s minimum wage will increase by $1 annually, starting January, for three consecutive years until it reaches $10.25 an hour in 2019.

Gull said the minimum wage should be driven by the economy.

“Will an increase in the minimum wage create a single job? No. It will hurt job creation. Capitalism creates jobs, competition creates higher wages and better working conditions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rogers described the ordinance as a quality-of-life issue.

“Not many people know that county government is the layer of government responsible for providing human services ... . Services for people who are not able to meet basic needs, that’s why we wanted to pass the minimum-wage increase,” Rogers said.

Compare all the candidates on the issues that matter to you in our digital voter guide:

Linn County District 3

Tim Gull

Age: 54

Education: BA in business from University of Northern Iowa

Occupation: Owner of Metro Transmission and Auto Repair

Hometown: Garnavillo, Iowa

Ben Rogers

Age: 36

Education: BA in political science from University of Iowa

Occupation: Linn County supervisor

Hometown: Cedar Rapids

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