From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 6, Number 8 - May 18, 2006
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Commission seat pays $30,000

by Cat Urbigkit

County elected officials and the county commissioners themselves will experience substantial salary increases effective Jan. 1, 2007, thanks to action by the Sublette County Commission on Tuesday, May 16.

Commissioner John Linn noted that the commission could only visit salaries for elected officials once every four years.

Linn said he understands there is concern with commissioners becoming full-time employees, but added, “We really don’t know what the scope of our job is going to be,” with increased demands, including commission attendance at various meetings constantly increasing.

Linn said there needs to be a financial incentive for people to serve on the commission, because commission duties keep them away from their day jobs.

County Clerk Mary Lankford said that the commission salary needs to take care of regular commission needs and activities, noting that the commission has the ability to hire staff as needed.

Lankford reminded the commission that it is to be a policy-making board, with day-to-day activities taken care of by elected employees and department heads.

Commissioners currently receive $16,800 per year and meet twice a month in official commission meetings, but attend various other meetings and events as needed as well.

Commissioner Bill Cramer also suggested that there are times the commission needs to hold more than two meetings a month.

Commissioners are paid an additional $100 per day for special meetings of the commission.

Commission Chair Betty Fear said commissioners’ salaries need to be $30,000 per year.

“This job, I don’t think anybody realizes how much time it takes,” Fear said, noting she has meetings four days this week.

“We are charged with administering a valuation of $2 billion,” Fear said. “I think this job warrants $30,000 per year.”

Since the salaries are set for a four-year period, Cramer suggested the salary start at $25,000 and increase to $30,000 at the end offour years, with special meetings an additional $150. He noted that his salary proposal was based on three official commission meetings per month. The commission discussed the proposal extensively, as well as several other options.

Linn motioned that the salary be increased to $25,000 on Jan. 1, 2007, and increase to $32,500 in four years. Fear seconded the motion since Cramer declined to do so. The motion passed, with only Cramer opposing. The commission also agreed that special meetings will pay $200 per day.

The commission will begin holding meetings on Monday afternoons when its first Tuesday meeting of the month is too full, the commission noted.

Next the commission considered the issue of salaries for the county clerk, treasurer, district court clerk, assessor and sheriff. The current rate for these positions is $54,000 and the legislature has set a cap of $75,000 on these elected officials’ salaries.

After discussion, Linn made a motion to raise the salary to $70,000 in the first year, increasing to $75,000 in 2008. Fear seconded the motion. The motion was successful, although Cramer voted against it.

The cap on the county attorney’s salary by law is $85,000, and the Sublette County Attorney currently receives $66,000. The commissionagreed to raise the county attorney’s salary to $75,000 in first year, then increase that amount to $85,000 in four years.

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