Compensation Board Plans Ahead For County
Roosevelt County’s commissioners struggled with a tough choice on Thursday, June 2. During the compensation board meeting, commissioners faced the challenge of increasing salaries while not creating budget issues.
The meeting dealt with the salaries of elected officials and their deputies. By state law, all elected officials’ salaries are based on the clerk and recorder’s salary, In Roosevelt County, the clerk and recorder’s current base salary is $63,501.
Commissioner Gordon Oelkers provided worksheets with the options of a 2.75 percent increase, a 3.5 percent increase and a 4.7 percent increase.
Sheriff Jason Frederick noted that his department has the most employees. He said salary increases to elected officials and deputies have resulted in him losing staff in the past.
“Do I want to give myself a raise if I can’t keep my deputies?” Frederick noted.
He said that he met with his deputies the day before to express his feelings regarding increasing salaries.
“The sheriff’s office is a family. It’s a team,” he said.
Commissioner Gary Macdonald noted he’s always had a problem with the state’s law where the salaries of deputies are dictated by the salaries of elected officials.
“If elected officials don’t get a raise, then deputies don’t receive a raise,” Macdonald said.
Macdonald said he supports a raise, but wants to make sure that the sheriff’s office doesn’t lose employees because of budget cuts.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do, but Jason can’t lose anybody,” Macdonald said, “because crime is only going to grow.”
Commissioner Duane Nygaard made the motion that each employee will receive a $17,050 payment from unrestrictive funds, which came from COVID-related funding.
Oelkers expressed concern because he feels that would result in a large raise for the following year since the cost of living is increasing greatly.
“If there wasn’t inflation, it might work alright,” Oelkers said.
Nygaard’s motion failed by a 2-1 margin.
Oelkers made the motion to increase the clerk and recorder’s base salary by $2,000. That motion failed by a 2-1 margin.
Macdonald made the motion to increase the base salary by $1,746.08 or 2.75 percent. Union members are also seeing a 2.75 percent pay increase this year.
That motion passed by a 2-1 motion. Nygaard voted against the proposal.