June 18, 2024

Six Rock Island County elected officials will not get the 7% raises they requested from county board members last week.

Instead, board members on Tuesday introduced an amended resolution approving incremental raises for the positions of county clerk and treasurer, but not for coroner, auditor, circuit clerk and recorder.

The offices of county clerk and treasurer are up for election this November, while coroner, auditor, circuit clerk and recorder are not up for election until 2024. Salaries for elected officials must be set by the county 180 days before the election for those offices.

Board Vice Chairman Brian Vyncke and board members Dewayne Cremeens and Robert Westpfahl opposed the raises. 

Board member Kai Swanson explained that the offices of county clerk and treasurer would receive raises every year for three years equaling 3%, 3%, 2% and no raise in the fourth year. 

People are also reading…

“We thought it was more prudent to make it a more gradual increase, rather than a 7% raise in one year,” Swanson said, adding that whomever the county board members are two years from now should set the salaries for coroner, auditor, circuit clerk and recorder at that time. 

“I want to thank (Swanson) for removing that additional, above-and-beyond overreach for the terms that are not up for election,” said board member Drue Mielke. “In my opinion, it’s almost dictating to a future board what their responsibility is. It’s overreach; I’m glad it’s left out.”

County Clerk Karen Kinney is running for reelection and Treasurer Louisa Ewert has announced her retirement. Kinney is being challenged by Republican Marian Stallings-Moore, while Chief Deputy Clerk Nick Camlin, a Democrat, is the only candidate running for treasurer.

Beginning Dec. 1, the county clerk’s salary will be $96,445; on Dec. 1, 2023, it will increase to $99,338.00; and on Dec. 1, 2024, it will increase to $101,500. In addition, the county clerk receives an annual stipend of $2,000 from the Rock Island County Forest Preserve District for services provided. 

Beginning Dec. 1, the county treasurer’s salary will increase to $96,445; it will increase to $99,338 on Dec. 1, 2023; and increase to $101,500 on Dec. 1, 2024. The treasurer also receives an annual stipend from the Rock Island County Forest Preserve District, in the amount of $2,500.

Angie Normoyle, who will not running for a seat on the board this fall, asked future board members to adopt a different approach to setting salaries for elected officials, saying it took some board members by surprise. 

“I would like to see a different approach to this,” Normoyle said. “It is a request that is lacking in a process. There’s much more we could do for the transparency of this process.”

Although she will have to wait another two years for a potential pay raise, Recorder Kelly Fisher said she was satisfied with the outcome. 

“I like the progress (the board) made, compared to what we had proposed,” Fisher said. “We’ve been frozen for years, so an increase is definitely warranted. We’re happy about that. I just hope that we get the same consideration in two years. I still think it could have been set this way, but it’s entirely up to the board.

“I’m hopeful they will show the (recorder, auditor, circuit clerk and coroner) the same respect they just showed the treasurer and county clerk,” she said. 

Also on Tuesday, board members voted to freeze their own pay, keeping it at $2,400 annually; plus $100 per meeting; $60 per committee meeting; plus mileage. Committee chairmen will receive $290 per month in addition to that person’s regular board member compensation.

The county board chairperson will receive an annual salary of $22,000, in addition to the $2,400 base compensation paid to all board members, plus mileage. The board chairman does not receive additional pay for attending meetings. 

The last time board members raised their pay was in 2012.

Because the number of districts had been reapportioned from 25 to 19, all board members must run for election this November and those salaries also had to be set 180 days in advance of the election. 

Lauren Boswell-Loftin, Cremeens and Westpfahl opposed keeping board members’ salaries the same and Richard Morthland abstained. 

“I think we need a raise,” Westpfahl said. 

Across the Sky podcast: Meet the meteorologists from the Lee Weather Team!

Photos: Rock Island through the years

Source link