Mt. Vernon Register-News

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April 29, 2014

Board tables salary increases

MT. VERNON — Salary increases for two county officeholders were tabled at Monday’s County Board meeting, although action was taken on the sheriff’s salary.

Board member Jeremy Hall made a motion to table the salaries for the county clerk and treasurer, seeking additional time on the issue.

“I would like to wait a month rather than having a knee-jerk reaction,” Hall explained. The Board approved to table on an 8-3 vote with Don Rector, Jim Laird and Steve Draege voting in opposition.

The current sheriff’s salary of $67,205 was approved, despite Hall’s motion to also table that action. It failed on 7-4 vote.

The proposal was to raise the county clerk and treasurer salaries up to the amount of the current circuit clerk’s salary, or $54,050. The challenge, according to Chairman Robert White, is the circuit clerk’s salary is in a different election cycle, and the county will be faced with the same question in two years.

During public input, Watchdog community member Bob Shaw said the proposed salary increases are not “big money,” but Shaw questioned the perception of giving raises when the county is broke.

“It sends a message that I don’t think helps us,” Shaw said.

Finance Committee member Bob Watt said he had his mind made up before Shaw’s presentation

that he would not be supporting the raises.

“I feel the need to leave it as it is, especially when we aren’t paying our vendors. It’s prudent to hold spending,” Watt said.

Steve Draege pointed out if the raises were not approved, the officeholders essentially would go four years without an increase. Don Rector added he is is okay with the current system.

The Board also tabled a bid of $113,000 to Security Automation Systems for an upgrade of the security system at the Jefferson County Justice Center after a question was raised whether the upgrades include a warranty and/or maintenance agreement. No one from the sheriff’s department was able to provide the answer. Chairman White suggested a special meeting to revisit the issue after officials from the sheriff’s department get the warranty question answered.

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