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Salary Freeze Approved For County Officials

By Staff | Jan 22, 2009

Even though they had a recommendation of raises for the county’s elected officials, the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors voted to freeze the salaries of those elected officials and department heads for one year during their weekly meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 20. The current state of the economy, coupled with several layoffs by area employers, was cited as the main justifications for the move by board members.

Back on Jan. 7, the Palo Alto County Compensation Board had recommended raises of 2.8 percent be awarded to the county’s elected officials – the auditor, attorney, recorder, sheriff and treasurer, along with the board of supervisors. The 2.8 percent increases would have meant raises ranging from $672 up to $1,886. However, during the Compensation Board hearing, a concern was raised by Palo Alto County Treasurer Mary Hilfiker and Recorder Bonnie Whitney over the salaries of office staffers in the courthouse.

On Tuesday, Supervisor Jerry Hofstad opened the discussion on salaries by offering a motion to freeze the salaries of the county’s elected officials and various department heads for one year, and to grant a one and one-half percent increase in current salaries for office deputies in the various county offices.

“I could go along with that,” commented Supervisor Ron Graettinger. “I think that in light of the economy and the way things are with layoffs and that, this is a fair enough deal. I’d second the motion.”

Supervisor Leo Goeders added his assent to the idea. “I’d be crazy not to go along with this. I’d like everyone to get something, but we have to do what’s right, too. I’d go along with this idea.

Board Chairman Ed Noonan called for a roll call vote on the motion, and with unanimous assent of the board, the motion was passed.

“I’d like to say to you all that I appreciated and agree with your decision,” Mary Hilfiker told the supervisors. “I think the five of you should be commended for your thinking.

“I would agree,” commented Bonnie Whitney. “Thank you for your decision.

“As a board, we’re hopeful that things are going to change soon,” commented Graettinger. “This is not

about people not doing their jobs – they’re all doing a great job. But, this is just something that had to be done.”

With the freeze, the salaries for the various elected officials for Fiscal Year 2009-2010 will be as follows:

Attorney – $67,391; Auditor, Recorder, Treasurer – $48,732; Sheriff – $58,544; Supervisors – $24,008.