Supervisors hash out salary increase process

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     With budget season fast approaching, the Jones County Supervisors took some time during their Oct. 24 board meeting to discuss how they plan to determine Fiscal Year 2019 employee salary proposals.

     It had been mentioned in the past, and again by Supervisor Jon Zirkelbach during the recent meeting, that some counties pay to have salary studies done. The end result offers examples of how the county might continue to provide salary increases for the various county employees.

     “Some (counties) are happy with the studies, some are not,” shared Zirkelbach. “Some either use it or don’t use it.”

     Supervisor Ned Rohwedder said a few years after the salary studies are conducted, some county job descriptions end up changing anyway.

     “Everybody’s situation is entirely different,” said Rohwedder.

     Supervisor Wayne Manternach agreed. “I’m not in favor of a study because a couple of years in, people will redefine their positions.”

     Supervisor Joe Oswald said during last year’s budget discussions, some employees brought in compatible figures from other counties to base their salary on.

     “It’d be nice to have that information ahead of time and look at it a bit harder for us to be able to give good consideration,” suggested Oswald.

     Last budget season, the supervisors looked heavily at the salary proposals for one-person county departments.

     Manternach said if they have the salary information in advance, the board could research it longer.

     County Engineer Derek Snead said he always includes salary comparables in his annual budget anyway.

     “I don’t know if other departments include comparables when submitting their budget or not,” suggested Snead. “But that’s traditionally how we’ve done it.”

     County Auditor Janine Sulzner said there really is no standard for how to compare salaries across the board. “It’s never the same criteria,” she said of the different county departments and what’s presented to the Compensation Board.

     “It’d be nice if there was a framework or structure in place versus people presenting random numbers every year,” offered County Auditor Amy Picray. She said in her office, she uses a salary stepladder for the deputy county treasurers.

     Aside from the rising costs-of-living the county takes into consideration, Zirkelbach said they also need to keep in mind years of service as well.

     Picray said if the supervisors have particular questions they want answered of the county employees at budget time when considering salary, they should send out a mass survey for employees to fill out prior to budget time.

     “That way,” she said, “you have all of the information provided to you in a more concise, exact format, and it’s easier to analyze.

     “This would back your decision more and give more credibility than the way it’s been done in the past,” added Picray of past practices in determining employee salaries. “This is what I have in place and it gives me peace of mind.”

     “You need to decide what’s important to you when deciding salaries,” Sulzner said to the board.                 

     Rohwedder said while he doesn’t have a definitive answer for how salaries should be determined, he is not a fan of how it’s been done in the past.

     “It’s not fair to all employees,” he concluded.

In other county business:

     • The board appointed Leah Nebergall to fill a vacancy on the Jones County Pioneer Cemetery Commission.

     • Sulzner presented the board with a review of the county’s financials for the year ending June 30, 2017, and the quarter ending Sept. 30, 2017.

     In the county’s Fund Balance, there is an increase of 13.99 percent from a year ago, at $9.5 million.

     In terms of expenditure totals for each county department, almost 95.98 percent have been used to date, at $16.3 million. On the revenue side, 99.66 percent of the expected (or unexpected) revenues have been received, at $16.9 million.

     Sulzner also pointed out that out of the county’s $16.3 million in expenditures, $7.3 million goes to salaries and benefits, or about 46 percent.

     • Mace Huffman with the Homebase Iowa Program, met with the board to discuss efforts to hire veterans in Jones County, making those employers Homebase Iowa partners. In the end, Huffman said he’d like to see Jones County become a Homebase Iowa County.

     The board directed Huffman to contact Jones County Economic Development in this endeavor.

     • Bids for the Bluebird Road bridge replacement project were received by the DOT last week. Snead informed the board that Taylor Construction out of New Vienna was the low bidder at $627,000. The engineer’s estimate was $860,000. He said some initial work will begin yet this winter.


Subscriber Login