Pottawattamie County Supervisors voted 4-0 on Tuesday to reduce the increase in their salary recommended by the county’s compensation board.

Supervisors voted to reduce the compensation board’s recommendation of a 3.5% increase for each of the five supervisors to 3%.

The motion to decrease the compensation board’s recommendation came from board Chairman Justin Schultz. It was supported by Supervisors Lynn Grobe, Scott Belt and Marilyn Jo Drake. Supervisor Tim Wichman did not attend the meeting.

In a discussion leading up to the vote, Schultz said supervisors are currently working toward a 3% across-the-board increase for all county employees as they prepare the county budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Schultz said a 3% across the board increase for county employees would cost approximately $1.1 million, and supervisors are still working to determine if that amount is workable.

“Although 3% has not yet been approved, that’s the number we’re working toward in preparing the budget,” he said.

During the meeting, Schultz said he “would not personally be comfortable” with a 3.5% raise for supervisors if a 3% increase is the raise finally agreed to for county employees.

“I don’t think the board (of supervisors) should get more than county employees,” he said.

The compensation board’s recommendation was to increase the salary of each of the county’s elected officials by 3.5%. Schultz said he would personally favor limiting the FY 2021 raises of all of the county’s elected officials to 3%.

Drake said that while she would agree to vote to reduce the compensation board’s vote recommendation for supervisors’ salaries, she would not vote to reduce the recommendation for other elected officials from 3.5% to 3%.

“That would not be good for morale,” she said.

A year ago, in January 2019, the county’s compensation board recommended a 3.5% increase for each of the 10 elected county officials at a time when the county had agreed to increase the pay of county employees by 2.25%.

Schultz argued at that time that supervisors should not get an increase greater than those paid to rank-and-file county employees.

The following month, supervisors voted 3-2 to reduce the compensation board’s recommendation for supervisors’ increases from 3.5% to 2.25%. Supervisors Lynn Grobe and Tim Wichman voted against the reduction. The compensation board’s recommendation for 3.5% increases for other elected officials — county attorney, sheriff, auditor, treasurer and recorder — was not reduced.

County officials currently appoint a compensation board to determine and ultimately recommend wage adjustments to elected seats — supervisors, auditor, recorder, treasurer, sheriff and county attorney. The Board of Supervisors then approves, reduces or rejects the compensation board’s recommendation.

Each Iowa county has a seven-member county compensation board, which has two members appointed by the Board of Supervisors and one each named by the county attorney, auditor, recorder, sheriff and treasurer.

Supervisors ultimately vote on the compensation board recommendation while finalizing the budget for the coming year. Pay rates for elected officials cannot increase beyond the recommendation — they only can be accepted, reduced or rejected.

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