Pay increases for five Johnson County Supervisors and Sheriff Brad Kunkel will likely fall under 2% for Fiscal Year 2024, far below recommendations by the county’s Compensation …
Pay increases for five Johnson County Supervisors and Sheriff Brad Kunkel will likely fall under 2% for Fiscal Year 2024, far below recommendations by the county’s Compensation Board for at least the second consecutive year.
Salary discussion extended the board’s work session Feb. 15 by an hour and resulted in a split informal vote that will be revisited in a formal vote still to come, per state code.
Supervisors and most elected officials will receive a pay increase of 1.5625%, which is more than 8% under the 10% recommended by the Compensation Board and also under the 6.7% rise in the Consumer Price Index quoted by Ryan From, Compensation Board Chair.
Kunkel, who is the highest-paid county employee at $170,000, will receive a pay increase of 1.875% under the current plan, a number he didn’t agree with because other top deputies in the sheriff’s department are tied to his salary. Employees in the sheriff’s bargaining unit will receive a 3.25 pay increase.
The county attorney will receive a 2.5% increase, which is the same cost-of-living increase as county employees in the bargaining unit.
Supervisor Rod Sullivan did not want to see pay increases for the board that would be above those of county employees, percentage-wise.
“I’m opposed to people getting above what the bargaining unit is getting,” he said.
Supervisors Jon Green, V Fixmer-Oraiz and Sullivan voted in favor of raises ranging from 1.56% for supervisors, producing an annual salary of just over $90,000, and other elected officials to 2.5% for the county attorney. Supervisors Lisa Green-Douglass and Royceann Porter preferred salary increases ranging from 2.5% to 4%.
The discussion even included the possibility of no raises.
“I’m not willing to get nothing,” Green-Douglass said.
“We get to this point every year,” Porter said. “I’m trying to understand this.”
The discussion was similar to a salary discussion held in February 2022, when supervisors lowered the Compensation Board’s recommendation from 18% to 2.25%.
“I’m grateful for the impossible work the Compensation Board undertakes each year,” Green told The News. “Volunteers get together, have lots of figures and statistics thrown in their lap, and are asked to provide a political recommendation that usually leaves no one satisfied. As I hope our discussion February 15 made clear, at the end of the day this decision, and the responsibility for it, is wholly with the Board of Supervisors.”
The discussion carried over to the formal meeting Feb. 16, when Jesse Case, Principal Officer of Teamsters Local 238, said the increases were too low and asked the board to reconsider its decision and instead install 5% “across the board” increases.
“You have a Comp Board for a reason,” he told the board. “You don’t have to follow it, but you should take their recommendation and consideration.”
The board approved a second public hearing for the Windham Village plan, and various zoning and platting requests, for March 8. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the board’s formal meeting room in Iowa City. A vote on the Windham Village plan is set to occur after the public hearing. A scheduled vote in December was deferred in order to give Windham Village residents more time to study and possibly alter the proposed plan.
The board approved an agreement, up to $8,287.48, with the University of Iowa to provide a graduate research assistant for work associated with the Dr. Lulu Merle Johnson exhibit project.
The board issued proclamations in honor of American Heart Month, February, and Back from the Brink: The Call to Prevent Nuclear War.
The Johnson County ARPA Team is undergoing significant change as the two top leaders of the ARPA effort have taken new jobs at the University of Iowa. Ray Forsythe, Special Projects Manager, served his last Friday. He is now Senior Construction Project Manager at the university.
Donna Brooks, formerly Johnson County Grants Manager and one of the leads on the ARPA Team, is Program Manager at the University of Iowa’s Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio.
Allison Wells, Grants Assistant, remains at the county as one of those leading the ARPA initiatives and the $28 million program funded by federal money.
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