Committee to scrutinize county pay hikes - Bonner County Daily Bee: Local News

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Committee to scrutinize county pay hikes

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Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 10:00 am

SANDPOINT — Bonner County commissioners decided on a split vote Tuesday to have the county’s job evaluation committee scrutinize a series of pay raises that were not approved by the board.

Commissioners Cornel Rasor and Mike Nielsen voted in favor of vetting the raises through the committee. Commissioner Lewie Rich opposed the move.

The committee will evaluate a half-dozen raises that were given to sheriff’s personnel and three raises given to deputy clerks.

Commissioners believed they could only acknowledge the raises proposed by Clerk Marie Scott and Sheriff Daryl Wheeler. The board has since been advised by legal counsel that it is authorized by state code and the Idaho Constitution to approve employee wages.

“We have a responsibility to at least revisit this,” said Rasor.

None of the subject wage increases were channeled through the committee, a process that’s been in place for years.

Wheeler was never advised of the policy when he took office, although he provided the board with justifications and comparisons when he proposed the parity adjustments. Scott provided no justification to the board for boosting three of her deputies’ pay.

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“This whole issue is about process and policy,” said Nielsen.

But Rich and Treasurer Cheryl Piehl contended the matter was not properly placed on the board’s agenda. Piehl, who co-chairs the evaluation committee, said she was unaware the board intended to have the raises examined when agreed to attend the meeting.

“I feel this is a setup,” said Piehl

Piehl noted that a clerk in the commissioners’ office received a steep pay raise that wasn’t vetted through the committee, while Rich pointed out that disparity has been simmering ever since commissioners awarded sheriff’s deputy raises last year.

“That’s when this whole problem started,” said Rich.

Nielsen said he expects the committee to find some of the raises are justified. A deputy clerk with a master’s degree in accounting is one of the recipients of a raise and Nielsen said he was likely being underpaid.

It’s unclear if the county will attempt to try and roll back the raises if they are found to be too excessive by the committee. However, the board could freeze that wage until it is more comparable to similar positions in the labor market.

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  • Cheryl Piehl posted at 12:04 pm on Thu, Sep 20, 2012.

    Cheryl Piehl Posts: 2

    I have sinced learned that the Commissioner's employee went from an hourly position to an exempt salaried position. It appears that there is not a process for this instance, therefore the position does not go to the Job Evaluation Committee for grading.

    I have no issue or authority over anyone's salary or pay; Sheriff Administration Staff, Clerk's Staff, or Commissioner's staff. My only issue is that the rules and procedures appear different for everyone. All county employees deserve to be treated equally.

    It is my hope that we can move with procedures and policies that all can follow.

  • Law Abiding Citizen posted at 9:50 am on Thu, Sep 20, 2012.

    Law Abiding Citizen Posts: 65

    I NEVER said NO to the raises! I said "What ever happen to a $ .25 or $ .50 cent an hour raise"? I understand earning a living i don't understand in a depression or any other time giving a government employee more of an hour raise then the common man gets.

  • SagleDad posted at 9:58 pm on Wed, Sep 19, 2012.

    SagleDad Posts: 36

    Last year's raises in the sheriffs office were the first in years. The raises went to some of the newer employees whose starting pay was severely lagging behind everyone else in the region including Benewah and Shoshone County. Sheriff Wheeler explained the need and the commissioners agreed.

    Some, like Law Abiding Citizen below think no raises were justified. Louie Rich thinks if one person gets a raise, then EVERYONE should get a raise.

    Both are wrong. Law Abiding Citizen and Louie must have forgotten the years deputies received nothing while other departments got raises. They also like to blame last year's tax increase on just the Sheriff, which again is wrong. Other expenditures were made that also increased the budget, like the 3 percent raise Louie demanded for every employee (except senior sheriffs office deputies) regardless of position or reason. What about that? And the reserve money used to pay for the Juvenile Detention Center (which many of you still incorrectly assume is a part of the sheriffs office, but it is NOT).

    As far as Marie's raises go, she now has the chance to justify them. Just like Sheriff Wheeler has done with every raise he has proposed.

  • Law Abiding Citizen posted at 8:32 pm on Wed, Sep 19, 2012.

    Law Abiding Citizen Posts: 65

    Because of Wheelers 24% raise last year and the rest of the deputies some of us saw a 6% land tax increase. Does this mean next year we will be in for the same? What ever happen to a $ .25 or $ .50 cent an hour raise? Anyone know anyone that doesn't work for government that received a $4.00 an hr raise?

  • Howzat posted at 3:24 pm on Wed, Sep 19, 2012.

    Howzat Posts: 431

    this is the "Golden Rule" at its finest. The guys that control the gold make the rules![wink] The person with the masters degree...?, underpaid, for Seattle maybe but probably not in Sandpoint.

  • Queenie posted at 1:04 pm on Wed, Sep 19, 2012.

    Queenie Posts: 379

    The whole issue in our City and County "is about is about process and policy,” across the board. It appears that many of those that are in power do not think they have to abide by any process and can set their own policy.

  • Bob Wynhausen posted at 12:02 pm on Wed, Sep 19, 2012.

    Bob Wynhausen Posts: 10700

    If the raises by the Sheriff's and Clerk's departments are subject to review by job evaluation committee, I agree with Mrs. Piehl, that the large raise in the commissioners' office should be subject to the same standards.