County Commissioners listened in detail and depth, to the concerns and complaints regarding the resolution Commissioners proposed for annual salaries of certain appointive county officers and supervisors. Commissioners presented their resolution at their last scheduled meeting, without consulting many of the offices affected by the resolution.
Making their thoughts known at the July 7 Commission meeting, Grants Administrator Elaine Zimmerman was the first to speak up, saying she felt her office had been overlooked completely in the Commissioners discussions and decisions.
Possible action on the resolution was slated for the meeting. The salary rates being proposed by Commissioners included equal pay for the Road Supervisor as for the County Sheriff; equal pay for the Building and Planning Director as for the Lincoln County Clerk; the Grants Administrator and Senior Nutrition and Transportation Director would receive equal to half of what is established for the County Sheriff; and the Justice of the Peace to receive half of the salary established for the County Clerk.
Zimmerman said she felt Commissioners did not have a full knowledge of what her department actually does, and said she has the same level of responsibility and equal amount of workload as building and planning. She felt is was a lack of respect for her department that she had not been consulted.
She said there were other departments in the courthouse that had also asked to have someone come in and talk with the department head and/or the workers to see what they do, but no one had visited prior to the resolution being announced.
District Attorney Daniel Hooge said discussions talking about setting department classifications and wage scales were to be held in open meetings.
Phyllis Robistow, Pioche Town Board member and retired County Grants Administrator, also recommended the department heads should be, “talked with and a list made of what the duties in their office are during any given day.” She said, “Over time, duties change, and those duties should be reviewed on a regular basis.” And, she emphasized, this was to be completely separate from a performance review of any one person.
She told the Commissioners, “Before you can come up with a classification of salaries schedule, you need to sit down with your department heads and employees to find out exactly what it is they do every day, and it might be more than eight hours a day, and more than 40 hours a week.”
Robistow said the resolution the Commissioners had before them now was made too early. More information needed to be gathered. “Our work is different than other counties,” she said, “nowheres near the same. You will have to make separate opinions. Once you know more, then you will be better able to figure this out.”
She questioned, “Who made the decision that the Road Supervisor has the same responsibility as the Sheriff, or the Senior Nutrition had only half the responsibility as the Sheriff? You must determine what his/her responsibilities are before you can determine salary scales.”
Paul Donohue said the Board had tried to base the wage scale on what was the set scale for elected County officials in other counties around the state.
Several other Courthouse workers also disagreed with the resolution, saying they thought they probably did more work in their office than other places, because they had only two or three people to cover the duties, whereas some of the other larger counties had staffs of maybe six or more in the same department.
Meadow Valley Justice of the Peace Mike Cowley recommended resolution the vote be tabled until Commissioners had time to meet with the people involved to find out what their areas of responsibility are, and hear what they have to say.
He said he believes the Board understands the process that needs to be followed, “I just don’t think the meetings have happened well enough to determine by the stroke of a pen where you sit.”
Commissioners did table the resolution and took no action.