Members of the Dubuque County Board of Supervisors on Friday agreed to reduce their salary increases to align with increases they set for other elected officials earlier this year.
Supervisors voted, 2-1, to increase their salaries by 0.7% in the fiscal year that will begin July 1. That means the 2.8% increase they previously had approved no longer will apply.
Supervisors acted on the advice of County Attorney C.J. May III, who said state code requires them to roll back their salary changes at the same rate they reduced salary increases for other elected officials.
Supervisor Ann McDonough cast the dissenting vote Friday, saying she agrees with May’s interpretation, but that she believes salary increases being given to all elected officials are too low.
“I’m not going to vote for salary increases that I think are too low,” she said.
Earlier this year, county supervisors voted to increase the sheriff’s salary by 3% and the salaries of the county auditor, attorney, recorder and treasurer by 1.5%.
That is 75% less than was recommended by the county compensation board, a group of representatives for each elected official who meet each year to argue for wage increases.
However, supervisors did not reduce the 2.8% raise board members recommended for them.
State code requires reductions to compensation board recommendations to impact elected officials proportionately. Supervisors did not change their own salary increases because they believed state code considered them separately, Supervisor Dave Baker said.
However, May told supervisors Friday that state code requires the supervisors to lower salary increases by an equal percentage for all elected county officers.
“If you lower any of the officers, you have to lower all of them,” May said, noting that the compensation board had been seeking to bring salaries in line with comparable officials in other counties.
Supervisor Jay Wickham said he understands that citizens care about salaries of their elected officials. But he said supervisors have been trying to bring increases for elected officials in line with the kinds of salary increases people in other businesses normally receive.
Baker said he was OK with applying the 75% rollback to the supervisors’ pay increases. That means their annual salaries next fiscal year will grow from $51,565.60 to $51,926.56.
He likewise said he did not think citizens would have supported the higher wage increases the compensation board initially recommended for other elected officials.
“The input I got is, I don’t think the taxpayers have an appetite for double-digit wage increases of county employees,” he said.