A resolution passed at a special meeting Thursday morning of the Platte County Supervisory Board set the salaries of Platte County elected officials until 2026, but provided for salary increases for board members who had not been agreed upon during the board discussion at its regular Tuesday meeting earlier in the week.
Wage fixing for elected officials first appeared on the council agenda at a December 21 meeting, but discussion was postponed to the Tuesday January 4 council meeting, with the intention of ” adopt a resolution at the board reorganization meeting on Thursday, January 6.
Even so, on Tuesday, District 4 Supervisor Ron Pfeifer seemed confused that the resolution was not yet ready for a vote. It would have been difficult to vote on a resolution on Tuesday, given that the staff committee – of which Pfeifer was a member and which was responsible for making salary recommendations to the board for the resolution – only met on Monday.
Kwapnioski – another member of the staff committee, as well as District 3 supervisor Jim Scow – told the Telegram that the committee had not met sooner because it was waiting for full salary comparison data to make its recommendation to the board of directors. The comparison data included information on salaries from other counties, advice from the Nebraska Association of County Officials, and salaries for positions at local companies with similar job descriptions. Kwapnioski said the county wanted the comparison to ensure its salaries were competitive.
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The staff committee’s proposal called for a salary of $ 20,000 for each board member in 2023 – up $ 3,500 from the $ 16,500 figure since at least 2018 – with increases of $ 1,000 each year in 2024, 2025 and 2026.
As expected, the board held a series of votes at Tuesday’s meeting, reaching consensus on salary amounts to be codified by Thursday’s resolution.
But the motion on Tuesday to accept the staff committee’s salary proposal for board members failed, with Pfeifer and Scow voting for and supervisors Jerry Micek, Jerry Engdahl, Bob Lloyd and Kwapnioski against.
Scow said a higher salary could encourage more people to run for the county board.
“My goal here (is) to get it up high enough that we can encourage people to run,” Scow said on Tuesday.
“Over the next three years you’re going to see huge turnover in these seats (on the Platte County Board of Directors), and hopefully the candidates will because they want to serve, not because they are going to get (paid), ”Engdahl said Tuesday.
A new motion has been put forward to keep board salaries at $ 16,500 until 2026; that motion resulted in a 4-2 vote on Tuesday, with Micek, Engdahl, Lloyd and Kwapnioski for and Scow and Pfeifer against.
Also on Tuesday, the council held votes establishing consensus on the salaries of other elected officials in the county. A draft resolution has been developed using the numbers indicated by Tuesday’s votes. This draft resolution – which kept board member salaries at $ 16,500, where they have been since 2018 – was presented to the board at Thursday’s special meeting.
However, after some discussion at Thursday’s meeting, Engdahl and Pfeifer proposed changes, introducing an increase of $ 1,000 for each board member in 2023, and then $ 500 each for the next three years. The board approved the resolution with these changes in a 3-2 vote on Thursday.
Engdahl, Pfeifer and Micek voted for the final resolution, while Lloyd and Kwapnioski voted against. Scow and District 1 Supervisor Fred Liss were unable to attend Thursday’s meeting.
When Kwapnioski spoke to the Telegram on Friday, she pointed to the pitfalls of the board’s responsibility to set her salary objectively, and added that it is difficult to do so for other county elected officials in the name of the electors who choose them.
Molly Hunter is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Contact her by email at [email protected]