Thursday, June 21, 2018
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County raises elected officials’ salaries

Pay set for next four years.

LEXINGTON—In lean and uncertain economic times, Dawson County commissioners know they must remain frugal with their spending.

At the same time, all five board members feel it’s necessary to reward the county’s elected officials for a job well done.

Commissioners set the next four years of salaries for themselves and the nine elected officials during their annual statutory meeting Tuesday morning.

Commissioners Roger Bauer and Butch Hagan each presented salary proposals.

Both plans offer commissioners a $250 raise annually with the chairman’s salary $1,000 higher than the others.

Bauer’s plan gives each elected official a $2,000 raise the first year and $1,000 annually for the three years following with the exception of the register of deeds, attorney and sheriff.

The register of deeds’ salary, he said, needs to be brought more in line with the other county officials’ pay. That office’s increase would be $3,093 the first year and $1,000 annually after that.

Bauer also followed a recommendation by the Nebraska Association of County Officials to make raises for the attorney and sheriff 1.5 and 1.2 times more, respectively.

“I felt like I was being as liberal as I could be,” Bauer said.

Hagan was willing to offer every elected official a $2,000 increase the first year and $1,500 each of the three years following.

“I thought every office needed a little boost for the good work they do,” Hagan said, “but I don’t think anyone should be singled out for extra.”

In the end, though, Hagan’s proposal failed on a 3-2 vote with Bauer, Bill Stewart and Dean Kugler against.

Bauer’s presentation was accepted 4-1, with Hagan voting no.

The state requires that county commissioners set salaries for elected officials every four years.

Commissioners voiced disproval of the four-year commitment to the money.

“Surrounding counties have had better fortunes than we have,” Kugler said. “They haven’t seen the decline in employment.”

Hagan offered optimism.

“I hope we’re at the bottom of the economic problems and we’ll see it turn around soon,” he said.

Related Story: Commissioners elect Stewart as board chariman