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Compensation Board Meets For County Salaries

After receiving a recommendation from the county’s compensation board, Roosevelt County commissioners approved a pay raise for elected officials and their deputies during a meeting Wednesday, June 21.

Officials wanted to provide a $1.50 an hour increase to the lowest paid deputies on the pay scale. According to state law, the only way to accomplish the goal is for an increase to the base salary of elected officials. Deputy’s pay is based on a percentage of the clerk and recorder’s salary.

Commissioner Gary Macdonald noted that the problem with the structure is that in order to give deputies any kind of raise, the county must also provide elected officials an increase.

Earlier this month, commissioners approved a pay raise to union employees of 5 percent or $1.50 an hour, whichever is greater. Those workers include the road department and jailers.

“I think this is fair county-employee wide,” commissioner Gordon Oelkers said.

The result is that the salary for the clerk and recorder, commissioners, treasurer and sheriff will increase from $67,247 to $69,162. The county attorney is paid based on a separate pay scale, and attorney Janet Christoffersen said she will not request an increase.

Commissioner Robert Toavs noted that it’s a double-edged sword because the county wants to treat its employees well but not have the cost be a burden on taxpayers.

Sheriff Jason Frederick said that it’s important to benefit the current county employees.

Earlier in the meeting, Frederick asked about the state of the county’s revenue for the next year. He said he doesn’t want to receive a raise if it results in losing deputies.

Commissioners said they won’t have figures for revenue until late July or August. Reports are that revenue should be good for the county.

Commissioners said the county ranks 15th out of Montana’s 56 counties for pay, 22nd for taxable revenue and fourth for oil revenue.

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