Government

Linn County supervisors freeze salaries for elected officials

The Linn County Board of Supervisors meeting room is shown in the Jean Oxley Public Service Center on Friday, July 8, 20
The Linn County Board of Supervisors meeting room is shown in the Jean Oxley Public Service Center on Friday, July 8, 2016. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Linn County Board of Supervisors on Friday voted to freeze elected officials salaries in the upcoming 2022 fiscal year.

Supervisors Ben Rogers and Louie Zumbach voted in favor of the freeze for supervisors and other elected officials. Supervisor Stacey Walker voted against, advocating that supervisors freeze their salaries but award a 2 percent increase for other elected officials.

The last time supervisors froze their own pay was in 2018, according to county budget director Sara Bearrows. At that time, the then five-member board approved a 3 percent increase for other elected officials.

The elected officials in the county are the three supervisors, county attorney, sheriff, auditor, recorder and treasurer.

In this fiscal year, which ends June 30, supervisors awarded 3 percent raises to elected officials. Their salaries, which will remain the same in the new fiscal year, are:

• Supervisors, auditor, treasurer, recorder: $119,198

• Sheriff: $164,544

• County attorney: $190,492

Walker, in advocating for raises for elected officials other than the supervisors, said the pay of some non-elected county employees is tied to the salary of the elected official they work for.

“The only way for those individuals who did not run for office to receive a wage increase is for their elected official to receive a wage increase,” Walker told The Gazette on Friday.

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“I’ve been one of the most active proponents in recognizing the economic harm that our residents have endured at the result of the chaotic year we just had,” he said. “But the fact is our county employees are residents, and they are not immune to that and that’s why I was going to bat for them.”

Rogers said having a zero percent salary adjustment saves more than $100,000.

“I personally know people who have been laid off, furloughed and had mandatory salary reductions due to COVID-19 and derecho,” Rogers told The Gazette. “In this economic climate, it’s important for elected officials to share in the sacrifice, and I believed we needed to not take a salary increase this year.”

Zumbach, the boards newest member and its only Republican, said he feels the board made the best decision with “everything going on.”

“At the end of the day, it’s the Linn County taxpayers that pay our salaries and, unfortunately, that does affect some deputies whose pay is based on their elected official, and I do feel bad about that,” he said.

“But I think it’s just the wrong message to send to taxpayers. … I spent the morning trying to figure out if we can decouple people from the elected people, and we can’t do that.”

Comments: (319) 398-8255; gage.miskimen@thegazette.com

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