Employees with county get pay hikes

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Salaries for all Mower County workers, elected officials, department heads, non-union employees and others went up Monday.

The total county employee salaries will exceed the $10 million mark for the first time in 2003.

At the recommendation of the county board's personnel committee, salary increases for all were unanimously approved by the five-member county board, including their own.

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Union wages are negotiated separately. The 3.25 percent increases approved Monday parallel those given to bargaining unit workers in their contracts.

Salaries amount to $9,834,281 for Mower County's 286 full- and part-time employees in 2002. In 2003, the total county payroll could exceed $10,153,605.

David Hillier, 3rd District county commissioner and chairman of the county board's personnel committee, brought the committee's salary recommendations to the board at the

Monday morning meeting before the end of the year.

With the salary increases also comes a $10 per month increase in family health insurance for the base plan coverage. That pushes the new monthly total to $120 per employee. The county pays all of the cost for a single-person's coverage.

The new elected officials salaries in 2003, followed by officials' pay without the 3.25 percent increase will be:

Mower County Attorney Patrick W. Flanagan: $69,083. Had Patrick A. Oman been re-elected county attorney, Oman's salary would have been $82,926 and Flanagan's assistant county attorney salary would have been $53,379 in 2003.

Mower County Auditor Woody Vereide: $56,982.

Mower County Recorder Susan B Davis: $50,008 Her salary will increase to $51,752, when she reaches her anniversary date in January.

Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi: $66,404. Had Amazi remained chief deputy sheriff, her salary would have been $57,101.

Mower County Treasurer Doug Groh, $48,265. Had Groh remained chief deputy auditor, his 2003 salary would have been $44,800.

Mark May, currently a detective in the Mower County Sheriff's Department, will assume the chief deputy's position, when Amazi becomes sheriff next week.

He will be paid $57,101 as the new chief deputy. As a sheriff's detective and part of a bargaining unit, May would be paid $51,752 with the appropriate step increase in 2003, plus overtime.

The Mower County Commissioners' annual salaries increase to $21,476 with the 3.25 percent increase next year. They are currently paid $20,800.

Now, that Oman is no longer county attorney, the elected officials' annual salaries still trail appointed officials and department heads such as Mower County Engineer Michael Hanson $78,946 (Grade 17) and Mower County Administrator Craig Oscarson, $76,309.

The largest individual winner in the annual salary sweepstakes is Flanagan.

There was only minimal discussion on salary matters. Most of the officials or department heads were present. No objections were heard to the proposals.

On the subject of per diem, Hillier pointed out, "Not all meetings allow per diem. Only those times, when there are out of town meetings or those with citizen involvement. It's not every meeting we attend."

Also Monday, the county commissioners unanimously approved a Minnesota Post-Retirement Health Cost Savings Plan.

The program is strictly voluntary and invites participants to set aside a proportion of their salaries based on years of service.

Al Cordes, the county's human resources director, told the commissioners, there will be no county cost involved in the two-year program; only the individual employees' contributions.

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at