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Pay Raises Approved for Several Lee County Officeholders

Jason Parrott
The Lee County Board approved 3% salary increases for the County Auditor, Recorder, Sheriff and Treasurer. The raises will take effect July 1, 2019.

The Lee County Board this week approved 3% salary hikes for County Auditor Denise Fraise, County Recorder Nancy Booten, County Sheriff Stacy Weber, and County Treasurer Chris Spann. The chief deputies in each office will receive a similar raise because their salaries are based on a percentage of what their boss is paid. 

Chairman Gary Folluo said the county board is confident the county’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year can handle the raises.

“Our valuations were up,” said Folluo. “So we will be able to keep the [property tax] levy the same as last year. We have a general idea what we have to cut out of the budget and most of the time, you can get that out of incidentals.”

The approved raises are a little lower than the 3.5% raises recommended by the Lee County Compensation Board.

The seven-member compensation board meets once each year to determine whether salaries should increase for the county’s elected leaders. The County Attorney, Auditor, Recorder, Sheriff, and Treasurer each appoint one person to the panel while the County Board appoints two people.

Former Lee County Board member Larry Kruse represented the county board on the compensation board.

Kruse said the compensation board settled on the 3.5% figure for the four positions (Auditor, Recorder, Treasurer, and Sheriff) because they make far less than their counterparts in similar-sized counties in Iowa. He added that even the 3.5% increase would not be enough to balance out their salaries.

The county board then lowered the figure to 3%, which is the same amount that has been included in next year’s proposed budget to pay for raises for union and non-union employees. The county is scheduled to exchange contract offers with the three unions representing county employees next week.

Meanwhile, County Attorney Ross Braden and the five members of the Lee County Board will not receive a raise next year.

Kruse said Braden’s salary is already in line with the salaries of county attorneys in similar-size counties.  And Kruse said Folluo requested a salary freeze for the county board members.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.