Mower County Board approves salary increases for some elected officials

Published 8:56 am Friday, December 28, 2018

As the end of 2018 approaches, the Mower County Board set the new salaries for elected officials going into the New Year during its special session on Thursday morning.

Here are some of the updates that came from the approval of the increases:

County Attorney

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Comparing other salaries in the region, the Personnel Committee recommended that County Attorney Kristen Nelsen’s salary be increased from $115,422.52 to $123,047.39. This increase was based on Nelsen’s work performance, and being able to offer a comparable compensation with other counties.


The Personnel Committee met with Sheriff-elect Steve Sandvik to review job duties and his work experience in law enforcement. While analyzing comparative salaries of other sheriffs in southeast Minnesota, the committee recommended to increase the Mower County sheriff’s salary from $105,188 to $107,512.29 in order to ensure comparable compensation with other counties.

Commissioner Tim Gabrielson also stated that Sandvik requested a leave of absence from his position as sergeant investigator in order to take the position of sheriff in accordance with state statute, and that the position be filled internally.


After reviewing her job duties, it was recommended that Jill Cordes’ salary be raised from $74,457.14 to $78,716.14 based on the review as well as noting Cordes’ “satisfactory work performance,” according to Gabrielson, and after review of recorder salary data from the region.


New County Auditor-Treasurer Scott Felten will be seeing some increased numbers for his salary as well. The Mower County Board reviewed his experience in accounting, and his responsibilities heading into office. The committee recommended his salary be increased to $83,274.67.

County Commissioners, committees

The Personnel Committee recommended no increase to the county commissioners salary for 2019, which remained the same since 2008. The board adopted a resolution to maintain the current salary rate for the county commissioners of $24,200 for the new year.

There were also no changes to the in-county per diem and an out of county per diem for 2019 either, according to Gabrielson. The per diem for in-county was set at $50, and $65 for out of county meetings effective Jan. 1. There was a resolution that was adopted to set per diem of $50 for several committees such as the Extension Committee, Planning Commission, Board of Adjustment, Mower County Community Health Services Advisory Committee, State C.H.S Advisory Committee, Joint Power Board, Personnel Board of Appeals and all regional or state boards.

There was a per diem of $75 set for the Planning Commission/Board of Adjustment committee meetings when both meet on the same day.

Non-union wages

There was a recommendation made by the Personnel Committee for non-union wages and health insurance premiums to be set consistently with what was negotiated by the unions for 2019. This was an increase of 2.5 percent, along with an applicable anniversary step increases on the wage scale, and to make the county contribution to health insurance premium the same as what was negotiated by the unions.

Staffing levels

Also discussed was the annual approval of staffing levels for each department, which was based on the budget approved by the board for 2019. The outcome would be to permit the Human Resources Director to proceed with filling vacancies when they happen, instead of waiting on board approval.