January 9, 2003

County Salary Commission Gives Treasurer $6,000 Raise

County salary commissions meet across the state during odd years and thanks to a move by the Missouri State Legislature this year's meeting had an odd twist as well.

Typically the salary commissions meet to establish the pay rate for the county's elected officials. The maximum compensation level has been established by the state with the county salary commission deciding what percentage of that salary they will be paid.

But recent legislation made this year's meeting unusual as for the first time the members would be deciding the salary base for one of its own, county treasurer.

"This new legislation puts the other county officials in a terrible situation," stated Presiding Commissioner Mike Stephenson. "I don't feel it's the other officeholders part to tell a fellow elected official what they are worth."

The new law allowed county treasurers to move up on the maximum salary schedule to $30,000, the same ceiling established by the legislature for the offices of county clerk, collector, assessor.

Prior to the law change the maximum salary level for county treasurer was $22,200.

The commission considered several factors prior to offering a vote on the issue of the treasurer's maximum salary.

County Clerk Betty Lodewegen presented preliminary figures of revenues and expenditures for the 2002 budget year. She indicated the general revenue fund balance had grown by roughly $6,000 in 2002 with $766,073 in receipts and $759,640 in revenues.

"The sales tax is keeping up with inflation," stated Stephenson. "We're not gaining any ground, it's simply holding its own."

Commissioner Roger Riebel questioned Treasurer LaMayra Brown regarding her office hours, specifically requesting that the treasurer's office have the same set hours as the rest of the courthouse offices.

"In the past I've set my own hours," Brown said. "I don't deal with the public so I have been able to come in later and stay later. I'm here as many hours as the rest of the county officials I just am not here at the same time always."

Other officials indicated they would prefer the treasurer's office maintain regular 8:30 - 4:00 business hours similar to the rest of the courthouse to assist their offices.

"I would be glad to keep the same hours," Brown told the meeting. "If that is the preference of the commission then I will make the change. I want to be here. I love my job. If someone had mentioned this before I would have corrected the issue."

After further discussion Sheriff Wayne Winn made the motion to raise the treasurer's maximum salary level to $30,000. Stephenson seconded the motion. The motion passed by an 8-1 vote.

The transition will result in a salary increase of $6,533.53, jumping the pay rate to $22,500 (75-percent of the newly established $30,000 maximum).

In 1999 the salary commission met and voted 6 to 4 to increase the county pay rate to 75 percent of the maximum salary schedule.

All other offices, except prosecuting attorney, are actually currently above the 75 percent rate based on prior salary schedules or due to cost of living increases allowed over the past two years.

Other maximum salary rates and their current payment percentages are as follows:

Prosecuting Attorney - $38,000 Max; Receives $27,376 (72%).

Sheriff - $37,000 Max; Receives $29,356 (79%).

Presiding Commissioner - $21,800 Max; Receives $16,372 (75%).

County Commissioner - $19,800 Max; Receives $15,777.06 (80%).

Coroner - $8,500 Max; Receives $6,622 (78%).

Public Administrator - $15,000 Max.; Receives $11,797 (78%).

County Clerk - $30,000 Max; Receives $24,026 (80%).

Assessor - $30,000 Max; $25,911 (86%).

Collector - $30,000 Max; $28,924 (96%).

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