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Crow Wing County: Salaries set for elected officials

Returning elected Crow Wing County officials will receive a 2 percent salary increase in 2015, the county board decided Tuesday, Dec. 30. Tamra Laska, human resources director, said the increase matches the general wage adjustment for those count...

Returning elected Crow Wing County officials will receive a 2 percent salary increase in 2015, the county board decided Tuesday, Dec. 30.

Tamra Laska, human resources director, said the increase matches the general wage adjustment for those county employees not participating in performance-based pay.

The highest paid elected county official is County Attorney Don Ryan, who is set to make $117,684 in 2015. County board members earn the smallest salaries - $28,612 - but they are not full time and are also eligible to collect per diem and mileage for attending committee meetings or other related functions. The per diem rate was set at $50.

To establish salaries, Laska said five different criteria were considered, including the pay grade and range assigned to the position, salary adjustment forecasts and the consumer price index, performance and qualifications and the overall wage adjustment pattern.

The human resources department also conducted a survey of eight counties with similar populations to Crow Wing County for salary comparisons. For all positions except for county recorder, salaries paid in Crow Wing are less than the average among the counties surveyed, which included Blue Earth, Carver, Ottertail, Chisago, Clay, Rice, Sherburne, Winona, Aitkin and Cass.

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The largest difference between Crow Wing and the county average was in the sheriff's salary. Sheriff Todd Dahl is set to receive a $98,720 salary in 2015; sheriffs in the surveyed counties averaged $112,126 yearly, a difference of $13,406.

The salary for auditor/treasurer will remain at $88,787, same as last year, because the position will be newly filled with the current deputy auditor/treasurer, Deborah Erickson. The salary for the county recorder was also set the same as in 2014, although an agreement with the county between incoming Recorder Mark Liedl will eliminate this salary from the county's budget. Liedl will instead be paid his regular salary as land services director and will assume both positions.

As part of the board-approved resolution, the county board also adopted the 2015 salary ranges, performance-based pay matrix and benefit plans for all non-contract employees. As part of the approved benefit plan, non-contracted employees have the option to convert up to one week of personal time off to compensation.

Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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