Stoddard County elected officials to get cost-of-living pay increase
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
BLOOMFIELD, Mo. -- The Stoddard County Salary Commission voted 7-2 to grant a cost-of-living increase to elected officials beginning Jan. 1. The action came at its meeting Monday.
The commission is made up of all county elected officials.
County Recorder Kay Asbell made the motion to not increase the base pay for elected officials, but rather authorize the commission to give a cost of living increase to officials not to exceed the amount given to county employees. It was seconded by County Assessor Jody Lemmon. It passed by a 7-2 vote. Voting in favor of the motion were Asbell, Lemmon, Collector Carla Moore, Public Administrator Pam Lape, Clerk Joe Watson, Presiding Commissioner Greg Mathis and Commissioner Frank Sifford. Voting against the motion were Sheriff Carl Hefner and Commissioner Carol Jarrell. Not present were Prosecuting Attorney Russ Oliver and Coroner Aaron Mathis.
Salary commission chairman Sifford recommended the action, noting that it has been more than 10 years since elected officials were given a cost-of-living increase. He said county employees have received a cost-of-living adjustment every year for many years with the exception of three or four times.
Lemmon said anyone newly elected would come in at the base pay, which would not be increased. He said the COLA was not a salary increase.
Watson had contacted some nearby counties to see what policy they have adopted in terms of cost-of-living increases. Dunklin County voted in 2007 to grant elected officials the same increase as that given to county employees. New Madrid County implemented COLAs in 2005, though all increases must be a percentage and not a lump sum. Butler County has granted COLAs for 20 years, Watson said the clerk there told him. Last year that was 3 percent, the same as the amount given to county employees. In 2005 Scott County began giving elected officials the same cost of living adjustments as those given to county employees, though in some years there have not been increases.
"We've had this opportunity for years, but didn't do it," said Sifford. Sifford announced his retirement after many years on the commission and will not seek re-election.
The county commission will take up the cost-of-living adjustments as part of its budget process for 2012.
Salaries for Stoddard County elected officials are as follows: presiding commissioner, $31,700; associate commissioner, $29,700; recorder, $45,000; county clerk, $45,000; sheriff, $50,000; collector, $57,078; coroner, $18,000; public administrator, $45,000; and assessor, $45,000.