Sweetwater County Commission approves salary increase for chief deputies by 4-1 vote; Chief Deputy salaries will go to $85,000 Jan. 1, 2015

Sweetwater County Commission approves salary increase for chief deputies by 4-1 vote; Chief Deputy salaries will go to $85,000 Jan. 1, 2015

SWEETWATER COUNTY – By a 4 to 1 vote, the Sweetwater County Commissioners approved a raise for the chief deputies of the elected officials on Tuesday. The raise will move the chief deputies up to $85,000.

Earlier this year, the commissioners approved a raise for the elected officials. The elected officials will go to $100,000 on Jan. 1, 2015. Commission Chairman Wally Johnson said the commission has tried to keep the chief deputies at 85 percent of what the elected official’s salaries are.

Commissioner John Kolb got the debate started as he explained his position on the increase. He said while he is generally in favor of raises, $85,000 was in excess of what he was comfortable with and would not support the increase because of this.

Advertisement - Story continues below...

Commissioner Gary Bailiff explained the chief deputies have not had a salary adjustment in over eight years. With the future uncertain, Bailiff stressed they should do it now while they can because there might not be another opportunity for several years.

As he looked at the resolution, Commissioner Reid West said he needed clarification on employee bonuses. He questioned if chief deputies also received employee bonuses which have historically been approved by the commission. While West said he is in favor of paying the chief deputies 85 percent of the elected officials, he did not believe they should be given the bonuses the other county employees receive. Commissioner Don Van Matre agreed with West saying there is definitely a difference between a chief deputy and the regular county employees.

Chairman Wally Johnson said the reason they increased the elected official salary to $100,000 was to stay competitive with industry in the area. Johnson said to get the best talent they have to offer a salary comparable to what industry offers. When it came to excluding chief deputies from receiving employee bonuses, Johnson explained he worried about passing a resolution that may last a long time with the exclusion language in it.

West disagreed. He said this resolution will last until a new resolution is approved and replaces it, which could happen at anytime.

After Bailiff made the motion to approve the salary increase, West amended it to exclude chief deputies from receiving employee bonuses. West’s amendment was unanimously passed by the commission. As for the overall increase with the amendment added, Kolb was the single vote against the resolution.

The chief deputy increase will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015.