Thursday, March 5, 2014 | NEWS
Salaries for Polk sheriff, clerk of court proposed
Annual raises of 1.5 percent for next term
Gregg Westigard|Staff writer
BALSAM LAKE – The Polk County sheriff and clerk of court will get annual 1.5-percent salary increases each year for four years starting next January if the compensation amounts recommended by the personnel committee last Thursday, Feb. 27, are approved by the Polk County Board at its March 18 meeting. The county must approve the salaries for the two elected offices before April 15, the start of the filling period for the November election.
The recommended increase was approved by a 3-2 committee vote, with members Patricia Schmidt, James Edgell, and Tom Engel favoring the motion while Russ Arcand and Jared Cockroft voted no. Cockroft had noted that the gap in pay between the sheriff and the deputies in the department is narrowing. The field officers in the sheriff’s department will receive a 2-percent increase in 2015, under a contract approved by the county board last December.
(The Burnett County Board approved 2-percent salary increases for the sheriff and clerk of court at its meeting Feb. 20.)
The vote came after county Administrator Dana Frey told the committee that a survey of some other counties showed that most counties are raising wages an average of 2.3 percent. He said that he likes to see the wages for Polk officials fall between those of Burnett County to the north and St. Croix County to the south. Frey also said that the chief deputy and the field service captain, both permanent positions held by employees with many years of seniority, receive higher salaries than the elected sheriff.
The 1.5-percent increases for the two offices are the same as the county has approved in 2008, 2010 and 2012 for the offices to be filled in 2014 and for the positions of treasurer, register of deeds, and county clerk. All five positions serve four-year terms. The other county level elected official, the district attorney, is paid by the state with the salary for that position based on the population of the county. All six positions are elected on the partisan ballot.